In an attempt to cleanse my soul I have a confession to make. I have been an absentee weekday morning father since 2003. My job requires a 5am check-in and the family is sound asleep when I’m praying my Jeep will start in the Midwest chill. Why didn’t we buy a house with a two car garage?
There’s been a few times when I’ve taken vacation time and witnessed the morning school day routine. It appears to be a well-orchestrated circus. Lunches, backpacks, clothes, pop-tarts, milk and a splash of urgency from the very start. My lovely wife is a morning routine Ringmaster. She plots out just the right course of action and does it all without the aid of coffee or a loving spouse in those weekday mornings. It’s nothing short of amazing.
In contrast, I am the afternoon pick-up parent. What a great gig! You get the first-hand accounts of the pivotal moments of their academic life. 90 percent of the time – that’s summed up by my least favorite word – “fine”. (How can one word be used against me by two different generations? When my wife says it’s fine, it rarely is. And this non-descriptive word is not enough from young scholars. C’mon man, learn new words. Say it’s sub-standard, not noteworthy, a vanilla school day – anything but fine) But my favorite moments are the other 10 percent of the time when something really happens. Those high points usually surround around getting a scrape while attempting a slide tackle during a recess soccer game, some classmate getting sent to the principal’s office or talk about Odell Beckham Junior. Anyway, we high five, chest bump, eat snacks in the car, make a mess, listen to jams on the radio and kickstart the fun part of the day. By my own admission – it’s the far easier parental gig.
So, when I learned my lovely wife landed a new job that required a 2 week training out of town, I was thrilled for her, delighted for our bank account and for me, it meant the opportunity to sleep in for two glorious weeks and put my own spin on the morning circus.
It ain’t easy.
I’ll save you from some of the day to day struggles, but here’s some memorable moments:
• Almost sending a child to school with one shoe
• Not making lunches like “mom does”
• Walking out to icy conditions when I neglected to turn on the KSUX that day
• Sheepishly dropping off my oldest at school WAY too late on icy street day
• Matching clothes were preferred but not a necessity daily
• On day one – packing more luggage for the kids than a 3 month stay in Holland
• Laundry, dishes, errands all getting done – just way later than I would have hoped
• Losing my shoes, my train of thought and my side view window on my Jeep after running into the trash cans. Whoops.
- Realizing tonight, my youngest had a project due tomorrow. Whoops Part 2. We got it done. (Barely.)
Confession #2 – I took for granted all that my lovely wife does to make this household run in an efficient manner with matching clothes, pairs of shoes, daily routines and properly made lunches. She rocks! All without the help of java. She must be Superwoman.
Through this whole process I’ve discovered a new found appreciation not only for my wife who I will now describe as “the Goddess of mornings”, but also for my friends in single parent households who do it ALL by themselves from son up to son down (or daughter up to daughter down). You are truly an inspiration. If I ever get that retention bonus at work, I will buy you a Starbucks gift card.