When my wife leaves for three months every winter, my life gets crazy. For three months I am pretty much a single father.
My weekdays starts like this: I set my alarm for 6:15am. I make sure my eldest daughter (thirteen in eighth grade) is out of bed and getting ready to catch the school bus. Then I lay back in bed for about 15 minutes before getting up again to yell at my daughter to hurry up (she has usually fallen back asleep). I get back in bed for a little more shut-eye, before waking up my youngest daughter (eight in second grade). She is a bear. I then head downstairs and check on ‘the teenager,’ making sure she has made her lunch and is eating breakfast before running out the door (at the very last second, of course).
Meanwhile, back upstairs, my youngest hasn’t even begun to think about getting dressed. She is reading a book, so I have to remind her to get moving. While she brushes her hair and teeth, I run down and make her school lunch and get her breakfast ready. She wolfs it down and we wait for the bus to come at 8:30am.
Now its time to take care of myself. I manage a bunch of blood labs in Maryland. The reason I say ‘a bunch’ is that I have truthfully lost count of how many. I also teach at a local college two times a week, because I enjoy it and it gives me a little extra ‘play money.’
I get ready as fast as I can and head to the office, which is luckily just 10 minutes away. After an hour of paperwork, I’m off to visit my labs. On average, I drive about 150-200 miles a day (thank goodness for a company car). I do my driving, visit my sites, and return home before the little one gets off the bus. On days I teach, I have a great friend who picks the girls up and keeps them at her house until I get home from teaching.
Normally, when I get home I make the kids do their homework and try to relax a little bit before making dinner. I am not a very good cook, so while Colleen is gone we eat lots of frozen easy to cook stuff.
I don’t know what is harder: getting the girls out of bed in the morning, or getting them ready for bed in the evening. We call the girls “the fighting Rutledge sisters.” Sometimes I feel like they never stop. When I eventually convince the girls to turn in for the evening, I finally get some ‘me time’: a couple beers, some sports on television, and some work on Colleen’s Facebook Page.
Each day it starts all over again. As for the weekend? All I can say is this: thank goodness for grandparents and Pony Club.
I will be the first one to admit this, and my wife knows it: I hate it when Colleen goes away. It is a royal pain in the butt. It sucks. So why do I do it?
I love Colleen and I want her to succeed. I want her to be the best at what she does. I see how hard she works for what she is doing. I deal with the headaches and yes, it is hard on our relationship when she is gone. But at the end of the day, I know that we are equal partners in pursuit of a success that is not hers, but ours.