From April 22-May 1, I was childless for the first time for a whole weekend since March 2013. Once or twice, I had a whole 24 hours off; but those were days in which Cydney was rolling with her grandmother while I was at work. That hardly counts because they weren’t days of rest. I still had to wake up at 4 am and be productive for a check.
I often would envy my friends who have yet to conceive. I love my kids; but the kind of obligation, constantly being broke, and fatigue that comes along with always being “on” is debilitating it’s amazing I’m rarely sick. My jovial spirit and perchance for talking an immense amount of shit masks a man who is often physically, mentally, and spiritually fatigued. Behind the sardonic sense of humor and darkened eyes is a guy who wants to hug everyone who says “You look tired. You need a vacation.”
My mother surprised her grandchildren. While I traveled from New York to Dallas for a wedding, she told Cydney and my nephew she was taking them with her to visit her friend in Florida. To their surprise, they were embarking on a seven-day Disney Cruise. My elation couldn’t be described in words. The twenty-second of April had been circled on my calendar for months.
I went to Texas and enjoyed myself. The chance to travel without packing up the little one, having to cater whenever she wanted or needed something was beyond amazing. I stayed in the hotel Friday afternoon and wrote with a change in scenery and pretty much drank all weekend. Sunday morning, I touched back down at LaGuardia Airport and made it my business to continue the party, all while getting some well-needed and deserved rest.
I slept until 8:30 am–which for me is the equivalent to waking up at 12 pm. Almost all week, I slept with just a blanket and no sheets because I could. There were dinners, happy hours, dates, and four out of nine days, waking up somewhere that wasn’t home. While most of my work for the week had been submitted to editors, I did some writing for myself posted a pre-recorded podcast.
My mother texted pictures and let Cydney call throughout the week to let me know what an amazing time she’s having. Cyd was almost always beaming about the grand time she was having. She told me that she met all of her favorite princesses, and as soon as my nephew tried to tell her they weren’t real, she retorted “They’re real the way wrestlers are real!” Well played, Cyd.
Did I miss my daughter? A little bit. Our week apart is the longest Cyd and I have been separated since her mom passed away and it was long overdue. I do love daddy-daughter time. However, the lapse in self-care was so depleted that I was more engulfed in having adult time and no responsibility other than Chad Milner.
In true Chad Milner fashion, there was drama; but fun enough for a laugh. There was the phone call from an ex that reminded me of how entertaining she was. There was a little tension between someone else that I once dated as well that only added onto a beyond epic soap opera I think we both have a love/hate relationship with. It’s all good, though. I need these kinds of things to survive. Accepting this has made life just a little easier. I’m a writer who constantly needs conflict for episodic story arcs.
After a rather epic and fitting ending to #FerrisBuellersWeekOff, I drove home Sunday Morning riding high off the previous nine days. I had breakfast by myself, took a nap, and when I woke up that afternoon, I could feel my mind and body beginning to shift from vacation back to dad mode. That was a very long four hours before heading back to LaGuardia Airport to pick up my family. Everyone was excited to see each other and tell me about their week in person. Five hours after waking up to the beginning of my transition, my once quiet home had once again become filled with noise.
It’s back to baseball practices (I said I would attend while my nephew wasn’t in town and eventually said “Fuck that…I’m going to happy hour!”), coaching soccer, doing homework, constant reprimanding, stressful bedtimes, and all of the love that depletes me, yet makes my life one worth living. I wouldn’t trade mine with anyone in the world, no matter how much it can get on my last nerves on a daily basis.
Last night, I was conversing with my father via text message. As I wrote about him in my manuscript, I told him that the older I get, the more I see that we’re alike. We talked about how money is only but so valuable and time is how we both show that we care. There was an agreement in the feeling empty and overwhelmed virtually being Superman. I could see that he, too is in need of a vacation.