It’s true. At my worst, I’m self-absorbed and “kind of an asshole,” as my wife Katherine sometimes likes to remind me. When you’re an introvert, balancing family time with personal time, especially with three kids, can be tricky. I’m not sure she knew what she was in for when she married a writer, but I’m grateful for (!) nearly 10 years of marriage. My poem “Shift Work” reflects the difficulty of raising a family as two working parents — but also the joys of that sacrifice.
After the kids go to sleep,
I rinse the dishes,
load them in the dishwasher
and crawl into bed.
Later, you’ll come downstairs
after falling asleep in their beds,
put the dishes away,
pack the bags for school
and curl up beside me.
Sometimes, our paths cross like fireflies
lighting up the darkness.
In the night, we change diapers,
put crying kids back to bed,
tap each other’s shoulders when we’re too tired to get up,
make breakfast, feed the baby.
The clang of another soccer game,
another trip to the grocery store.
The slip-slop rhythm of us.
Then we go out on weekends,
skip the appetizers, skip the desserts, skip the movie.
Walk hand in hand past the twentysomethings
to go home and make love,
for clocking in, for showing up,
for cradling each other in the dark,
two bodies at rest
until the baby cries at 3 a.m.
Published in Masque and Spectacle, August 30th, 2015