Back to “normal”

April 6, 2010

As Bruce Cockburn memorably sang: The trouble with “normal” is it always gets worse.

Some folks know that for the past six months or so I have been on paternity leave, spending my days with our little daughter instead of at my little desk.  It has been a wonderful time in many, many ways.  I don’t know that I have ever been so happy.  During our time together she has been slowly learning to walk, learning to recognize words, learning to drop toys into the toilet, and generally bringing joy to me and to her mother.  I never knew that being a father would be so great.

This period of paternity leave has been the first time since I was a child that I didn’t have to get up in the morning and go somewhere, whether to school or to work, and I was not sure how well I would adapt to it.  I had heard from some dads that they found paternity leave difficult because they didn’t have their work to give them focus and keep them busy.  I wondered if I would have the same difficulty.  I didn’t.  I do believe that I could easily take another six months, or six years for that matter.  But then our family would have to move out of our current home and live under a bridge.

And so today I have returned to work, ceding the care of our darling dear to hired hands.  It is an upsetting change.  I have always been opposed to the practice of parents farming out their kids so that they can pursue their “careers”.  In our case, however — and no doubt in a great many other cases too — it is not financially feasible for us to have only one income, so our hand is forced.  I am really going to miss seeing our little one’s gap-toothed smile and goofy antics each day, but at least she will have a warm, dry place to sleep at night, with no trolls to frighten her.

Anyway, this heart-breaking song has been running through my head all day.

Gillian Welch – Tall Buildings

9 Responses to “Back to “normal””

  1. Janet Says:

    Wow, that was sad. You’re link didn’t work, but I wanted to share your sadness badly enough to go look for it. 😉


  2. cburrell Says:

    Which link didn’t work? The audio one? I just tried it, and it works for me. Strange.

    Sorry to be so dour. I am feeling a little better today.

  3. Janet Says:

    Well, returning to work after 16 years of homeschooling wasn’t any great joy. I understand how you feel.


  4. Reg Says:

    The link didn’t work for me either but I ended up purchasing the song. That’s very cool how much you enjoyed your time together. All of my babies arrived while I owned a small business so I didn’t get to take off more than half a day. We were privileged to be able to have Darcie stay with them though. When our youngest entered grade 1, Darcie went full time to university and now the kids miss the oven-fresh chocolate chip cookies waiting for them after school and they are so happy on the days I’m working at home, even though I segregate myself in my office.

    You can look forward to many more opportunities to give of your time, finances, love, and delight! It is amazing to me how many chances they have also given me to grow in all of the ways that make us better and give life meaning. I heard a talk once that explored just how frequently the scriptures use the parent-child relationship to explain God’s relationship with us. Once I had children, the ambiguity of certain passages disappeared. Deuteronomy 32, for example: “He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions.”

  5. cburrell Says:

    Thanks for that, Reg. You are right that we will still have many opportunities to show our love for her. Christ taught us to call God our “Father”, and I have thought about that a lot over the past year: my relationship with her will affect her relationship with Him.

    I do not understand why the link does not work. It works fine for me. Can you see this sad-sack homepage at all? The same server hosts the linked music file.

  6. Janet Says:

    Doesn’t work for me. Might be our computers at work, though. I’ve been having trouble opening some other things, too.


  7. cburrell Says:

    I think I have figured out the problem. The folks who host my website migrated me to a new server, and it fell to me to update the nameservers with my domain name registrar, which I, of course, failed to do in a timely manner. I have done it now, and it should start working again in a few hours. Then the music will play!

  8. Rufus McCain Says:

    I don’t know. Living under a bridge might be a fair trade-off. I’ve considered it, too.

  9. cburrell Says:

    Thanks, Rufus. It’s good to hear from you; I’m sorry that I didn’t see your comment earlier. It’s been that kind of week. Your commiseration is much appreciated.

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