When I was a younger, more idealistic man with dreams of changing the world and plans to do that through educating the youth of America, I never gave much consideration to having children of my own. I always knew I’d find a nice woman, settle down and live a quiet, comfortable life where I would teach and then come home and read Keats, Shelley, or maybe some Dickens by a nice warm fire, a good drink in hand, a pipe perhaps. My wife by my side enjoying her own favorite literature and the two of us in love.
I found that woman in my darling Maria and we have a beautiful library of all kinds of works of fiction, non-fiction, and everything in between. We love each other very much. We have our den, with a stone fireplace. A bar filled with various scotches of different ages and origins. It’s a wonderfully idyllic respite from the rigors of our jobs and the hard routines of daily life.
I haven’t seen the inside of that room in three and a half months.
They warn you about the joys of parenting. It will change your life, they say. It’s like no other feeling in the world, they tell you. Your time is no longer your own, but theirs. How different could it really be, you ask yourself. I’m still my own person. I can have time away from the kids. It won’t completely change me, I will still find the time for the things I like to do.
How naïve I was. Don’t get me wrong, I love Charlie and Dora more than anything else in the whole world. But the sacrifice does come. It happens and there is very little you can do about it. The things you love are no longer your own. The plans you had take a backseat, next to the child safety seat and diaper bags, and toys…oh so many toys.
Then they get older and the concepts of status are learned. Yours is better than mine. I want that. I have to have that. Daddy, I NEED THIS. The weird thing about it is, you never know when it’s coming or why. I needed a new backpack to bring to classes so Maria heard about a site for military backpacks here. She clicked there to find out more about them and got me a really nice bag that had a lot of pockets and features. It was a great bag.
Then the kids saw it and wanted to borrow it for sleepovers and camping trips with friends on the weekends. Mind you, we had only one. So the fights started. They each wanted to borrow it but they couldn’t take turns, because their schedules conflicted. The two of them began to one up each other trying to get to borrow it. Before long, it wasn’t even mine anymore. The kids commandeered it. My backpack was gone, theirs to pick over like carrion. Those military bags are tough because that thing got abused. Dad was left needing a new backpack. Maria finally broke down and bought two new ones, even nicer than the old one we had first that has seen better days now.
And guess who ended up with that?