Maybe I shouldn’t write about this. Maybe I should continue to hide it away from everyone, lock it up. Maybe it’s too personal for the public eye.
Maybe maybe maybe.
A few years ago, after a 6 month stint in a motel room where all I did was drink myself to sleep day in and out, I ran out of the means to keep the room or keep drinking, once again at the end of a familiar rope. I had nowhere to go, no one I could call with confidence they would help without question. In my despair I rang my youngest brother, who reluctantly said he would take me in as long as I adhered to his two rules: No drinking or drugs, and I had to get a job. I agreed, not knowing how I would do either of these things. He picked me up that day and I spent the next few months on his couch. During this time, surprisingly enough, I didn’t drink or drug, and within a couple weeks I had landed a job at the age of 46, with the same company I had began my working life with at 15 years old, McDonald’s. I had really come full circle, just not the circle I’d ever envisioned as a young man. But I threw myself headlong into the job, took on extra hours, kept myself busy. I walked to work every morning and home every afternoon, stayed sober, kept to myself, and found life was okay for the most part. I sort of fell in love with my routine solitude.
Over the years I had been in and out of numerous relationships, some lengthy, some over before they really began. I figured at this point in my life, with my age, faulty history, and general nomad existence, I’d be better off single. No falling in love, no shacking up, no one night stands. For the next few months I rolled on through the days in this mindset, planning out the time when I could move out on my own and live simply and solely. I daydreamed about it often, and felt good and confident this was to be the path for me.
One morning at work, a new female employee was in training, and I couldn’t help but notice her. I wasn’t sure why because there was nothing substantially noticeable, certainly not to someone like me who had for the most part, always been caught up in the superficial. But there was something about her I could not explain. She was very quiet, kept to her work with little interaction, came and went for her shifts like a ghost. I never thought much about her unless I saw her at work, I was still determined to live my life alone and she nor anyone could deter me from it.
Until the day I decided to speak to her and she smiled at me. That smile did it. In that moment I fell. Hard. And that was that. From that instance on, I thought only of her. Over the next few weeks I engaged her in conversation often, and the more we talked and got to know each other, the less I thought about my plans for the single life, until one day those thoughts faded into the recesses of my mind.
While there is much to tell about the progression of this love story, my thoughts today lie elsewhere. She and I married less than a year later, and less than a year after that we were expecting a child. She and I both didn’t expect either of these life changing experiences, she, like me was resigned to a life of solitude, and certainly a child was never part of the plan. Even after we married, we agreed to stay childless.
But miracles happen. And in June of 2016 our son was born, a beautiful healthy little guy who is now just over 2 years old. He is full of energy, he is smart, he is happy, and he is ornery as the day is long. The latter he comes by honestly.
But it hasn’t been an easy road for either of us as parents. This is her first child, and my only other child in 24 years. To say we were both thrown off guard when we found out the news of pregnancy would be an understatement, to say we have somehow made great strides in adjusting to this life of 3 would be a gross overstatement and untrue. Lately it has become increasingly difficult. While I love my son with a love I cannot comprehend, I have begun to resent him somewhat. My wife and I have absolutely no time together. None. I work 40+ a week, she is a stay at home Mom (and is a wonderful Mother) and at his age he requires seemingly constant attentiveness. I find myself barely able to sit down to relax for a few minutes before I am up chasing him down or telling him no or filling his drink cup or changing a diaper….and it goes on. I know those with kids understand.
I read marriage/parenting blogs, advice articles, and so on. The central theme for parents is to not allow the marriage relationship to grow stale, to make time for each other, plan a date night, steal away during the child’s nap time for some intimacy or good conversation. All well and good on paper or a screen, harder to implement in practice. One we are without a trusted babysitter, and two when nap time comes we are busy trying to catch up on chores or pay bills or errands we had to put off because our time is so enrapt with our son’s care.
And I’m frustrated. Beyond fed up. I’ve found myself wondering if I made a mistake forsaking my plan of a life of solitude. I wonder, now that I’ve found Christ, how in the world do I find time for Him much less time for my marriage and fatherhood. I think more and more lately that I am just not built for this, it is all too much. I think about taking off, disappearing (which I became very adept at over the years) and living incognito on the streets (which I’ve also done), nameless and faceless.
But I love my wife, and I love my son. I could no more leave them than I could the Lord.
Some say pray, give it to the Lord. He will handle it for you. Yeah? Is He gonna drop down from heaven so my wife and I can have a date night? Is He gonna change a diaper? Is He gonna occupy our son’s time so Mom and Dad can have an actual uninterrupted conversation? So we can rekindle passion? Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t that I take the prayer advice lightly, I pray all the time. But sometimes that’s the last thing I want to hear when I need practical answers.
And right now there aren’t any.