Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I'm going to be selfish, and that's OK.

I had an "I'm a bad, selfish dad" moment on the walk home from dropping Theo at his 2-morning-per-week school.

It was supposed to be school pictures, but because they take the pics outside and the weather was threatening, we found out when we arrived that they rescheduled. Then it hits me ... they rescheduled when kid and I will be on a roadtrip west for him to spend time with Grandma and Grandpa while I get a long weekend of R&R and booze with college buddies.

In addition, I realized that this Monday is Columbus Day, and therefore he'll be missing school for two full weeks out of this month when it's all said and done.

So on my walk home, I started wondering to myself, is it really fair of me to make him miss so much school just because I want some time to myself and I don't like to fly? He loves going to school, we're paying for it, and the class is so small that he'll probably be missed by the other kids. We already missed a week last month so I could help some friends while one of them had surgery.

Plus I was really looking forward to having the school pictures of him. I love the shirt he was wearing and can't get enough pictures of him in it. I started thinking, maybe I can still get a flight for that afternoon AFTER school. Heck, that way he'd only have to miss one day, because I could get home quicker than we could driving. And sure, It would cost a whole lot more than the car trip will, but why waste the day and a half in the car, when he could have that time to be with his friends... and ... and ... and...

And then it hit me: WHAT ON EARTH AM I THINKING??? When exactly did I lose my fucking mind and turn into the guilt-ridden parent who can't keep the needs of his family versus the needs of the individuals in the family in the proper perspective?

HE'S TWO. HE'S TWO. HE'S TWO! He goes to school SIX HOURS a week and mostly it's just playtime. I myself have one or two memories, tops, from that early in my life and from talking to other folks I suspect I'm above average in that department. If his two-year-old, two-day-per-week preschool ends up being a long-treasured part of his life or mine, then that isn't cute or sentimental, THAT IS A PROBLEM.

Plus, as a two-year-old, he's still about the most perfectly selfish being on Earth. He doesn't know "fair" any better than he knows how to take a crap in the toilet. I'm the one in charge of enforcing "fair" around here, and it isn't very fair that it's been two years since I had a break from him of more than a few hours.

He'll never know he missed a thing, and even if he does remember, he should remember that his primary role model wanted to do something other than cook, clean and read Dr. Seuss all day, every day, for months at a time.

So I'm going to be selfish and not apologize. I'll take a picture of him in his cute shirt when he gets home from school today.


LindaWright said...

I love your writing style! And, you are right on track - you need to be a little selfish so you CONTINUE to be the best dad Theo can have.
Get my address info from Jim and Michelle - if you guys ever need a layover spot while "out West", you can park it here for a night. My roommate and I have extra rooms ready for occupancy.
Take care on your trip.
Jim's mom, Linda.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Linda. See you soon.Mom

Anonymous said...

OMG I am so glad not to be the only one, and not just the women who feel guilty. What is up with this fall break stuff anyway? I feel terrible saying this but I am so ready for them to go back to school so our schedule goes back to normal and they aren't bouncing off the walls.

-- Meredith

Thomas Litchford said...

I have the selfish dad feeling most mornings. I wake up slow. I require coffee and the news. Sean has taken to walking up to me, taking my hand, and leading me away from the computer to play with him.