Work has been rough lately. After a grueling week, and a grueling weekend, I spend Monday night at the office until 2am, had a beer or two, and made it home by 4:50am Tuesday morning. By 11am, I was back at my desk.
When I am working, I am not with my family. Now that's a true enough statement, and my family has other things in their lives than me. My wife has a job, my son has his preschool, but when the time comes daily to converge over dinner, some TV and perhaps a few stories, I miss spending time with them when I cannot. This can't be helped, and it is the sacrifice I have to make, but it is easy to forget that they are making a sacrifice too. When I am not there, they are there without me and notice my abscence.
Tuesday, I came home at the normal time and picked up Chibby from daycare. He'd been in another class and at around 6pm they consolidate the remaining kids with the remaining teachers. this new class had two children in it that were eating cupcakes that hab been handed out prior to Chib's arrival. When I arrived, he had been there long enough to notice, but not long enough to have a fit about it. He was just waiting for someone to offer him one, and no such offer was coming, so my presence was overshadowed. At first I didn't kno what was eating him. Then it finally came out that it was more what he was not eating. Not that he likes cupcakes much, but he likes being offered a treat. I took him out to the car, and by then he'd broken down into crying that he wanted a cupcake.
It was at this point that I decided to exercise my right as a grown-up to be a populist. It had been several days since I'd spent any time with him and he needed comforting. He'd sat around watching the other two kids in the classroom enjoy a nice snack and he felt left out. Maybe it was my imagination, I felt I'd left him out a bit myself lately. I announced that we were going to the cupcake store to get him as many as he wanted. The tears stopped, but were replaced with shock, not happiness. "Really?" I assured him we were going there immediately.
We got to Stop&Shop, a place that has seriously cleaned up their act in the face of COSTCO competition. I took the Chib out of his car seat and decided to carry him to the store. I know he likes being carried, and he's getting pretty heavy, but it had been a while. Rather than just enjoy the ride, he took the opportunity to give me a very tender face-to-face hug, something he is not prone to doing much if at all. It was then that I realized that by carrying him, I wasn't doing him a favor, I was doing me a favor.
I decided to make this a dinner to remember. I know his mom had been feeding him all kinds of Japanese things all week and weekend, so, I thought, we both earned it. Dinner was a hotdog with mustard and kechup, a side of corn, and some doritos and what he calls "shiro bubble omizu" (white bubble water, AKA Sprite). After dinner, I gave him a bath and let him play for quite some time. We went to bed way after his bed time in my bed. His mom was on one side and I was on the other in a king sized bed. My face was a child's arm away from him and as I watched him in the dim light, I smiled without even knowing it. He turned slowly, half asleep and smiled back, and then reached his little hand out, touched my face and fell asleep right before my eyes.
I've been feeding my body lately with things it does not need, but tonight my son fed my soul with something I forgot I'd been missing for quite some time. I gained four pounds this past week, and today I found new inspiration to go back to losing it.