Survivor Dad: weekend with kids edition

Dear Eleanor and Wesley,

This weekend your Mom went on a much deserved trip with her girlfriends. We had our first Daddy weekend between the three of us. It felt like the INTENSITY of a life or death race clothed in the most ordinary tasks imaginable. The clock constantly ticked toward another earth shattering deadline. Here is a mental play by play:

3:15 am – Listen for the alarm. Miss the feeding and your baby son will be forced to face excruciating hunger and probably die.

5:45 am – Place milk in the microwave. Remove after exactly 23 seconds. Too soon and the milk will be unnacceptably cool. Too long and your daughter will be burned, scarred, and likely be subject to CPS intervention. 

6:00 am – Stay conscience. Lose momentary focus and your baby son will throw himself over the edge of the couch, suffer blunt force trauma as his head hits the floor, and probably die. 

7:00 am – Look sharp.  Your daughter needs to wear clothes. Refuse an acceptable outfit and spark an unceasing tantrum, persisting until the moment her mother arrives home. Allow an illfit outfit and your daughter will develop a complex about her feminine identity, fall in with the wrong crowd, and permanently cut off all forms of communication with her family. 

8:30 am – Poop explosion. Two days of storage has resulted in a baby butt bomb. Clean everything. Track the sticky substance as flailing limbs smear it on everything within arms reach. Miss a key area and the young one will likely ingest it, grow sick, develop disentary, and probably die. 

When I think of things in this light, this weekend feels like a miraculous, albiet exhausting achievement. I could pat myself on the back for keeping you alive. We all survived. While that may be a tremendous outcome for this weekend, it is easy to sink into and stick with a survivalist mentality. I’m tempted to wait out routine mornings until the next activity takes you off of my hands, or spend long afternoons pining for the moment when bedtime arrives, and you’ll be down for the night. The only result could be a pair of kids who see their Dad as technically present but emotionally distant. Forgetable furniture in a whirring world.   I want to do more than survive your childhood. I want to embrace it, celebrate it, and truly live as we attack life together. After this experience, I can honestly say I somehow love you two even more than I did before. We did share some truly special moments, and that almost makes the poop explosion containment worth it. No, it does, it was worth it. 


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