My son, Tobias, has been in Arkansas for the last week, staying with his grandparents. It's not a vacation--or, at least, not merely a vacation. Since the surgery, I've not been strong enough to wrangle him on my own. My wife still has to go to work every day. So he's with people who possess the physical wherewithal to handle a nearly 3-year-old boy.
Truth is, I haven't actively parented Tobias since the surgery. That's five weeks now. And I've discovered something that I'm not quite sure how to understand.
Which is this: Parenthood has apparently changed me. I like having time to read the paper, to sit with coffee, to be alone in my head. These are things I loved before Tobias came along, and missed once he did. But ... I'm no longer really complete with those things.
It's not just the relationship I miss. I miss parenting him. It's hard. It's energy-sapping. It's rage-inducing on occasion. But it's part of my purpose now. He is part of my purpose now.
By the time I get back to full strength, it will be something like three months or more since I've had that active role in his life. That bothers me. There's nothing that can be done about it. I miss my boy. And I miss parenting him. I can hardly believe that.