Saturday, August 2, 2008

"Single" life

It's often easy to look at your life and imagine how much better things would be if they were different. Case in point for me is writing time. I am very happily married, and I love being a father, but it's hard not to fantasize about how much writing time I used to have.

Before Amber, and then Coraline came into my life, I wrote almost every night. Finding time was effortless. I never had to leap into action at the smallest slice of time. I could wind up in a leisurely way, read to feed my imagination, watch a movie and still have hours to work.

But sometimes life sends us reminders that such fantasies about how perfect life would be are exactly that--fantasy.

Amber and Coraline are visiting family in Montana for a week (they'll be back on Tuesday, so we're most of the way through). As you'd expect, this has given me tons of writing time, and I've grabbed hold with both hands, writing with the nifty fountain pen Amber bought me until my thumb aches. If anything, I'm even more productive than I used to be since now I'm far more accustomed to simply sitting down and starting without lead-time.

But what's easy to leave out in that wistful fantasy picture is the just how dry and dull life is without my family. Having Amber around gives me the chance to hang out every day with my favorite person. Simple conversation and household activities take on a whole extra dimension with her, and it's amazing how much of a gap it leaves when that's absent.

And Coraline... although I "knew" before we had her how she would wind her way into my heart, I could never have imagined how much I'd miss her. With Amber I can chat on the phone and get some snippet of normalcy, but that doesn't work with a baby. There's such a huge gap not being able to hold her, tickle her, bathe her, not to see her bright eyes track mine or a smile flourish on her cute, pudgy cheeks.

The "bachelor" fantasy somehow misses those parts of the equation, but sitting here now I know the truth. As much as I love writing, as great as it is to devote time to it, there are more important things. I can't wait for Tuesday to arrive.