Come Home Daddy, Come Home
By the time I get to the end of a work day I'm usually pretty cooked. I usually don't stumble until the very end of the day, the last half hour or so. I think most of it comes from the emotional let down that reaching the end of the day means. All day long I've got my guard up, my adrenalin going, and my defenses ready for whatever onslaught they might face, but at the very end of the day the cracks in my armor appear to even the casual observer, and I fade. By the time I get home I've usually found myself a headache, or I realize that I haven't eaten all day. When I walk in the door I'm ready for a quiet chance to regroup and build myself back up for the evening, the problem is I never get that chance. Most parents don't, I imagine. The difference, I guess, is the emotional nature of my day, and the absolute lack of any opportunity to take care of myself all day...no breaks, no lunch, no time to breathe before the next situation finds me. I don't notice how exhausted I am, or even feel the stress and strain of all those stories until I punch the clock on my way out, then it all kind of floods over the wall that I've built for myself all day long. By the time I get home I'm useless.
Then a little girl runs to the back door to greet me, and there are hugs, and there are kisses, and often enough there is a tug at my hand to come play. So we color, or play with her animals or just chase each other around, and I forget that my head hurts, and that I'm tired, and that I haven't eaten all day. I remember quickly enough, but for a few minutes, sometimes more, I don't feel much at all except thankful that my life is perfect while others are not. I don't need holidays to tell me that. There's a smiling littl girl who reminds me every tired, troublesome day.
I think I'll keep her forever, if that's okay with you.