I’m having what’s known as a personal crisis. Since you’re human, I’m pretty sure you can relate. It all started when I read a father’s blog post about his wife going back to work. I found myself leaving this comment: “It gets easier, I promise.”
Afterward, I thought about the lie I’d just told. It doesn’t get easier—at least for me it hasn’t. If you want to spend time with your child and your situation doesn’t allow for that, you will contemplate calling in sick every day. You will cry in your car on the way to work. You might even consider letting your house go into foreclosure so you can see your child more.
It hurts more than anything has hurt before. You might find comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Or you might find comfort in copious amounts of alcohol.
This July, I’ll have been back at work for two years. That’s a lot of wine. When I first went back, Chuck hugged me on a daily basis and said, “I miss Junior, too. This is temporary.”
In December 2009, Chuck got laid off. He still hugged me, but now that he was a stay-at-home dad, he said, “I’m taking Junior to the children’s museum today.”
I bit my tongue. I stopped myself from saying, “Must be nice.” The poor man had just lost his job. Did he really need guilt on top of despair?
Even though I blogged about it, and wished he would get run over, a resentful tongue can only be restrained for so long before it thrashes out of your mouth and takes on a life of its own. I found myself saying crummy things to Chuck. He retreated. The more he burrowed, the more I unleashed. In a relationship, this is known as “Your yin is killing my yang.”
Over the next year, Chuck had job leads here and there, but nothing panned out. The industry he’s in—event planning—tanked. One of his former laid-off coworkers just took a job in bug extermination. Understandably, Chuck’s dealing with his own issues.
So here we are. Two people with issues. And now the weather is getting nicer and there are fun things to do, like look for seashells on beaches and picnic in the sun and take long hikes in the woods. And I feel like this last year is the equivalent of a Cialis-induced hard-on—you know, the ones that last longer than they’re supposed to?
I’m ready for a change. My inner wiener is ready to boff the crap out of change and finally assume a satisfied, flaccid position. I want my post coital cigarette.
But more importantly, I want to behave better. I mean, you know you’re acting like an asshole when your fortune cookie says this:
That’s right: "Avoid compulsively making things worse."
That was my fortune today. Jesus.
So to Chuck, I’m so sorry. You’re doing a wonderful job as a father. This situation isn’t your fault. You didn’t ask to be laid off. You didn’t cause the housing market or event planning industry to nose-dive. I hope I haven’t tainted your time with Junior. I hope when you look back you think of it as a special time in your life instead of the Era of Mrs. Mullet’s Wrath. My friends tell me I have Heather’s moments, and they only see me once in a a while. Living with me must be somewhat frightening sometimes. I’m going to work on that.
I hope you keeping hugging me. Not the kind of hugs where you pretend to hump my leg. But the kind of hugs that let me know you forgive me for over-attacking this situation in the way that a Wooly Mammoth might attack a one-legged, 90-year-old bunny rabbit.
I'm a Capricorn, but I'll do better. I promise.