A couple weeks ago Cindy went out of town for a few days. She took Micah with her, so it was just me and the girls. There are several things you realize when your wife is gone for a while. Now, I’m a pretty good cook, so it wasn’t like we’d starve. But here are some things I learned while Cindy was living it up in beautiful Toledo.
- Apparently there is no such thing as the bed making fairy. After the first morning I just thought she’d gotten tied up with more pressing issues. But by Day 2, I knew something was amiss. If Cindy weren’t around, I doubt I’d ever make the bed.
- I could stay up all night reading or watching movies on Netflix or old episodes of Seinfeld. My early morning routine would be shot after one or two nights of trying to get in too many chapters of The Girl Who Played with Fire. I like rising early to spend some time in solitude, alone with God, my Bible, and my journal, alone with my calendar and tasks list. It’s like a pre-dawn planning session to get my head on straight for the demands I’ll face. Without such a meeting I am useless. (I could have stayed up, but I actually didn’t. The switch from daylight savings time really threw me off. The girls were in bed by 9, as was I shortly thereafter.)
- The girls expect Disney Dad when Cindy is gone. We went to family movie night at the church on Sunday evening, then the following afternoon before dinner we took advantage of the unseasonable warmth and got the bikes out for a ride in the country. (We don’t have to go far outside our little town to find the country.) Later in the evening, one of the girls asked, “What’re we gonna do tomorrow?” When the girls were younger and Cindy would have to be gone, I planned fun stuff for us to do. Trips to the zoo, to the mall, to a baseball game, to a restaurant. Can a dad spend 12 hours with his kids without such plans? I didn’t want to try it back then. These days, though, life continues on when one of us parents is gone.
- I couldn’t maintain my work load with Cindy gone. I know it’s morbid, but sometimes I consider how it would be if something happened to Cindy. If she’s especially long at the store or a Bible study, I start to worry: did something happen? When she’s gone for a few days, I cut my schedule down significantly. We’ve been blessed to have Cindy be able to stay home with the kids. It hasn’t always been easy, but we’ve been able to make it work financially. I love that she’s home when the girls get out of school. And I pray that my worst nightmare would remain that and stay far away from reality.
- Though Cindy has accused me of it repeatedly, I realize when she’s gone that I’m indeed the good cop. I might think I’m a disciplinarian, but I struggle with the follow through, the consistency. If she were to be gone for a significant amount of time, I’d really have to toughen up and scrutinize our 13 and 11 year olds. Shine the flashlight in their faces, kick over a chair. Really get mean. But they’d probably wear me down, as they did with their chattiness.
- The girls talk a lot. In the car when they have to tag along to my rehearsal, to a store, to whatever, there is no quiet. Normally, I like to crank up music or listen to a podcast, but when the girls are with me, I’ve got to turn it down and listen. Now, I like our usual car trips, once or twice a week, but driving for me is alone time I seldom like to share. Really, though, I love that they talk to me, and I pray our avenues of communication will stay wide open through the upcoming years.
- No one leaves treats in my lunch bag. Cindy often tosses something in my lunch, and I’ve come to count on chasing my sandwich, chips, and carrots with something sweet, handpicked by my bride. I know it’s silly. Something as simple as a little bag of Boston Baked Beans or a roll of Smarties affirms in her love and devotion. (I suppose the way to this man’s heart is through my sweet tooth.)
I loved it when she returned, because I missed the little guy too. Glad to be back being the good cop.