10 August 2009

Reflections on the Prior 51 Weeks

What am I on a fiscal calendar? What's up with the year in review in August?
It's been just about 1 year since I left corporate America for a different kind of job. I've been home with my 2 girls since 8/22/08 and we've had our share of fun and of, um, struggles with the arrangement. It certainly hasn't been all peaches and cream, but it was never going to be, nor should anything be perfect all the time. Surrounded by anyone, even those you adore and who adore you, for extended periods of time will occasionally drive ya bats.
It's only natural. Right?

I regret very little in life. The mistakes, the wrong turns and such all lead me to where I am today. I'm a firm believer in reflecting and pulling valuable lessons from the raw deals and gaffes in one's journey. As a result, I rarely find myself in a regretful spirit. That said, I regret that over the prior 12 months I didn't spend nearly enough time down on the floor playing ponies, Playmobil people or board games with the girls. Going in to the Stay at Home Dad gig, I told myself and my family that the laptop would stay closed and my attention would be 100% on the kiddies. Looking back now, that statement is laughable. A couple self-employment-business shoes dropped in the last 51 weeks, 1 major one about 4 days after I quit my job (nice timing), both of which had me stressin' quite a bit, and workin' a lot harder to keep things afloat. Those out-of-my-control factors dragged me away from the playtime I'd planned on enjoying.

Additionally, I found that I just don't want to be engaged with my children for 8 hours straight. I can't do it. There I said it. I need Jeffy Time, and a lot of it.
I spent many years alone, sans girlfriend and, in actuality, without any real friends. This was a great time in my life. As a result, I cherish my lonely time. I'm completely comfortable seeing movies, bands, watching sports and doing just about anything (or nothing) all by myself. Some of the best moments of the past year involved me writing on the laptop with a This American Life, Spare the Rock, or The Moth podcast playing while the girls frolic together in another room. They've gotten closer as sisters and best friends. I've squeezed in healthy doses of me-time. A win-win. Still, I wish I managed to suck it up and play with 'em more than I did. Those days and moments you just can't get back.

I left corporate America for several reasons but the main one was to be around the kids more often, specifically the Bear. She had just one year left before the school system wrapped it's claws around her for at least the next 13 years. I wanted, and needed, to just have her near me more often. Seeing her for 2-3 hours of awake-time each weekday evening after daycare/pre-k wasn't good enough. So, to that extent, the last year has been awesome. She was certainly near me a good deal, like a shadow at times!

Now the time has come for the Bear to start Kindergarten. 1 week from today I will walk her into homeroom for the 1st time. She is exciting and insists there are no nerves. I'm exciting too, but I feel like I'm going to throw up. Giant sized butterflies? Yeah, a lot of 'em.

So this is it. 5 weekdays left to enjoy my non-school-age daughter. This post is going nowhere. I cannot stop crying. Wish us luck.

4 comments:

Jill said...

Good luck. It will be all right!!

GBK Gwyneth said...

Ah Jeff -- it is hard when they move on, isn't it?

As it goes, I too never enjoyed getting down on the floor to play Fisher-Price, Legos, Littlest Pet Shop or whatever it may be. I too need my "hobbies". And where the kids and I overlap, then that's great. I listen when they want to talk about things, I try to learn, but I can't force myself to be engaged in activities that are not interesting to me. And I don't feel guilty about it ... They don't get it when I successfully debug a tricky piece of code, but they are happy to say "Yeah, mom!" And I reciprocate. They have learned give and take. They have learned that they aren't the center of the universe. They are important and have great things to share, yes, but that's not all there is. Personally, I think that's a great lesson.

Your kids are wonderful; I still think of the "Billy Jonas fireworks" as we wheeled the strollers down the street. And you are a great dad. You'll be there for those moments when they really need you. As for playing Polly Pockets? That's what playdates are for.

All my best, G.

Jeff - OWTK said...

Thanks for the kind words Gwyneth! That was really very sweet of you.

ma and pa otter said...

Very well put. I can relate to every word!
annie