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Friday, Aug. 11, 2006 | When I first became a dad, I experienced all sorts of new emotions – and all sorts of crying.
So when Owen was born back in April, part of me dreaded going back to the days of hearing crying every night.
But I haven’t been hearing much crying lately and I miss it a little bit.
I’ve been working nights at a new part time job recently in order to help take care of my family’s newest companion: an adjustable rate mortgage with looming balloon payment.
I still have a day job so I haven’t seen my daughter or my son as much as I’d like.
In some ways, that’s good because I automatically become the cool parent on the weekends when I’m there.
But it’s also hard work because all my parental interaction comes between the hours of 7 a.m. Saturday to 9 p.m. Sunday (I have a strict no parenting policy during “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”).
I feel for my wife because she’s with the kids all day and all evening until I get home. And my kids are usually asleep by then so I don’t even get to tell them bedtime stories.
I really miss that because whereas some dads look at storytelling as a chore, it is joy for me. I love making up stories on the spot and trying to connect the dots afterwards. Maybe that’s why I’m a tabloid journalist.
Oh, I do get some chance to hang out with them during the week. A couple of nights ago, Owen was awake and my wife wanted a shower so she practically shoved him in my arms when I walked in.
We had a nice conversation. I told him about my new job and how it’s requiring me to learn new skills and that I’m going through an awkward stage. But I also told him that you should never stop learning and it’s important to try new things in order to grow and change.
He looked at me real intently as if he understood my situation.
Then he yawned.
Then I yawned.
Then he smiled and I felt good again.
Because Alex is three, she’s more on a regular sleeping schedule than Owen. That means the only chance I am probably going to see her when I get home is when she’s naughty.
I am hoping that doesn’t ever happen because I don’t ever want to deal with the “Wait ‘Til Your Father Gets Home” school of parenting where the child learns to dread dad’s presence.
Sometimes she calls me at work or I will call to hear her voice. She tells me about her day and what mommy is doing and I feel a part of her life. But I also feel far away.
I can’t even imagine what it feels like to be a dad who spends months away from his kids.
Right now, as I write this, Owen is on a bouncy seat with that quiet peaceful look that only someone without an adjustable rate mortgage with looming balloon payment has.
Gosh, I do miss the sounds they make – even their crying.
However, my wife assures me that Alex and Owen do cry quite a lot and if I actually got up in the middle of the night, I would hear them.
Well, you can’t have everything.
David Moye is a La Mesa-based writer who will be speaking on three recent books he’s read this Sunday at the San Diego Library’s downtown branch starting at 2 p.m. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, submit a letter to the editor here.