Friday, May 14, 2010

You're driving me crazy. When are you coming home again?

Families tend to assume the form and function of businesses, and mine is no exception.

Viewed through corporate-colored spectacles, my wife would be considered the CEO and Secretary and I, the President and Lead Custodian, while my ten-year-old daughter would be the Controller.

This leaves my  fifteen-year-old daughter assuming the duties of Vice President of Public Relations. It is not a nine-to-five position. Constant vigilance must be devoted to how the company, and most notably the VP of PR, is perceived by the earth's population, and she must closely monitor her subordinates in the departments of Potential Public Embarrassment and Awkwardness.

As fate would have it, the Controller will be leaving today for a weekend girl scout camping trip. Although she performs vital functions, her absence can also prove healthy for the rest of the company, as tonight the President and CEO will be attending an off-site team building exercise, also known as date night.

I'll stop the analogies now.

Like most parents, my wife and I don't spend nearly enough time just hanging out together—just spending a couple of leisurely hours per week not devoted to planning, cleaning, organizing or reprimanding a child. Routines can be such an overwhelming portion of each day, mostly because routines are efficient, and efficiency creates time to perform additional routines.

After temporarily exiting the circus big top that is parenthood, it doesn't take long to again notice that, hey, we still have fun together. We may not have the occasion to spontaneously hop in the car and drive up to Canada for the weekend, but an afternoon at the local bistro can go a long way. Sure, the main topic of conversation is usually our children, but at least the kids aren't present to say, "I know you're talking about me. Stop talking about me. What do you mean you're not talking about me? Why aren't you talking about me?"

But, inevitably, once they've been away for an entire night, an ache slowly builds, and I begin to miss their agonizing ways. I'm again ready to grind my heel into a cheese goldfish, to lift cushions in search of the phone or to again utilize the couch as nice, cushy storage for dirty socks, backpacks and tennis rackets.

It's time for the the company executives to return.

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