The approach of summer reminds me of the great idea my wife and I had last year of sending our 6-year-old son to French camp. Five days of French cultural immersion would be enormously beneficial, teaching him to wear berets and make pithy observations in a language his parents barely know.
I vividly recall the scene at the end of that first day of camp, when I arrived to find only the receptionist in the normally bustling lobby. “The kids are upstairs,” she told me. “There are only two of them.” People were coming through the door behind me, and when I turned I suddenly realized it was my ex-wife and her mother, two people with whom I’d barely communicated for the better part of a decade. We exchanged awkward embraces and a few actual words along the lines of “What the . . . !” My ex was there to pick up her son — the only other child enrolled in the extended-day portion of this obscure French camp. Soon the boys appeared with their teacher. My ex-wife was in a hurry, and my son was peppering me with questions, like “How do you know her?”
A HUSBAND DISCOVERS THE HIDDEN DANGERS OF A GUEST ROOM.
I’m not a guy who needs a house with lots of fancy accoutrements. I don’t long for a giant screen TV. A leather Barcalounger. A high-end wet bar, with my very own bartender named Misty. I’m simpler than that. All I need is a kitchen, a living room, a dining room, and about six bedrooms. And a workshop, where I can store my tools and occasionally make a birdhouse or a life-sized replica of the statue of David. Plus a garage to store spare wood and bike parts in. This way, if I ever find a free moment, one of these spaces is bound to be vacant, and I can fill it.
COULD I PERSUADE MY WIFE TO GIVE ME LEAVE FROM THE FAMILY FOR A WEEKEND WITH MY BUDDIES?
As a married father of two children under 5, I have several key responsibilities in the family, none more important than simply showing up each day. There is a designated spot for me in the bed beside my wife, and I’m pretty sure she’d notice if I failed to park there one night. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t fantasized about skipping town with some friends for a few days. So when a buddy sent out an excited e-mail just after Jim Rice was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and pitched a trip to
THANKS TO MY WIFE, I'M STILL OUT ROCKIN' (EVERY NOW AND THEN).
I recently decided that my wife’s dislike of my brand of rock music is a really good thing for our marriage. I know this seems counterintuitive. What if your spouse bonked her head and suddenly declared she loved beer? Or golf? Would this spell marital disaster? Of course not! Unless, that is, giddiness over your newly shared pastimes drove you to liquidate all your possessions and bribe your way into some private golf club that also brews its own beer.
But golf is not the frenetically-spewed funk/rock/blues experience that I enjoy so much, which is almost always had at night. Often, late at night. This is one of the few times of day when finding a sitter to deal with our kids is virtually impossible. It’s also when most parents in their mid-forties like us are home recovering from hectic workday and child-rearing responsibilities. My wife does not recover from her busy day by packing herself in tight quarters with people she doesn’t know and subjecting herself to din she doesn’t enjoy. This means she is generally available to keep an ear open for the kids whenever the most intriguing bands roll through town.
COULD MY WIFE AND I HAVE AN ENTIRE CONVERSATION WITHOUT MENTIONING OUR KIDS?
Rarely does a day go by when I don’t have at least one meaningful conversation with my wife. Usually there are several. Many of these are about the deep and emotionally wrenching subject of what to feed the kids for dinner.
WITH TWO YOUNG KIDS, MY WIFE AND I ARE USUALLY TOO TAXED AND TIRED FOR ALONE TIME. BUT I THINK I HAVE THE SOLUTION.
Now in the seventh year of our marriage, my wife and I seem to be on a never-ending quest to find time when we are simultaneously together and at least marginally awake.