Platt: Remembering ‘we’ and not just ‘he’

Feb. 28, 2014 @ 06:48 PM

I felt pretty good about my accomplishment Sunday morning as I walked in to find Catherine cradling the baby in her arms.

“Hey,” I said, holding up my smartphone. “I condensed all my iPhone apps onto one screen.”
She gave me her signature from-beneath-the-brow stare and replied: “I woke up tired.”
Me too. It’s pretty astonishing to me that I thought it was a big deal to find a few spare minutes for that. Time to merge the news, social media and game applications that had once sprawled across four screens.
I’ve commented in this space before about how parenthood put a dent in my time. Time I might spend writing, playing video games, watching movies or reading a good book.
So, I don’t do the things that made me who I was as much as I might like.
On March 9, Catherine and I will celebrate our first anniversary as a married couple. We married a little more than two months before John Michael came into our lives. We’ve been together since 2010, so we had quite a bit of time to get to know what we’re like as partners.
Every once in a while, we have to try and remember, because it’s easy to forget. We both work demanding jobs that don’t care much about early hours or sticking to a specific schedule. The dog needs walking, feeding and medicating. The baby needs feeding, changing, playing, reading, bouncing. We’re never short of things to do, just time to do them all.
It’s a challenge that we face together. We try to keep in touch with who we were. We fight the temptation to throw all we are and every ounce of energy we’ve got into raising this child.
Critical to our success, I think, is communication. It wasn't a strength of mine in my first marriage. This go-round, though, I feel like I’m erring more on the side of sharing too much or, sometimes, without the right language.
Catherine told me she feels guilty leaving John Michael in my care while she runs errands or goes to work on a weekend. She’s aware that my time has value, too. She worries that I might resent it.
I don’t think I did such a great job when I replied: “Don’t worry. It’s typical.”
What I meant was “normal.” What I meant beyond that was: “It goes with the territory.” And both sound like loaded responses.
What I should’ve said was: “I don’t resent a thing about it.”
I don’t.
Yes, those nights when he fights sleep while I do my best not to slump over the crib railing can be exhausting. Sure, it's a distraction when I want to watch the basketball game and he crawls and climbs and reaches and grabs.
Those errands Catherine runs often involve visits to the Teeter on Ninth Street or Babies R Us. She’s not goofing around. Her time’s just as precious as mine.
She could haul John Michael with her on those errands and leave me to my own devices – smartphone, television, PC, Xbox. But I think it makes her more efficient with her time if she doesn’t have to stop during a shopping run to feed the baby or change his diaper.
But she’s most efficient and we’re happiest when we share errand running and baby minding. I keep her on target with the errands, she spends time with the baby too, we have ample opportunities to talk and the baby sees more of his world.
Everybody wins.

Wes Platt can be reached at wplatt@heraldsun.com or 919-419-6684. Follow on Twitter at @HS_WesPlatt. Connect on Facebook at facebook.com/wesplattheraldsun.