The Best Way To Spend My Time

Yesterday evening, after feeling dizzy and unwell all day, my body finally succumbed to fever. I lay down on my bed, closed my eyes, and calmly enjoyed the spinning in my head. I say "enjoyed," because what else can a person do, other than let a mild fever run its course? I could moan, groan, cry, and lament my bad luck, or I could embrace my circumstances for what they are and at least try to endure them with a smile on my face.

It wasn't so bad, really. My body was tingly and sensitive, as bodies tend to be when they have a fever. That, combined with the light vertigo and the bodily fatigue added up to an experience that I ordinarily experience favorably, under the right conditions. For example, I sometimes feel similarly after a long run or bike ride and a nice, hot bath. It's nice to drink some cool water, lie down, and spend a few minutes drifting along to the subtle physical sensations. If I have to be sick, the least I could do is try to enjoy what aspects of my situation there are to enjoy.

A little while later, something else that I was able to enjoy happened. My wife and daughter came home, and my little four year old girl tiptoed into my bedroom. She wanted to see if I was asleep. I gave her a big smile and asked how her day went. After some chitchat, she was ready to go play, but without my asking, she paused to close the door behind her so that I wouldn't be disturbed. It would be a thoughtful gesture coming from anyone, but coming from a four-year-old, I thought it was very kind. The door had been open when she came in, so closing it was entirely her own idea. She was thoughtful of me. I'm raising a kind girl.

I thought back to some recent business trips that my wife had taken. She goes out of town fairly regularly, without my daughter and me. That leaves me home alone to take care of all the parental responsibilities. When there are a lot of things to do - school requirements, ballet rehearsals, grocery shopping, all the cooking and cleaning, and of course carving out part of every day to sit down and play with my daughter so that she has some quality home-time with her father - it can be understandably exhausting. Still, there's nothing else I'd rather be doing.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I'd love to have more time to write music, practice my guitar, exercise, have some fun, or just plain relax. The truth is, I easily could do more of those things than I do when my wife is out of town. The reason I don't do them is because I'd rather be a father. I enjoy singing songs with my girl and reading her books. I enjoy playing with her toys or doing a puzzle with her. I enjoy cooking dinner for her and I love it when she invariably "has an idea" and suggests that we bake cookies together or something. And I do it all; I do it because it's incredibly fun. I love spending that time with her, just the two of us. I love what we talk about, and how we play, I love watching movies together and taking her outside to play with a ball or a pair of roller skates. It's great fun, why wouldn't I love it?

Some of my friends and acquaintances find themselves in a similar position from time to time, as most of us do. I never hear them talk about how much fun they're having. I never hear them tell stories about what they did with their children. Mostly, I hear them complain about how much work it is and how much they'd rather be doing something else.

But I don't understand that. Fatherhood is a blast. I wouldn't rather be doing anything else.

No comments:

Post a Comment