Under Siege: The Adventures of a Stay at Home Dad

Note from the Editor: It’s Friday and that means there’s a Dad in the house! Dave is back with his ongoing Under Siege series. He’s taking a break from his usual humor and sharing with us some of the struggles his family has encountered. He does still manage to reference cargo shorts though… Chin up Dave. *hugs*

I’m ready for some funny after this not quite so funny week.

I had grand notions of writing a moving, informative, and decidedly humorous piece examining the almost criminal under-appreciation the fashion world has for cargo shorts…. personally, I believe the cargo short is the most indispensable item of clothing I own. I not only wear them, I use them. But, as awesome and rife with blog-postable funny material the cargo shorts certainly hold, I’m just not feeling as funny as I wish I were right now. I have more serious things are on my mind.

This last week has been a bit humor draining in a number of ways. The list of reasons why is kinda disparate and, taken individually, each might give one pause for thought but it’s in the short sharp manner in which each has showed up this week that has added up. It’s not been one thing alone, although the gravity of a couple of them has been pretty strong and has moved me in many different ways.

It really all started last Friday, when I got word from a close friend, who, like myself, is also a parent of twins (and a fellow contributor to Everyday Childhood), had admitted her little guy, one of her twins, into the hospital with pneumonia. A serious matter for sure, only made much more so because he has a disease that already places great strain on his respiratory system…so, I was instantly and seriously worried about his well being…

…Meanwhile, my wife and I have been hip-deep in a search for a new home…definitely NOT something that holds the same serious grip as the concern that I had for my friend and her son does, but still, a frustrating and stressful process.

We live, now, in a small house in a historic neighborhood in central Phoenix. Living in a small, old house with 4 females, 1 male (me) and 1 bathroom isn’t really working for us anymore, or for that spot in the backyard I have had to go to a few times when the bathroom was occupied by one of the girls at the worst moment. Being a guy does have its conveniences, but, it’s not very becoming to be a 43 year old guy who occasionally is forced to go outside and whiz in his backyard. No “just like a dog” references, please.

So, the stress we’re feeling as a family continues to grow as the littlest of us, our 1 ½ year old twins Emma & Maddie, continue to grow. The funny thing about this search, for every house we go take a look at but doesn’t quite match exactly what we’re looking for, our present home seems to shrinks by about 50 square feet… Nothing makes your house feel smaller than spending some time in a house, imagining it could possibly be your next home, and that it’s twice the size. The shrinking house does nothing to eliminate the stress of the process. And I’m starting to see the frustration build in myself and in the girls as we go through this hunt for our new home.

So, the week rolled along….Great news arrived about the little guy beating pneumonia, but was tempered by the news that a surgical procedure that had been planned for later in the summer, was going to be done the next day instead, which became another worry for his parents, and for those that care about him.

…and soon after, on that same day, I find a notice from my daughter Sydney’s school hidden among all the spent coloring book pages and art that she brought home from school and left on the dining room table the day before, detailing how counselors will be on her campus to speak with teachers and students who may find the need to discuss or have problems handling the recent death of an unnamed student in her school over the weekend.

When picking her up from school Wednesday, we have a very serious conversation about her classmate who, she would tell me, had died over the weekend by drowning in a swimming pool. Horrible words to hear coming from your child who has already been concerned about death and such heavy matters a few times over this last year: the neighbor that we’d been close to who took his own life back in January or how her grandmother who suffers from Alzheimer’s raises questions from her about Grandma’s condition. These, among other events, have all raised concerns for her about life, death and what that means in regards to her, her Mommy, Daddy and her little sisters. Tough moments.

It’s heart wrenching to think of what that little 5yr old boy’s parents must be going through today. It’s equally saddening to imagine that the End of School Year Pizza Party that had been a thing Sydney’s been excited about and looking forward to for the last week or so was probably something he had been excited about too.

I’m not whining about what a terrible week it’s been for me, because, really, I know that my week was nothing compared to the week many others out there experienced. Nothing compared to what surely my friend experienced while watching her little boy fight off pneumonia, or the week that the parents of that little boy from Sydney’s class had. I appreciate being able to feel the weight, even from afar, of those things that happened over the course of this last week. That’s what writing does for me.

So, maybe next time, I’ll write about all the awesome things I can think of about cargo shorts, and how, while being Under Siege by 3 little girls, how those shorts have changed and/or saved my life…we’ll see. But, for right now, my mind is still on these other things.