Home Run for Me Puts Wife’s Game Into Extra Innings
Our year of weekly blogging about our life and our book, ZagZig Parenting, went by with little celebration on our part, and as I write this blog, I can’t help but reflect on a blog Kori and I wrote last April. You see, it was about this time last year that that I had my annual “boy’s weekend” and our blog that week was all about it. I recently have returned from my 2018 weekend, and want to share my view, as the at-home parent, from my time away.
The basic premise of the weekend story hasn’t changed much. Each year, the weekend before baseball season officially starts, my wife holds down the fort at home so I can escape daily life, play fantasy baseball, drink too much beer, eat too much food, reminisce about all the same old stories and hang out with friends that I get to see once a year. After all these years, it is still one of my favorite events of the year, and, for me, ranks up there with Christmas or family vacations.
This year however, I had a much deeper appreciation for and connection to my family at home. No, they weren’t calling me asking me what to do about the dog not wanting to pee outside, or how to program the remote to turn on the television. My wife has trained the family to leave me alone, and let me have my time away – and I appreciate and love her even more for it.
Perhaps, I was more connected this year, because while I was out of state during Number 4’s dance competition, I could watch his performance via the live stream video. On the other hand, maybe it was because I finally have a better perspective of what my spouse goes through when I am gone.
As I had hours on the road to reach my buddies, I had time to reflect back to all those business trips she was on over the years, when I was the one running the household of six solo. At time it was chaos. If you have read our book, you know what I am talking about.
Over the years we have come to appreciate that with two parents, there is always one to pick up the slack when one parent has lost it after a day of trying to have logical discussions with toddlers and teenagers. I have great respect for single parents who manage and juggle on a regular day, let alone on a day when an adoring child or children have put you over the edge. We love them and can be exhausted by them at the time!
For nearly two decades of frequent business travel by my wife, I was the “at bat” parent for the entire day, multiple days, weekends. After driving four kids, to and from school, after school activities, making and cleaning up dinner, soothing boo boos and feelings, I would have gladly taken a “strike out” and gone to the bench for a reprieve; after all, there is always another chance at bat.
Now that the kids are older, the needs are different. Let’s just agree, however, that everyone needs a bit of a break every once in a while, to reenergize, refuel and hit the ground running.
During my recent trip, I came to appreciate that break even more. I was not away for work. I was away for fun, and for 72 hours, my wife was at bat for all family needs and on deck for any anticipated ones, so that I could disconnect and have some fun.
I have to admit, over the years, it has been easy for me to disconnect and leave it all behind. After all, I knew the kids were in good hands, and I had earned some vacation time. I had even encouraged my wife to take her own girls weekend time away, but she said she travelled so much that any extra time is family time.
Both of us love our family, and we respect that we are a bit different due to our role reversal – each of us wants to escape our “normal” duties for a bit, but in our case, I needed to hang with my buddies and she needed to hang anywhere but her workplace outside the home.
Over the years, I may…or may not… have taken my wife’s time, commitment and energy for granted. Maybe, I left the house without looking back for 72-hour leave, without worrying how or who got where, what they ate or if they had all they needed for the weekend. I may have promised to do a few things that never got done…oops! Come on, it is like a get out of jail free card in the game of monopoly; not that family life is like jail – it is the freedom to do whatever I want – within reason and ethical, morale values -- without reporting into the family, just for a short period of time.
Fortunately, my wife continues to encourage me to go. She knows how important the weekend is to me, my sanity and demeanor. Every year when I come home, I am glad to be back with the family, and I am a better dad for it. It’s time to play ball! Bring on the baseball season, bring on family projects, bring on relationship issues, bring on life. I am ready to ZagZig through another season!