I know this is going to come out all wrong, but there’s no real sugar-coating it, so let’s just get right down to it. I forgot all about my son the other day. And it felt good.
What do I mean by forget? Well, this most recent time, we were out somewhere with Bub and returned home, me lugging the carseat o’ joy up the steps and inside. As per our routine, I dropped the carseat in the dining room and took off my shoes.
Bub was calm, so I went to the kitchen to get some water. My wife came in. We started talking about something NBR (Non-Bub Related), had a nice chat. I had another glass of water, put the dishes away, kitchen stuff, whatever. Several minutes passed. And THEN it suddenly hit me, the way you remember that rent’s due or your cousin’s birthday is in two days. There’s a baby in that dining room, strapped into a carseat, who looks an awful lot like me.
That’s what I mean by forgot.
This isn’t the first time this blissful phenomenon has occured, though there’s no pattern or predictability to it whatsoever. And maybe that’s what makes it so special. It’s like your boss coming up to you and telling you to take the rest of the day off. Only your boss is 24 inches tall, and by ‘rest of the day’ he means five minutes. But that doesn’t make it any less special.
The emotional gumbo that follows is always pretty standard issue stuff. First there’s the shock of having actually forgotten, followed by the exhilaration of the carefree moments of irresponsibility, followed by a satisfying whiff of nostalgia of your former life. Next comes the guilt of being a horrible parent, but this is followed (after checking on Baby and realizing he’s happy as a clam) by a sense of relief, culminating in a slightly smug sense of having gotten away with something, scot-free. Take that, Baby!
Yes, parenting is great and a blessing and a joy, etc. But it cannot possibly be overstated what a constant responsibility it is. There are no breaks. Even if your partner is on duty or you leave him with the grandparents, you’re still thinking about him, wondering. I like the dual meaning of ‘wondering.’ It could have a positive spin to it. It doesn’t, but at least it sounds better than ‘worrying’ or ‘obsessing.’ Whatever you call it, it’s full-time, all the time. And sometimes you have to remember to forget.