My daughter recently began attending Drayton Ave Co-op preschool in Ferndale and I couldn't be happier for her. She is making new friends, the parents of the other students are great, the teacher is great, and she is having the time of her life. I'm not sure if it has sunk in for her that this is the rest of her life, but it is certainly sinking in for me.
For the past 3 1/2 years, I have pretty much been with her 90% of the time (the other ten percent being the time I was in school or doing a work study job at NMU.) I have helped and seen her reach milestone after milestone, which a lot of people think of a strange for a father because it still isn't completely accepted as the "proper" societal role for an adult male. Don't even get me started on the "Oh you're a stay-at-home dad? What's it like to have all that free time?" I'll tell you when I get some. Of course, now I have some. Two hours of my life Tuesday and Thursday mornings are 100% my time to do what I want to do... I see you all out there, waiting for the other shoe to drop, so here it is. What do I do with that two hours? I am a writer (not published, mind you) and I am a musician. No job is going to say "Oh we can use you for just that two hours those two days of the week." It's a real head-scratcher.
So here's what I figured I'd try to do - on those days, while my Lilah Rose is asleep for her nap or maybe even while she's at school, I will tell little stories having to do with her education. Keep it simple, see what she brings home, and try my best to sort out the porky pies from the truth. Since school has just started, I don't really have any stories pertaining to that, except for to say how amazingly hard the start of this has been. The first day they let me stay with her, obviously more for me than for her, but today I let her out into the world by herself. For the first time. Ever. I wandered home at sat at Chazzano Coffee Roasters for two hours wondering what on earth to do with my time and feeling slightly morose. I hadn't realized just how much our time together (especially recently as I had taken up teaching her myself when she was wait-listed for the preschool) meant to me. I can only wait and hope that this whole things gets a little bit easier.
But, let's not leave you on such a sad note. Let's end this with a funny anecdote. My wife calls me every day on her way home from work (that's not the funny part) and asks me how the day went and so on. The other day, when asked, I told her Lilah had been a bit of a pain in the butt that day, but it was alright and we were having a good time presently. When my wife got to the house (and hung up the phone, these are always whole car ride conversations) she said hello to Lilah who promptly asked "What'd you bring me?" This is the standard response to mama returning home. It's not a selfish thing, mind you, it's more of a habitual thing. My wife usually brings her something. "Well, I brought you something, but I heard you were a little bit difficult today." Without missing so much as a beat, the little one piped up "Who told you that?" The tone was amazing. If she had been going for "whoever told you that is a filthy liar and possible dictator of a small Latin American country who smells like old cheese" then I would have to say she absolutely nailed it.
So, there is my purpose, my anecdote, and really my Lilah in a nutshell. I don't know where they learn this things without being out of the house and I can only imagine the things she'll be bringing home from now on.