Last weekend, I was hit with one of the strangest feelings ever. I came home to be greeted only by Summit (my dog) and Crosby (my cat). Emily and Everett were completely absent. Now don’t worry, this wasn’t a case of devious ninjas kidnapping my wife and son, and forcing me to accomplish a set of tasks to get them back. After all, I don’t live inside a Jackie Chan film. I knew that Emily and Everett had left for a “Girls plus Everett Weekend Retreat.”
I was prepared to enter an empty house. To be honest, I was actually looking forward to just sharing the house with the pets. I had visions of ordering pizza, watching movies, doing what I wanted, and distraction-free writing. I’m a grown man, and I obviously don’t need to ask for permission to do any of the above. It isn’t like I couldn’t do all those things with my wife and child present. There was something exciting about having a weekend full of “me time” and a small break from parenting. I was pretty sure it was going to be a weekend of awesome.
Then the strange feeling slammed me right in the gut when I got home. My wife wasn’t there to greet me. My son wasn’t around for me to hold and make funny faces at. The house suddenly seemed way too big. I started to feel emptier than the cans and bottles occupying the recycling bin. Suddenly, this weekend didn’t seem as thrilling as I was expecting.
I realize I am really lucky; I work at home; my wife is on maternity leave; I can see the two people I love most at any time I want. Emily has almost always been around when I come home. If she isn’t home, then she’ll be in within a few hours. Everett has almost always been available to be held and hugged. Suddenly, they were both gone, and even though I knew they’d be out for the whole weekend, it didn’t hit me until I entered into my house that Friday night.
This is the weekend where I really felt like a father. I had got used to the new lifestyle of caring for a little baby and finding time to bond with him. It had become a significant part of my life. When it disappeared for a weekend, I felt like a young boy who just had his bike stolen. I didn’t know what to do, but I knew my current situation kind of sucked.
I’m the kind of guy that doesn’t really like to be too many days away from my wife. I usually start pacing the house after a day, and start peering out the window with my dog. But the feelings were magnified after having two months where she was home every day (to distract me from work). I really did miss them both, even though I knew they’d be back on Sunday.
My weekend did end up being great. I got lots of pay copy and writing projects done. I got to devour my pizza and watch a movie. I gave some much needed attention to Summit and Crosby. It was a time that I’m glad that I had. But that feeling of emptiness didn’t ever get fully filled. It felt absolutely amazing when I walked through the door on Sunday and was greeted by Emily, and I finally got to hold Everett in my arms. I got to feel like a husband and a father again.