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Home alone
by Asa Butcher
2007-01-25 09:39:39
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A few hours ago, my wife dashed out of the front door carrying a few bags and pushing a pram containing my sleeping daughter. Don't worry, we haven't had an argument - I think. The reason for her whirlwind exit was bad planning and the decision late last night to spend a week at her parent's house. Once the dust had settled and the cats had returned to their pre-afternoon snooze, I suddenly felt very alone and my hands just started typing the first version of this self-analysis.

Once I had realised that the original version had been accidentally deleted, I decided to blame the whole thing on this uncomfortable feeling now loitering around the flat. Every day my wife takes our daughter out to play, to the shops or to nursery, yet there is never this void left behind following their departure. I guess the knowledge they will be returning soon comforts my paternal instincts and reassures me that everything will be all right.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder…no, that's not right. You don't miss it until it's gone…closer to the mark, but still missing the emotional target. Let's try another way: Working from home means that my wife and daughter are in my vicinity most of the day, especially when I am trying to concentrate. The noise of my daughter playing in the background is comforting as I tap away at the keyboard and, when I forget to have breaks, she will come in and lead me away to play by the finger

When I get ready to go out it is a game to find where she has hidden my keys, mobile phone and travel card, which always means three separate locations. I may not spend enough quality time with her during the day, but it is a strange feeling when she is always there, so you don't feel the need like some fathers after a day at the office. However, now my wife has whisked her away to Central Finland the home has transformed into an apartment bereft of life.

While my wife was packing last minute items, such as toothbrush, toothpaste and other essential items, I asked her how she would feel if decided suddenly to fly to England and take our daughter with me. "Yeah, right!" was her immediate reply, but I didn't understand the difference. Sure, mummy currently provides food on tap, doesn't have a bad back and is able to pick her up, subconsciously knows all of the routines, can put together the complicated washable nappies and a dozen other things, but it won't always be like this.

One day I may distract her with a family-size chocolate bar and the next she will hear is a phone call from England, with her daughter's voice laughing in the background. She'll understand how alien it is to have your child out of reach, she'll realise how jealous you become when you hear other people playing with your daughter and she'll realise how bloody annoying it is to hear what delicious feast is being prepared as you wait for your frozen pizza to defrost in the oven.

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Frank2007-01-23 09:51:19
I feel for you! And yes, after a day in the office I love playing with my daughter. Or listen to her scream her head off (she's had a somewhat rough start :S). The first three weeks were great and I absolutely love the weekends, but I hate to have to miss them during the day in the office...

Asa2007-01-23 12:12:49
I wonder whether we are in the minority, since it seems the 'guy' thing to be pleased to get the house to yourself. It just ain't my jig!

Thanos2007-01-23 15:46:51
Well we are already three, that doesn't make us much of minority!!!

I have to admit myself that there are days I feel like going to the daycare just to see her playing!!! :)

Päivi2007-02-07 09:28:41
Asa has now got his family back and he's a happy man. I think! ;) I felt bad to call him after a week and say that we're staying for another week! He then packed a bag himself and came to see us :) I don't blame him. Well, I couldn't wait to pick him up from the bus station either.

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