Monday, August 27, 2012

The First Day of the Rest of Our Lives

As a stay-at-home dad, my only child's first day of kindergarten was almost surreal, a strange mix of emotions ranging from giddy exultation to moody navel-gazing. He's gone from this:

to this:

in what also seems simultaneously like a blink of an eye and an eternity. This parenthood gig is stranger than anyone would ever be able to make anyone else believe with just words. There's so much you can't know until you know it.

It was a grand day. Aerie worked from home so that she could be there for drop-off and pick-up. He was confident and excited and walked to his classroom with an elbows-up swagger that looked like this:

We hugged and kissed him and said our goodbyes. He shed no tears and was happy to see the back of us, but he didn't even mind all the pictures. Next year he almost certainly will. Aerie managed to hold off her tears until we were outside the school.

We came home and, of course, immediately posted pictures to Facebook, like all parents with kids in school. Then I ran a load of laundry while working on a database project. When I began to fold the laundry, including Thumper's clothes that seem simultaneously tiny and, compared to those little onesies of days gone by, huge. That was when the emotions finally caught up with me, sitting in the utterly silent house folding the little big man's clothes.

It was just as surreal how quickly the day flew by. I did too few chores, accomplished too few work objectives, and utterly relaxed through a pleasantly surprising (first-time!) acupuncture appointment, which added even more weirdness to the day. I tried it to see if it could help some of my allergies and respiratory difficulties, but when I mentioned some shoulder pain, the acupuncturist immediately resolved in about 30 seconds of manipulating needles in my shins the shoulder pain that physical therapy and 3 or 4 years of exercises have not been able to touch. I can raise my arms above my head without sharp pain in my shoulders for the first time in years. Because of needles in my shins. Weird.

Wait, what was I talking about again? Oh yeah. End of an era and whatnot. I'm not sure what the future holds for a full-time stay-at-home dad who no longer has to watch a kid full-time. I'm not rushing back into the full-time workforce, though. Aerie and I agree that there is value to having me available, with an early afternoon school release and with all of the sick days, teacher work days, vacation days, and holidays that will come up over the course of the school year, and with the opportunities to volunteer at the school that will also arise. Timing has worked out well with some additional database projects appearing at just the right time through my part-time employer, and there may, with an extra stress on may, be some full-time employment opportunities for me on the horizon. So I'm staying put, biding my time, and waiting to see what happens.

But still, it does sort of feel like Thumper and I, we're walking into the sunset on this whole grand stay-at-home dad adventure.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Working with What You Got

It's been a month since I blogged, and I really should push that whole inappropriate hotel nudity thing off the top spot. I'm not writing much because my life is in a regular rhythm right now where not much new happens, and I'm not pondering so much the meaning of what I do. I've been doing it for five years, and I'm comfortable with who and where I am.

One thing that I've learned is that much for which I plan ahead never comes to pass. Maybe some of that planning helps make a foundation on which Thumper can build, but mostly, he likes what he likes and learns what he learns independent of me and my plans. I am not sculpting him as much as I thought I would when he was still an infant to whom I thought I would teach everything, including crawling. No, I'm more of an observer and a safety net, letting him go into deeper water, but still standing nearby in case he needs a hand.

Thumper is on the verge of Kindergarten, which will bring big and mostly unknown changes to all of our lives, but through the end of the summer, we're playing and making friends, swimming (a lot), riding bikes (without training wheels!), and going to the gym. I'm working toward the TriRock Triathlon (Sprint Distance), swimming laps, running, and riding my bike when I can. I'm still stuck in old dietary bad habits and not losing as much weight as I'd like, but I'm feeling mostly OK with that. I'll keep trying, but I'm not berating myself too much for my weaknesses.

Most times that I run on the treadmill, this song pops up and it always brings a smile to my face and an extra bounce to my stride. The video is a little bizarre and has nothing to do with how I feel about  the song ("Work With What You Got" by Socalled), but this is where I am right now, just working with what I've got.

Oh, and as long as I'm posting videos of my good time happy treadmill songs, there's also "The Golden Age" by The Asteroids Galaxy Tour:

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