Do you remember the movie “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray? I feel like my life has turned into a cruel and twisted version of that since I’ve gone back to work.
In the film, a jaded weatherman has to relive the same day over and over until he gets it right. In real life, I returned to work this week and I’m forced to live the same day over and over until I get it right . . . or at least until the weekend comes.
Every day, it’s the longest eight hours of my life. From the minute I get there, I find myself counting the minutes until I get to go home to Luke and Bex. “What are you smiling about David?” “I only have seven hours and thirty-two, correction, thirty one minutes” until I get to go home.” “Geez. And I thought it was too early to think about lunch”
I’m a bit of a work-a-holic. Not by choice, not really. Its like I have a perverted sense of duty. Who’s going to be there if I’m not? Someone’s got to do it, so it might as well be me. I’ll thank myself for this on payday. Before Luke was born, I was pulling a lot of six day weeks, collecting plenty of overtime. Then he arrived and I spent a month at home taking care of my family. Guess what? Work went on without me. The gears didn’t grind to a halt. And I was happier and more relaxed than I had been in years. There’s a lesson to be learned in there somewhere.
When paternity leave ended, I promised Bex and Luke that things would be different. I would work my eight hours, five days a week, and be home in time to eat the delicious dinner Bex has made for me. What? It’s not like she’s doing anything all day. That promise lasted, a day, maybe two. I quickly fell back into those old habits. Overtime is ok for this ONE week. We need the money. An extra day? Sure no problem. I must have SUCKER written on my forehead.
Because of that, I haven’t felt like the best Dad. Sometimes, I don’t feel like much of a Dad at all. I know I’m not missing out on major milestones but it’s the little day to day stuff, the bonding that I feel left out of because I have to leave every day.
Coming this winter to a theatre near you – “Groundhog Dad” Starring David Gaygen. He gets up, goes to work every day, and even though all he thinks about is his wife and kid, he comes home and falls asleep. He’s forced to live this same nightmare over and over until he gets it right.
Then the weekend comes and Luke never leaves my arms. We read the collected works of Dr. Seuss. So far, Luke’s favorite is “The Lorax”. He giggles every time that guy “Speaks for the trees”, but maybe that’s because I used my Harvey Fierstein impression for that one.
We also enjoy watching “The Great British Baking Show” together while sharing a bottle. He agrees with me that Mary Berry is a fox. Just don’t tell Bex. She’d never let me, I mean, Luke watch it again.
Round out our short time together with some walks to the park, a few guitar sing-alongs, and that’s pretty much our weekend. And before you know it, I’m trapped in “Groundhog Dad” mode again.
I must have finally gotten my day right because yesterday, something amazing happened. In one of those rare, once in a lifetime moments, Bex was able to bring Luke to see me at work.
Now this isn’t my every day job, which is why I think I finally broke the “Groundhog Dad” curse. Once a year, I get to bring some Christmas cheer to a whole lot of people. I could describe it but I think it’s better to show you. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Old Saint Nick was very happy to see Bex and Luke. He assured them that they were both on the top of the nice list. As for presents, Luke requested anything he could put in his mouth and Bex wished for a full night’s sleep. I hate to tell her but there are some things even Santa’s magic can’t touch.
If I had been there, wink wink, nudge nudge, then I would have asked Santa for a stay-at-home gig. Preferably one that lets me play with Luke in the morning and take naps in the afternoon. Oh, and it needs to pay like a million dollars a year. Is that to much to ask for Santa? I didn’t write myself into the Nice List for nothing, right? I am on the Nice List? Ya know what Santa, have your people call my people, we’ll work something out.
Newly freed from the curse of “Groundhog Dad”, I am optimistic that every day will get easier. I’ll cut back at work, we’ll find a rhythm at home, and I won’t be too tired to play peek-a-boo every night. Then maybe some of this guilt will go away. At least Bex is still home with him.
Wait! When does she go back to work?