Without going into any specifics, I can say that work has been incredibly busy and incredibly demanding these past few months. My job has kept me in the office longer. It's eaten up more of my weekends. It's made sure that after the work day is done, and after I trudge home across the Valley and scarf down a quick dinner, I've gone to my study and continued to plug away until after WonderWife™ went to sleep. I'm not complaining about it. I very much like my work and I know that at this moment in time, I'm lucky to have a job.
What's so hard about these times, aside from the mental and physical toll of working so much, is how it affects my family. The absence that it creates because I'm not there.
I'll be at the office, watching the clock move closer and closer to 6:30, which is the latest I can leave if I am going to be able to see the Bean before he goes to sleep. I've been missing that deadline a lot these days, and when I do I will call home.
"Am I going to see you, Daddy?" he asks with a hopeful lilt in his voice
"No buddy," I say. "I'm still at the office."
The sound of his disappointment is crushing. "Why?"
This is a really valid and reasonable question, by the way. But one that cannot be answered so that a 4 year-old will understand.
I feel the worst for WonderWife™. When I'm not around to be a parent, there's nobody else but her. And I've been through enough battle of the wills with Sprout to know what a soul-draining experience it can be. I know that WW™ takes up a lot of slack when I'm working so much. The tough part about her job is that when I'm on the clock, she's on the clock. This is always front and center on my mind when my days, weeks and months get crazy.
Not that either of us would change anything. We both have the lives we wanted.
I'm in the home stretch of this busy period now. I know I can make it. And I'm really looking forward to a break in the action. Because I don't like coming home after the kids are asleep. I don't like not being able to curl up on the couch with my wife. Right now I feel a little lonely, a little isolated from the ones that I love.