In high school, I remember being stuck somewhere with a friend, and neither of us felt like having to walk home. My friend suggested calling his parents to ask them to pick us up. Since his parents weren’t expecting us to call or need a ride, I asked him how he knew his parents would be home, because it was a Saturday, so they might be on a date. He responded that his parents never went out, unless they were grocery shopping and that was Thursday night.
I was horrified by that news. How could people never go on dates, and only have their one big night out together be a trip for bread, milk and eggs? My parents always had a fairly active dating life if you consider they had 4 kids to look after. I swore to myself that I’d never be in a “grocery dating” marriage.
Now we’ll fast forward to current times where I’m one half of a marvelous parenting duo. Grocery shopping still isn’t the pinnacle of an evening out. But I sadly can see how easy it now is to become the “guaranteed to be home” couple.
Life has a very sneaky way of becoming busy. If you’re running your own business where you spend half your day trying to land more clients, but also seem to have the ever hovering dread of “this may be the last month ever that I can pay the mortgage” even when things are financially stable (that is what a less than steady pay cheque can do your psyche), then you can find time evaporates pretty quickly. I also have a habit of drifting into workaholic territory with my writing if Emily forgets to give me a stiff slap to snap me out of it.
I always find time for Everett. Throughout the day his laughs and coos will slip me into a trance and I’ll wander off to play with him. Emily also has a few outside activities that cause her to leave the house, and so I usually get several solid hours of son and dad time throughout the week. My work hasn’t stopped me from me being a dad and building up a special relationship with my son.
As for my relationship with my wife, that is a little different. We do usually see a little bit of each other. I see her when she comes into my office when she drops off Everett. We do talk. It is usually about Everett. We still have a relationship, but as you can clearly see, it revolves around being the parents of Everett.
The easy excuse is that it is hard to find someone to look after Everett. Unfortunately, that is the world’s biggest lie. One of his grandmas lives in the same city that we do, and she is the owner of a “Grandma’s Brag Book” – so, you probably can tell how eager she is to spend time with him. Emily has been alerted by several other people that they’d be more than willing to babysit Everett too. These aren’t complete strangers who wear tin foil hats, but rather trusted friends. We have options.
I just need to remind myself that I don’t want Everett at 15 years old say to a friend, “I know my parents will be home, because it isn’t grocery night.”
Before you start panicking about the relationship status of your favourite Wednesday “Dad’s Eye View” columnist, our marriage is strong. We have gone on a few dates since Everett was born. But I know there have been several weeks where Emily has been more of an acquaintance or co-worker than the love of my life.
In my quest to be a successful writer and an amazing dad, I also need to constantly remember my commitment to being the world’s greatest husband too. Because trying to decide if we should get pork chops or roast beef should never be a hot date.