I used to start work at 6 am everyday. I loved it because I was done with work by 4 or so and I had a little bit of sunlight left in the day. I adjusted my life around these hours. I found a gym that opened at 4:30 a.m so that when I was home from work I could help my wife out with our first daughter. When I am home, I am home. I hated the idea of going to the gym at dinnertime or later. My energy was never high enough at night and I only get a few hours a day with the kids so it always felt selfish to take an hour from that time. So I did a workout in the morning. It selfishly gave me a nice start to my day but also never took away from any family time later in the day.
Months became years and I got used to “my schedule”. The wife never minds that we are in bed by 9 pm as she thoroughly enjoys sleep. I envy her for that. She could sleep for 16 hours if she could, unfortunately her 2 jobs and 2 kids dancing and cheerleading have her running around mentally and physically all day long. When we have a night without the kids, which is way more often than most due to the best grandparents on the planet, no matter what time we get home and get to sleep I wake up at 7:30 am. My wife would sleep until noon if she didn’t have the most annoying husband on earth. I will go downstairs make and drink a cup of coffee and then head back to the bed around 8:30 and start playing something with volume on my phone, but she is a pro and can sleep thru that, so I will get the dog involved. I start by asking him “Who’s there?” which for him is an absolute freak out. He will bark at the window and then run up and down the stairs a billion times which will usually get the wife to open up one of her eyes. Then I ask if we should get the kids and she will roll over and go back to bed. So I have to bring out the big guns. I mention something about the kids not being home, how we are all alone and maybe we should try… and before I get my next word out she is up and ready to go pick up the kids. It works every single time.
Well, recently I have been working more 9-5 or 10-6 and I have found that I don’t hate those hours as much as I thought I would. I don’t get as much time at night with the wife and kids but they are so busy now anyway that the four of us are home together maybe for 30 minutes before bed anyway. Especially in the summer. Nights for them are movies, and friends and sleepovers and spending every dime their parents earn. The mornings though, that is taking some getting used to. The wife is out the door for work by 7:30, but I don’t leave the house until 9 or 9:30, but I had NOTHING to do. The kids would wake up and turn on a tv show or check all their social media’s and might come out to the kitchen for a quick bowl of cereal and say hi. I’d ask them their plans for the day, did they need something from me before work, if they were all set for rides to wherever, and whatever other questions I could get in before they would snap and just be done talking to me.
I thought about going to the gym later in the morning, but there was a few problems with that. The first being my body wakes me up at 4:30 still, so I would end up just sitting in the living room quietly, and if you know me, I am not very quiet. And if I woke up one of the sleeping beauty’s they would absolutely not hesitate to murder me or at least ruin my life forever in some way. And second, I would miss that small little interaction I get with the kids in the morning. There is a sweet spot around question 2 or 3 that I ask them in which they might open up about something in their day that I get to learn. They are these cool creatures who I pretend to understand, but really, I have no clue so any little bit of information I can get I will take.
Yesterday was their first day of school and I never have to drive them because they always have this special thing they do where they meet with friends, take some pictures and all ride into school together so I actually went into work early. I had a nice excuse that I need to leave work early that night so going in early wasn’t that bad.
I had driven my youngest to school last year so I always had that to occupy a little time before going in to work but this year with her starting earlier my wife would be taking both kids to school before she heads to work. Leaving me completely alone from like 7 am to whenever I needed to log into work. Today, I cleaned the kids rooms, cooked bacon, did 2 loads of laundry, vacuumed the house, took the dog for a quick walk and texted my wife at 8:15 am and just told her I was completely bored and that I missed the kids. Who the hell am I? I had an hour and half before I had to log on to work and I was asking my wife if she had anything I needed to do around the house.
I feel like I became this boring guy so quickly. I used to be so fun to be around. I used to get calls or texts every night to go here or there. Now, when I get a random text and tell the wife I’m going out she says “no problem” when in her head she is probably saying “thank God, please stay out as long as possible”. I work out with all the old retired men and women who also wake up at the crack of dawn. I cut cable because I only watch like one tv show and that’s on CBS. I mow my lawn every 4 days. I’m a 70 year old stuck in a 39 year olds body.
But, I weirdly love it. I love the person I am now much more than I ever cared for myself at any other point in my life. If I died right now, the people I love know exactly how I feel about them. I don’t hold back my feelings. I don’t have this regret of “I never did this or that” because when I want to do something, I do it. This is the best version of me there is. I’m not perfect, or really even close to it, but I’m very happy with me. We never really get to say that about ourselves, right? When someone we love asks us how we are doing we say things like “If I could lose that 15 lbs I’d be happy” or “I’m alright”. We downplay ourselves just in case the other person is going thru something, or we never want to seem conceited or full of ourselves. We never get to really say “I’m fuckin GREAT”.
We are all this messy, broken work in progress most of the time, but sometimes when you are self reflecting and you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror it’s important to smile at YOU. Think about that little boost of energy you get when someone smiles at you. That small little flutter you get in your heart that almost forces you to smile back is important. Pass that smile on as often as you can, but remember to give yourself a little love too. You deserve it….
Categories: Dad of girls