Weddings, births, deaths, graduations, new jobs. All momentous events worthy of celebrating. These major life transitions either mark the beginning or end of an era.
However, many milestones pass largely unremarked. Time doesn’t pause and say, “Hey, pay attention! This isn’t going to happen again!” There are no warnings like, “Yo! Only three more weeks left of this!”
For example, it could be a job we had with awesome co-workers that we didn’t realize how awesome they were until someone moved on. Maybe we were on a team on which we didn’t realize how well all the players had bonded until a few dropped off and new ones came on board. Perhaps, it’s a regular pickup basketball with friends that suddenly stops comes together.
These moments we didn’t see coming to an end can hit you strangely after you realize they have passed. However, I see one on my horizon.
It will be the day I’m no longer able to take my kid everywhere with me.
From flexible work to a ‘normal’ 9-to-5
For six years as our family’s primary caregiver, I’ve had my son with me: in the backseat, in my arms, on my shoulders, holding his hand everywhere.
He’s been with me to several hundred home showings for my real estate job, which allows me flexibility in work hours. He’s been to well over 100 closing appointments in his short lifetime. That kid has put in probably a couple thousand hours at my offices.
Then, of course, there’s the many visits to parks, museums, libraries and grocery stores we’ve shared as well as all those smoothie lunches.
My son goes from half-day kindergarten to full-day first grade in the fall. I’m looking at getting a “normal” 9-to-5 job when this happens.
I’m just going to be a regular Joe. Dropping my kid off at school, going to work, going home. He’s going to be just a regular kid, going to school, going home.
What I’m losing in this deal is my sidekick and my “freedom.” Losing my somewhat special status as an at-home dad.
Gone will be our lazy mornings of French toast at 10 a.m. No more smoothie lunches after the library or park. No more spontaneous trips to matinees to watch the latest kids’ movie. So long, spontaneous camping trips. No more optional bed times because now we both have some place to be in the morning.
Sometimes, life transitions to the better
I say this now. I’ve had my doubts over the past six years. There have been many moments when I’ve felt weighed down being the primary caretaker. Ego and envy has sometimes gotten the better of me. My natural desire to always be a provider for my family has battled with my full-time responsibilities for my son’s well-being. Career ambitions curtailed, recognition delayed.
Of course, I’m only looking at the negative.
There’s an exciting adventure ahead for both of us. My son’s going to learn a whole lot of things, and meet new friends. With him at school during the day, I can change my work hours so I don’t have to have so many showings and listing appointments on nights and weekends. This will give us more distraction-free time together.
This next phase, it’s going to be absolutely fantastic. Though I felt I had to take some time to observe and mourn the end of this part of my life, in hindsight, they were some of my best years. I just didn’t fully recognize it while I was living them.