On April 28, I began a new adventure.
Adventures are sometimes fun, sometimes challenging, sometimes difficult. Some adventures are remembered fondly, others are not.
In total truth, the adventure I have been on has been a little fun, challenging, and difficult. But, every moment of the adventure will be remembered fondly for the rest of my life.
Let me give you a brief history of what led to this great adventure. On February 4, at 3:43 PM, my wife and I had a baby (that's his picture to the right). If you really want to see pictures, just click on the Our Son link under my favorite places to visit.
At that time, I took off two weeks from work. That was a smart decision. As with most newborns, Evan didn't really sleep very much. He was up every two hours, ready to be fed and changed. Sometimes, he was just up for no apparent reason.
My wife and I were physically and mentally exhausted in no time. So, we took turns getting up with him and trying to sleep whenever and wherever we could. I think we passed a few times in the hallway from our bedroom to his bedroom, but those days are mostly a blurr. We did journal those days, writing little notes about what we did for Evan, how long we were up, and even leaving little love notes to each other. At some point, we need to re-read those notes, to see if they even make sense and to remember those challenging days.
After those first two weeks, I had to go back to work. I will admit to you, that was one of the most difficult days of my life. For the first time in my life, I didn't really want to go to work. Please don't misunderstand, I do love my work and I find good fulfillment in what I do. However, compared to raising my son, work pales in comparison. But, there was no choice. Go back to work.
My wife is a school teacher. Due to their generous leave plans, she was able to take off an additional 10 weeks with Evan. I will admit, I was more than jealous that she could do that! By the time I got home in the afternoon until he went to bed, those were hours that was way too short. But, I tried to take advantage of them, spending as much time with him as possible. There was also the 8:00 PM, 10:00 PM, midnight, 2:00 AM, 4:00 AM, and 6:00 AM feedings. I did get to see him at many of those times as well, normally for 30 minutes at a time. But, to be honest, those were not always the most enjoyable of times--or peaceful moments.
Then, at the end of April, my wife had to go back to work. Her leave was up. And, she really wanted to finish out the school year with her school children. We decided that we really did not want to put Evan into childcare so soon. So, the choice was made, I would take paternity leave.
Keep in mind, I have never taken much leave from work. Thankfully, God has given me good health. I am rarely sick. As a matter of fact, I've probably not taken a sick leave day in 20 years. Yes, I am blessed with good health.
So, taking a month off was a shock to my system. Would things fall apart at work without me? Would they need my expert advice and not have me to turn to? Would my boss come to the conclusion that she needed me to be there for an emergency? Would the world fall apart because I was not at work?
Well, who cares! Truthfully, when compared to spending time with Evan, changing his diapers, feeding him, rocking him to sleep, and comforting him with he frets, work simply doesn't appear on my radar screen! Yes, I value my job (especially if you are from my office and reading this). But, work doesn't even come close in comparison to how important these last four weeks have been!
As with most great adventures, reality comes back to bite you.
On Tuesday, I will be returning to work. Am I excited about that? Sure. On one level, yes, I am ready to go back to work, to get back into the mix, and to make whatever contributions God has for me to make. On another level, I will never be ready to go back to work! Never! And I do mean never. I can't really fathom all of the moments I will miss in Evan's life. I can't imagine the smiles I will never see and the joy in his face that I will miss. Just thinking about those things breaks my heart. I will miss the sweet innocent face he has when he wakes up from his naps. I will miss the smile he gives when I first go to wake him up every morning. And, I will miss seeing him splashing in his bath tub.
The good news is that school is now out in Alabama. So, my wife is off work and she will be taking care of Evan during the summer. She is so excited about it! And who can blame her! For the next two and one half months, she will have the greatest and most important adventure of her life.
I really am!
I sure hope the people at work will understand that I might be distracted at work. I don't think I will be able to rush right back in and hit the ground running at full steam. My heart and mind will still be at home, with my wife and little boy.
I just hope, in some small way, he'll remember the days we spent together. While I am smart enough to know that he will never remember those days, I have no doubt that I will always remember them.
So Evan, treasure the moments with your Mommy. She'll take good care of you. She'll love you as much as I did during Daddy Daycare. Just don't expect her to do things the way I did!
After all, she really doesn't like the mohawk hair do I've been known to give you!