The signs are everywhere. The times, they are a’ changing.
They always are, aren’t they? But sometimes you feel it more than other times.
The main dynamic here is that I’m working more, so my attention is less focussed on the family and the house and more on projects. I’m still doing primary parent duty, but some of the household stuff is falling behind: sheets stay on the beds longer, dust collects on shelves, cupboards get disorganized a bit grotty. The basics are getting done – the kids have food and clean clothes and extracurricular activities and playdates – but the other stuff is starting to build up.
So, we’re discussing getting some help – more with the house than the kids. Yet I notice how protective I am of my primary parenting role. I need it – it still defines me. I don’t want any help with that.
The kids notice the changes as well.
“Daddy, you never play games with us. Can we play cards?” My daughter Ella is sharp and knows how to send her tiny piercing arrows into my heart. I don’t play enough games with them – so I played some crazy 8s with her last night.
My son, mind you, was well occupied on the computer. He’s discovered that YouTube is better than TV when it comes to obsessing about his favourite toys. But this morning, he rubbed up against me looking for a hug. I picked his pencil thin 44 pound body up and hugged him close. We stood there for a while, hugging and not saying anything.
“I love you, daddy,” he said. Sigh.
“Me too, buddy. Me too.”
Sometimes, I think the essence of parenting can be boiled down to one action: hugging.