I love my house, but when I’m all alone, it suddenly quadruples in size. I sometimes sit in the furthest corners in the dark and holler a faint ‘hello’ and listen to it reverberate seemingly endlessly through my hallways as if I was in an old empty cathedral. I’m always wishing and always a little bit sad that my three-year-old’s voice doesn’t answer back, I’m right here dad!
I often sit alone staring at the screen savers on my television or computer screen, trying to decide what to do or what to watch, but never actually doing or watching anything. Sometimes I go sit on the couch in Noah’s room and wish there was a mess to clean up or a bed in need of making. Sometimes I wander the halls, looking through all the lifeless rooms of the house and wish for something, anything, to suddenly come to life with the craziness and happiness of a child.
Turns out keeping the house clean is pretty easy when it’s just us because even during the half of the time I have Noah, he’s with me and so doesn’t really mess up the house. In fact, he’s pretty perfect about throwing his clothes into his hamper, putting his toys away, and clearing his dishes when he’s here. Today I found one of his Spider Man action figures lost beyond a child’s reach under the couch and tossed it onto the floor in his room just so that there was something out of place as proof that a child does live here.
I mowed the lawn yesterday by myself. Usually Noah loves to sit on my lap as we take laps around the yard on the riding lawn mower. He loves to push the “reverse button” when it’s time to back up or have his turn steering us straight into walls and trees. I also did the dishes alone, one of his favorite things to help with, and swept and vacuumed all of the floors (also things he loves to help with).
A couple days ago I was dropping him off at his mom’s house, and he said dad, what are you going to do? I said, “I’m going camping with some friends.” He looked at me with eyes the size of tennis balls and said, dad, you *can’t* go camping without me. It about broke my heart the way he said it, and I reminded him that next week we’re going camping together for the whole week. Lots of days, I tell him. We talked about all the fishing, bike riding, and boating we’d be doing in just three more wake-ups. He was content, and so he went to his mom’s and I went camping with friends, and the whole time I was gone, I was wishing he was there with me.
But, I get him back in just a few hours and in the morning we are going camping for lots of days. Lots and lots of days. And this dad is excited.