The daily goodbye

The daily goodbye

I never realized how difficult it would be to go back to work in an office. Now, I know I’m going to get comments that I’m spoiled and everyone else has to do it and why don’t I just suck it up. But bear with me for a minute.

For the past 15 years I have not had to go to an office every day, five days a week, eight hours a day. For four of those intervening years I was in school and for the other 11 I worked from home. (I did have a few part-time jobs in that time that did require going to an office, but that doesn’t really count.)

In addition, over the past three years Melanie and I have spent nearly every day together. Since she was a college professor and I worked from home, we could be together, Melanie grading papers and me writing and editing. After we were married, we were together even more, obviously, nearly 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

I could honestly say that we have never had an argument in all that time together. I’m not saying neither of us ever got snippy or peckish, but we’ve never yelled at one another. A big part of that is our personalities. We’re very laid back.

Once Isabella came along, that full-time presence grew to include here. Until I started work, I was there with Isabella every day, changing diapers, getting up in the night, feeding her breakfast, lunch, or dinner, right alongside Melanie.

But the day I started my new job, that all changed. Of course, I’m very happy to have my job and I enjoy it. There are challenges and rewards inherent in it and I find it stretches me in my abilities and experiences.

Yet, I can’t help but feel very keenly the amount of time I’m not with Melanie and Isabella. I leave in the morning while they’re still asleep and when I come home there’s dinner to be made and chores to catch up on and within a couple of hours Bella is in bed and Melanie is fading (being first-trimester means she’s tired all the time.)

Like I said, I know that this is how most people live their lives, but the problem is that I lived the other way for so long. I feel like the two-eyed man living in the land of the one-eyed people and I’ve just had one of my eyes removed. Yeah, I’m just like everyone else now, but I know what it was to have had both.

It’s going to take some adjustment, for all of us. Certainly, I now have the pleasure of coming home to my little girl running to greet me excitedly. Still, this is a sacrifice that many moms and dads make and I’m lucky enough that my wife recognizes it and appreciates it.

And perhaps someday I’ll realize my dream of becoming a high-tech gentleman farmer/blogger and never have to commute to a job again.

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