A mile in and I kept looking back. I was having little panic attacks because I thought I had forgotten one of my kids, that maybe my 3 year old got taken by a mountain line or a troll, trolls are bastards. But I would look back and see no kids. I would see nothing but the hiking trail behind me. Not even troll prints back there. Just me, by myself, in the woods. I would turn back to look in front of me and within 5 minutes I would look back again pretty much out of habit. After 10 years, you get in this groove that if you can't see your kid then someone is probably getting thrown in a river.
Not today though, today is just me. It's weird, really weird. And for some reason slightly uncomfortable. I'm not really sure why, but it is. Sometimes change happens gradually and sometimes it happens at an exact moment. This is my exact moment, in the woods with no kids.
The two older kids have gone back to school now, summer is over. They were sad and to be honest, so was I. I am not one of those parents that can't wait for school to get back in. I'm the opposite actually. I spend so much time over the summer doing things with them, big and small adventures, that I miss it when it's gone. We saw the worlds biggest overalls this summer. And the worlds biggest painted shamrock and the worlds largest covered wagon. The kids make things more fun. An art museum is pretty cool but when you add kids it becomes way more exciting. Will they attempt to break a 400 year old painting? Can I get to them before they rip it off the wall? Where in the hell did they get the cheetohs from? It's like extreme sports for parenting. Have I turned into an adreline junkie after 10 years?
But I'm pretty used to them going back. My daughter starts 5th grade and I'm sure the girl drama is coming because that's what they do. I've had to handle some of it in the past and everyone tells me it's going to get worse. The tween years are going to be tough which scares me because I know the teen years are going to be a god damn nightmare.
My son goes into 3rd grade and he is excited to learn more math. He's been practicing in his head he tells me. Then he asks me why an octopus has 8 arms. Then he starts talking about minecraft. This is an 8 year old boy in a nutshell, no train of thought ever logically moves to the next one. It's a random statement of fact followed by a completely unrelated question. A narwhal has a horn and why are the tires on cars black. I've gotten used to it so much that I will often do the same when he's not here. I miss my boy.
But this year, this year the changes are really coming. My youngest, Bacon Hoss, has started preschool. 3 years old and he gets shipped off twice a week. I pick him up in the late afternoon. So now, for the first time in 10 years, I've got some serious time on my hands and I'm not sure how I am going to react.
Drop off did not go well. He cried, I cried, Hossmom cried, he punched me, I left. It's a very up and down relationship. I knew that this was coming and I knew that I probably wouldn't handle it well. Twice before I've had to do this and the adjustment period takes some time for me. Am I even a stay at home dad anymore? Have I abandoned my child to the cruel world? Is it to quiet and is it ok if that makes me feel uncomfortable? I'm not really sure what to do with myself.
So I decided that in the short term here I'm going to go get lost in the woods and fight bugs and trolls if I can find those little buggers. I'm going to spend some time with my thoughts which are trending on the "why am I such a loser dad" side at the moment. I wasn't ready for the little panic attacks and mannerisms though, like constantly thinking that I've lost one of the kids because I don't hear them walking behind me.
By my 3rd mile I've given up looking behind me and I am now trying to think positive. What can I do with my extra time now? Hossmom suggested writing and cleaning house. I suggested napping. We will meet in the middle somewhere, I will write about napping. Then I will take a nap. But napping can only take up so much time, right? And eventually, I'll clean enough that I don't need to clean anymore. Ha. We all know that's crap, we are slobs.
I could get a job. That would be good, yeah? I mean, it's been 8 years since I quit working, time to go back? By mile 4 I decide that we probably shouldn't rush that part just yet. I got lost for a little bit back there thinking about that so obviously we need to table that train of thought or I'll never make it home in time to do..........
To do something. I'm not sure what but I have planned to give my self the month of September to figure it out. There are a crap ton of house projects to be done but I'm not sure how it will go without a child throwing screws under the fridge, it's kind of our thing now. I could start blogging again, get some practice going before taking it further? I like that idea, let's do that. That way I can nap, write, clean, be home when the kids get out of school. I like that. I have time to decide though, lots of things to try out before the month is out and I make some decisions. Like seeing a movie at 10 am. I bet that is cool.
And day drinking. I should start day drinking as soon as I get done with getting lost and looking for my children.
I don't think this transition is going very well at the moment.