Need Some Space

I just knocked out about seven hundred words on a new Dispatch. Well maybe this one isn’t a Dispatch, maybe it is just a short story. Already it is 3,000 something words long and I’ve only gotten to the first reveal. But what ever it is, it is fun, and I’m enjoying writing it.

That said, what I wanted to talk about today has more to do with parenting. This week has been a challenge for me. Tess has been in Ohio all week solving software problems. I’ve stayed at home with the little guy and the dog. As the days have progressed I’ve found myself wanting for even a little time alone. Time to myself.

Aral has been doing his best to be a three year old. And most often that means that Dad gets absolutely no time to himself. For instance, yesterday I crawled through 283 words of this story that should have written themselves. While he is at school today, I breezed through nearly a thousand in the same amount of time and with this blog post I’ll likely double that word count before I need to go pick him up and feed him lunch. Clearly I am not as effective as a writer when I’m distracted by parenting responsibilities.

Aral has recently started asking to do things independently. For this I’m super glad, but often he wants me to watch him doing these things on his own. I get to play audience, but Thor help me if I offer to help. Today he put on his own shoes — three times — before we made it into the car. I patiently watched him put the same pair of shoes on each time, commenting only about what a good job he did all on his own.

Friday is here, Tess is on a plane back to the Puget Sound, and the pair of us have made it through yet another week. I’m a pretty proud Daddy most of the time and while my parenting has a palpable impact on my writing I am super glad that I get the opportunity to do this. Yesterday, after a particularly challenging parental situation (kids arguing over toys) Aral walked over to a sign hanging on the wall of the coffee shop and said “Dad, that’s an ‘E’.” Later in the day he was knocking out letters I’m certain we haven’t yet covered. The whole time I’m standing there in awe saying “Fuck yea” to myself because he’s three and I get to appreciate his accomplishments vicariously.

So yeah, I need a little time to myself, but I get to give him my time and attention, and feel that much better for it. Right now, Aral is teaching me a new kind of patience. Often I have to delay my own gratification for extended periods of time. The pay-off, however, is amazing.

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