Saturday, July 26, 2008

The night stretches before me like a record I know by heart

It's 8:30 PM. The Minotaur has gone to a party (The Kraken's recent sleeptime insanity has made it difficult for us to have a sitter). The Kraken is in bed, quiet as a high school computer nerd in the locker room before gym class. And I have the house to myself.

Some of you may have been readers of this blog or its previous incarnation long enough to remember when the Minotaur worked until midnight two nights a week and 9 PM another two, plus all day on Sunday. Those were dark days in our lives, and in our marriage. The schedule was unavoidable at the time, but it meant that 4 days a week I worked all day, picked up the Kraken and took care of her all night by myself. The weekends came, not with a sense of anticipation, but the knowledge that with our one day off together as a family, we would have to try to get everything done that was difficult for me to do without the Minotaur (like, say, take a bath in those early months when the Kraken refused to sleep).

I was resentful about the time I spent managing on my own. The Minotaur was resentful that a work environment he wasn't particularly happy in was causing him to miss the majority of his daughter's life, not to mention pissing off his wife and making her less than pleasant to come home to. And we were both completely exhausted, because in combination with our fabulous schedules came the arrival of the Kraken's monthly ear infections, complete with shrill, sobbing awakenings every two hours until we could get to the doctor, get a diagnosis, and get some antibiotics. When we were both home and awake, all we could do was retreat into our own brains to get a little desperately needed quiet time. Not much time left for actually interacting with each other.

There were times when I wasn't sure I was cut out for parenthood. There were times I was almost sure I wasn't going to stay married. But we talked. And talked, and talked, and talked. And made changes where we could to make our situation more manageable. The Minotaur shifted his schedule so that there were only 3 days he was home so late. And eventually he got another job, one that paid well enough for him to quit the two he had been juggling before. As an added bonus, he actually liked his new job, and is still there to this day.

When he switched to a roughly 9-5 schedule for the first time in our life together, everything changed. He was home every evening. He was home all weekend. We had more time together than we ever had. That too, required a little bit of adjustment. Before, we had to concentrate every bit of togetherness we could into the moments we were together. Now, suddenly, we had more togetherness than we probably needed. Slowly, we learned to be together sometimes, and other times to read books, play video games, watch TV. In other words, have a normal life.

I am immeasurably happier to have the Minotaur at home on a regular basis. But I won't deny that at times, I miss the complete silence that reigns in the house when the Kraken is out for the count, and I am here alone. What shall I do? Another night of Star Trek viewing? Tempting, having just discovered that there are indeed episodes in the first season that I have never seen. Or, a leisurely bath with a book and a glass of wine? Possibly a ridiculously long telephone conversation?

The opportunities are endless. As long as I don't have to leave the house, that is.

1 comment:

devilish southern belle said...

All of those options sound amazing to me! Why not have the phone conversation, then go take your bath with the book and wine, then step out and settle in for the Star Trek viewing?