Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Back in the Saddle Again

The title suggests, I think, that this entry is about work. And it should be. As a journal of days and events, the blog begs mention of the first day back full-time at work after months of leave, a day of gradual acceleration into the usual frenetic pace of my vocation, a pace I hadn't felt since last June, before summer vacation, before a Fall term with a 2/3 contract and a 1/3 leave, an exhausting happy time.

Had I tried to write this from work, perhaps the truth would, after all, be in the details.

But I came home tired, and she was already asleep; I can't turn on the lights to watch her sleep without waking her. And I thought today was the first day since the birth of my daughter that I spent less than an hour in her presence; today was the day that things might never be as good as they have been.

And so for a while, I stared at the idiot box, exhausted. Something was on TV. I microwaved something from a takeout container and I ate it standing up. I wandered a stranger in my own home. I was angry, frustrated, jealous: at myself, for having a job that I love and won't give up that takes me away from my daughter; at the institution, which knowingly overworks us but makes excuses for it rather than doing something about it; at my daughter, who needed to sleep when I finally had time for her; at my wife, who got to spend time with the baby while I sat reading the comics in an empty room just because a student or teacher might come in and need my help.

Look, dear reader, dear self, whomever the blog reaches, whomever cares. I'm sorry for the mess. I feel like I have lost my eloquence, and while emotion without eloquence may be okay for some blogs, it just doesn't feel like me.

Postscript: Love Conquers All

I was writing the above words, and about to hit the "Post & Publish" button. Darcie came and took me by the hand, and pulled me out of my chair. She gently led me to our bed, and nudged me to lie down in the dark, next to Willow. There, I watched my child until my eyes began to adjust to the darkness, until her lips and cheeks and chin became distinct parts of her. I accepted her, and my position in her life, what I had to do and what I want to do, and how those might not be the same thing sometimes. I cried on her, and let her sleep. I tried to let go of all my selfishness and need, to remember that Willow's life isn't for me but for her, to be grateful for the time I have with her, and promised myself to keep working, but to keep missing her all the time and working hard to be with her when I can, anything and everything I can do and more, so she could have everything she needs, so that she can grow into the fulfillment of her secret heart.

And then I turned to my wife, and was about to thank her for bringing me to that better place, and for seeing my need. And you know, before I had a chance to say a thing, she thanked me for going to work every day, for making it possible for her to have time with her child at home during the day, for coming home eager to share my time with them, for missing them when I must be away. For my shortcomings and my guilt, for breaking down and being sorry and missing them, for my anger. For what I want to be, and what I am willing to sacrifice for all of us. For my tears.

Look, sometimes love is a mess. Sometimes I have hurt people I loved, hurt them bad, hurt them maliciously or unawares. And sometimes, many times, I have been hurt myself.

But although I am more than anything else a bumbling fool, when I am with the woman I love I am a miracle. For although my shell remains the goofball of the bathroom mirror my reflection in her eyes shows me the fulfilment of all the promise I have in me. If you ever find a partner like mine, who loves you for who you can be and can make you be that you; who knows your needs when you cannot, and can lead you to your own resolutions gently, lovingly, with care and confidence...then never ever do them wrong, and keep them forever in your heart, for you have found an angel. And although it is presumptuous to think that you can tame or keep an angel, remember that as long as your angel loves you, you will have the love of an angel...and that is sustenance enough for even the most broken and selfish of us.

I guess I'll go back to work tomorrow after all. But this time, I'll bring pictures off my girls -- both of them, wife and daughter.

My cup runneth over.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:48 PM |

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