I had an epiphany this morning. It was a flash of genius. I was thinking about how my life has changed over the past 15 years or so. The amazing thing is that very little has actually changed. I still love to ride bikes and fish and I still like my wife (a lot of people I talk to do not like their spouse but follow the adage “it is cheaper to keep her"). The major change is the four kids who make it slightly more challenging to do the above activities; with the exception that I like my wife and having the kids have had no effect on that. Although I love spending time with them it is still nice to have an outing on a regular basis.
By the way, a child being a challenge was not the epiphany, that is common knowledge. Before we get to the epiphany, I would like to start with with a caveat. Here is the caveat; my wife does not like it when I write about her however, this post is very complimentary, in fact it is downright impressive. She is an amazing woman who is tough and unforgiving (towards my stupidity). She is really amazing.
It is now for the epiphany. Several years ago while I was in Iraq communication was difficult. I had to wait at the morale center for hours to use the phone and internet. Because it was inconvenient and time consuming coupled with a 12 hour time change, I only called my wife a couple times a week. It worked well and I think my wife enjoyed hearing from me. I was gone for 16 months and everything was fine when I got home, though Vance was not familiar with the term “daddy” and neither he nor Olivia would respect my authority.
Now I have a cell phone that is provided for security reasons. Overseas calls are 2 cents a minute. I also have internet in my room! My wife has a cell phone and internet at the house. So naturally I call my wonderful wife every time I feel sad and lonely, which is most of the time. The dilemma is that she is not sad and lonely. In fact, she will not be lonely for a while with four kids in her face. So one day she answered the phone with a “what! Do you want, I just missed my exit!!!” and hung up. At first I was taken aback by the way she answered so I called another 6 or 7 times when a friend of hers answered the phone. I quickly wiped away the tears and tried to make my voice sound less quivery. It turns out she was making snow cones for about 200 kids. It occurred to me that just because I have nothing to do but work, doesn’t mean she doesn’t have anything to do.
Moreover, the other day I convinced her that we should skype again soon. She reluctantly agreed. Technology is amazing, however, what I realized was that just because I have the free time to concentrate on skyping, doesn’t mean she does. In fact every time I call whether it is skype or on the phone, she cannot devote the proper amount of time to the kids; which is to say that when she is on the phone the monkeys are running to zoo.
This is where the epiphany plays in. I have been here for about 8 months and it occurred to me that Emily has more than demonstrated that I am not needed accept for early in the tax season to provide a W-2 that she cannot access online (strangely that is the only e-mail I have received from her that was not a reply to one I sent her). In fact, I think that I may actually be a distraction when I am home because I rile the kids. Furthermore, when I do get home after 11 months of being away, the kids won’t listen to me anyway. One of them will not even be able to say “daddy” let alone recognize who I am and none of them will respect what little authority I do have (I realized a while ago that mom rules the roost). The flash of genius was bright, almost blinding. If I can leave a year at a time, why can’t I ride my bike or go fishing every day after work, Emily does just fine.
Additionally, since calling her several times a day is a major distraction we could casually talk for a few minutes in the evening after I clean up from my bike ride and before bed. I could help microwave French toast sticks in the morning and I will have contributed more than I am when overseas and I am not getting in the way or getting on her nerves like I normally do. As long as I remember to print my W-2 during tax season we would have the perfect relationship and I could ride bikes every day!
I am a genius!