There was a time…it’s been around two years, now, I think…when I was on a consistent blogging schedule, at least, if not on a regular schedule with other writing projects. I took a sort of pride in it, honestly. I didn’t miss a post on that schedule. I maintained comment chains from the hospital when our daughter was born. I stopped one evening in the middle of our move to New England to write a post. I figured if a major family re-location and having a child didn’t knock me off of a blogging schedule, pretty much nothing ever would. And I’ve always respected blogging as a medium, too. Others have sounded the futurist predictions that long-form blogging is vanishing, falling behind micro-blogging platforms, and I stubbornly maintain this medium, because I think it’s important, that it has something valuable to contribute. It turns out that what finally did knock me off my blogging schedule wasn’t a major re-location or a child, but rather going back to school immediately following those two events, and then two subsequent smaller moves in the same year, all to accomplish that career-change for my day job that I dreamed of.
So, if my writing here has become more sporadic than in the past, it’s not for lack of motivation…it’s a symptom of a larger disorganization. And, as Karen would be quick to point out, that sort of disorganization just comes with having a two-year-old in the house.
And speaking of that two-year-old…she has a toy, a plush soccer ball that she loves to throw around. It’s laying at the other end of the sofa as I write this, having been missed in the nightly cleanup. And it’s poignant to me…poignant enough that instead of pushing through with the book review that I was so excited to write this evening, I’m stopping to write about it instead. Or, rather, the day that left it there.
In fact, of the days before that.
There’s been this interesting paradigm shift in my life now that I get to be creative for a living and not just for a hobby. That paradigm shift is that I don’t come home from a boring job and try to get the creative juices flowing any more. Instead, I tend to bring work home. In fact, I just work from home pretty frequently, especially when winter storms blanket New England (read: every week) and the commute to the office promises to be ugly. I always have side projects that I’m working on, both personal and freelance, anything from writing fiction to programming a website to editing the family photos. In short, I’m always busy. And, at first, that was really, really cool, because I love everything that’s keeping me that way.
Except that there’s a trap that comes with this, I realize now. That trap is that you aren’t able to break away at some point…the obligations become too many, the deadlines too tight, the work too complex and overwhelming. Today, with a winter storm having seriously complicated our plans and eradicated our childcare arrangements, Karen had to make a work obligation and I was working from home as our daughter played. I was pushing to meet a deadline. She wanted to play. We tossed the ball a bit, but then I had to get back to work. We read a book, but then I had to get back to work. She wanted to read the book some more. I couldn’t. So it went.
That girl…she has always been the proverbial apple of Daddy’s eye. I never knew that I could feel the emotions that she has brought out in me…the absolutely unconditional love, the protectiveness, the sense of duty. She has always been Daddy’s girl, and she knows it. She and I have always had a special bond…when she would cry in her first days with us and no one else could calm her down, she hushed when I held her and whispered in her ear. She loves her Daddy. She still wants his attention the way she used to have it.
She doesn’t understand deadlines.
She’s asleep now, the apartment is quiet, and I’m looking over the rim of my laptop at that soccer ball, tossed aside when it proved an unsuccessful way to keep my attention for long enough. I’m thinking of her hugs, which have become tighter, as though she’s holding on and doesn’t want me to go away. I’m treading water in this new lifestyle.
Overall, I truly believe that the changes we’ve made in our family are good. I do. I think that she will benefit from them in the long run. But, I don’t have an experiential referent for this yet, and I have much to learn. Among all of my creative passions, I also have a strong passion to be a good father. Right now, I’m not keeping that obligation, not through lack of desire, but because I don’t have a handle on this new life yet.
I’m working on it. If you’ve been there, and you have advice, I’d love to hear it. Because I’m looking at that soccer ball right now, and I really want to be smiling the next time I find it laying around, not regretting a day of opportunity lost.