It’s not uncommon to hear about my wife’s day home with our son or the times that they have spent with friends at a coffee shop or a playground or a gym class and feel incredibly jealous for this time that she has enjoyed at home with our kids.
It’s an odd tug, to be honest. Part of me is so glad that we can do this for her and our children, and part of me is so proud of myself for cobbling together my teaching and writing and speaking and storytelling and DJ and tutoring careers together into some semblance of an income that has allowed us to continue to pay the bills and keep our heads above water while one of us is not working.
But there’s always a part of me that knows that even if my next book is a huge bestseller or my last book is made into a blockbuster film, or even if we win the lottery that we never play because lotteries are for suckers, I will never get this same chance to spend the kind of time with my children that my wife has had over these past five years.
That time is gone forever. Clara is in kindergarten. Charlie will be in preschool next year. Even if I become a stay-at-home dad someday – which may actually happen at some point in the future – it will be a quieter, emptier, far more organized house. There will be chances to volunteer in classrooms and walks to school, but those lazy mornings in bed or those afternoons in the sun are not in my future, no matter what happens.
That blending of happiness for my children and my wife and sadness for what I can never have and pride for what we have accomplished is easier on some days than others.
Some days it’s easy as pie. Some days it’s a stone on my heart.
But I really shouldn’t be jealous of my son for his time at home. He’s only two years-old, and yet, when I see photos like this, of my son playing in his big sister’s bed, while she and I are off at our respective schools, I can’t help but think that he needs to get a job.
He’s just having way too much fun.