This post is written by first time Guest Adventurer, Jon L. – Our longtime friend who is a dad, husband, lawyer, author and all around great guy. You will enjoy this first post of a three part series.
During the Golden Years when Kat and Elena breezed through ages 3 through 10, I couldn’t imagine the post-apocalyptic empty nest years. We were the center of our twins’ universe. Nothing was more anticipated than Dad’s arrival at home after work. Let Play Time commence! No activity was too mundane; squeals of excitement when I announced an excursion to the market to pick out fruit. Bug walks in the adjacent foothills, equipment belts strapped on, butterfly nets at the ready. Hikes in the rain. Twig forts at the park. Separation Anxiety was acute. Actual separation unimaginable.
I got all the glory; snow trips with the dads, caravans to the beach for boogie boarding, softball coaching, painting terra cotta figures for hours on end, crafts at the kitchen table (“dad’s pumpkin globe is soooo cool. Every country! Nice job dad!”). I was the Fun Generator who never said “No.” Mom was only the chief safety officer, health professional, fashion consultant, educational guidance counselor and all other things of real importance. She ensured ingestion of the proper medications (“no, Jon, Tylenol and Benadryl really aren’t the same”). She did her best to protect the girls in less dangerous but equally important subjects. More than once I led the girls out into the world with their clothes on backwards. It was the perfect universe of minimal back talk, our word was The Word, and we could do almost no wrong.
But then 11-12 arrived. Those years commenced a gradual pulling away and occasional disharmony. I was afraid our perfect world would be torn asunder by every little female spat in the house. I wanted no conflict. I pined for the harmony of the true Wonder(ful) Years. Alas, it was not to be. What hath hormones brought down upon our realm? Angela assured me all would survive these years and the pitched battles would pass quickly with little or no scarring. She was right, of course, but at the time the emotional trauma—really, only for me—was ever so great.
The separation occurred in subtle and not so subtle forms. No longer could we safely hug and kiss the girls at the school entrance—I pitied the poor boys who had to endure just one last snuggle from mom before venturing into middle school for the day. I should have known that we had not reached bottom yet. But it was coming…