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Growing Up Blues

The time has come. After two and-a-half years of staying at home with son Julien, I find myself with time on my hands. My boy is now going to kindergarten full-time, and my wife has gone back to work after having most of the summer off.

I had been somewhat looking forward to this day. I had thought that I could get some kind of steady part-time work to cover the hours my son was in school. It could be a simple job, at a low wage, just something to get me slowly back into the workforce, meeting people, and bringing in some extra revenue. It seemed a simple, straightforward plan.

That first day, I dropped my wife and son off at their respective places of confinement, took the car into the shop to have a strange rattle investigated (nothing serious), stopped by the grocery store, came home and straightened up the place a bit, cleaned out and adjusted the TV, occasionally stopping by the computer to see what was happening on Dads List ("Educational Software" and "Goofy characters in text" sharing space that morning - the usual mix of topics that can scramble, yet entertain the SAHD brain in binary spurts), and just generally moved from one end of the place to the other, feeling the space around me, trying to put off wondering what I was going to do with this next new phase of my life.

But I discovered something I hadn't anticipated. I'm scared.

I do have commitments. I've been sporadically helping some friends fix up their house over the last several months. It's a good thing they're not in a huge hurry. Now I can go in and work every day. When that's done, our new place needs repairing and painting. But after that? A black hole filled with questions and potential opportunities.

I need a new computer. It's getting too hard to find software that will run on this thing. I've upgraded almost as much as I can with the limited funds I've had to work with. Getting a job will get me the hardware I'll need for the early days of the new millenium.

We're also tired of living with noisy neighbours on either side of our walls, or above or below us. We're tired of sharing laundry rooms and having kitchen appliances that rarely work properly. We're tired of "making do." Getting a job will allow us to start saving for a house of our own.

Getting a job. Someone else scheduling my life. Getting a job. Something that's flexible enough to work around my wife's schedule. Getting a job. Something that'll allow me to leave to look after my son if he gets sick or hurt. Getting a job. Arranging for after-school transportation and care. Getting a job. Packing a lunch. Getting a job. What the heck will I do? This doesn't sound possible. Maybe I'll be able to get something going out of my home. This is the ideal situation these days.

I pick up my son from school and he tells me about how much fun he had. He sings a song that he learned just that day, shows me some artwork that's ready for hanging, listens as I read a note from his teacher extolling his good work and attentiveness in class. We can't play around as much as we used to. With less time for housework and cooking, now that I'm working while he's in school, I've got to get started on basic, daily chores not long after we get home.

His mom comes home in time for supper. We eat, then play around some. Maybe he'll go outside and play for a little while, but then it's bath-time, snack, teeth, story, bed.

It's going by too fast. Super Julienboy is still kicking around, but he wants to play with Josh, or John, or Emily, or Victoria, or Jessica. How can I let the already-diminishing time with him be further sabotaged by getting a job? I hadn't considered how much I would miss our time together. And I don't want to get a job out of the house. I want to be right there for him if he needs me.

I'm a mess. I have a bad cold, and can't think too clearly. For the moment, I guess it's OK to have no resolution in sight, but the time will come when decisions will have to be made, and this new, strange chapter in my life will finally take hold, setting the stage for the next phase. All the while, he is growing up, and away.

© 2005 - 2012 Hal Levy and the above captioned author.