Real life column
Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for.
When you are at the stage in life when the house is filled with kids, the fondest wish can often be for some time alone. When the children were young, I don’t know how many times my wife and I wished we would be able escape the screaming and the loud television and just go into a room for some peace and quiet.
Now that the number of kids living at home has been cut in half, there are more opportunities to spend time as a couple. “Me” time still seems to be rare. However, it does happen.
My wife recently went away on business for five days, so she could escape family responsibilities altogether.
When the kids were smaller, going away on a business trip meant the parent left behind was pretty much on duty 24/7. As they got to be teenagers, it meant driving them around. Now, it means giving them the car keys.
Both girls were gone for most of the weekend my wife was away.
I don’t know whether the girls just stepped up to the plate when their mother was gone or what, but they seemed to have no trouble getting up for work or university. When their mother is there, there tends to take a couple of reminders.
When the girls asked when their mother was coming home, they agreed the house seemed quiet without her. I told them we always found the place got quiet whenever they leave. They told me it doesn’t seem to make much difference when I go away on business – I’m not sure what that says.
On the day my wife came home, everything seemed to be going wrong. The door of one of the cupboards broke. I had trouble getting hooked into a conference call I was chairing. I kept getting this recording “The chair has not yet arrived” – I know, I know.
That made me late picking up my wife at the car rental agency and the supper I cooked wasn’t ready on time. Since I had to go to a meeting right after dinner that meant my wife was left cleaning up the supper dishes. Not exactly the welcome home I had hoped to give her.
The next morning, I asked my wife whether she was missing her “me” time. She said she enjoyed it at first, but then it got lonely. That is exactly how I felt.
Like I said, sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for.
The next morning, the discussion about who was going in the shower first was back on. That day, it seemed preferable to the silence that accompanied the previous six mornings.
That’s the way it is real life.