My son is only three years old, and something strange occurred to me recently. I can’t really remember how I spent most of my free time before I was a dad. It’s odd because I must have had tons of it. Free time that is.
I mean if I think of it, back then I didn’t have to do all the extra maintenance that comes from having a 3 year old boy. Like the extra laundry and dishes and food prep. Similarly I didn’t have to spend my evenings preparing a snack for him the next day, just in time to then participate in his nightly bedtime routine.
Or the time spent running him to kid centered activities, such as birthday parties, soccer practice, and play dates.
As most of you probably know, cleaning up spills, strewn toys, and piles of books, is a constant time drain. None of that existed three and a half years ago for me. Wow, come to think of it, I must have been flush with time to enjoy life’s finer things.
But how exactly did I spend that time?
Again, I can’t really remember. I see shelves in my house lined with books that must have been read. Cabinets full of DVD’s (and yes VHS tapes) that I can recall the plots for. I must have seen them back before I was a dad. Somehow, a couple of houses got remodeled. And there were vacations. I’m fairly certain they were to somewhere sunny.
It’s a fact that I was in better shape before having a child. Of course I was in my 30’s, not my 40’s. I probably spent some of my free time working out.
Being a parent can easily become who you are. What you are all about. In the mean time drowning out memories of who you were before. Sometimes I worry about this happening to me. But not for long. As you can guess, I don’t have the time to dwell on it.
Plus, even though I am not entirely clear on what I did do with all my free time before welcoming my beautiful boy into the world, I know with certainty what I didn’t do.
I didn’t play any laughter infused games of hide and seek. I didn’t teach anyone the finer points of hitting a ball with a bat. I didn’t play Stomp Rockets in my back yard until my legs ached. I didn’t roast marshmallows around a camp fire. I didn’t serve as Mission Control, counting down over and over again for an Astronauts trips to the Moon and beyond. And I didn’t hold my son in my arms and comfort him after he skinned his knee riding his balance bike.
No, I did none of those things with my free time before becoming a father.
But somehow, 10 or 20 years form now, I’m pretty sure these are the things that I will remember.