By Jeremy G. Schneider, MFT
On Sunday we went to the mall with my Okapis. While Lucas, my 3-year old son, got a haircut with Mommy and Abuelita, I got Dorit, his twin sister, all to myself. And it was lovely. One of the biggest frustrations I have during the week is not only do I not get enough time with my Okapis, I don’t get good time with my Okapis. I get the worst time of the day with them, the time when they are their most tired and that is the most structured. They need to eat. They need to take their vitamins. They need to change into PJs. They need to get nebbied. They need to brush their teeth. They need to go to bed. They need to do it within 1.5 hours of me coming home. I just don’t understand why it doesn’t become a lovefest every single night.
I also almost never get time alone with either of them. We keep meaning to change that, but keep running into challenges. Of course, the time I had with Dorit was lovely; we even got a chance to look at some clothes for her. She is ridiculously smart, very observant and does wonderful things with her tone of voice – not only does she pick up new vocabulary very well, she is astute enough to mimic the tone, as well, appropriately. I don’t get to see that side of her enough at home, but at the mall with all of that stimulation and the fact that she has been there more than I have because she goes with my wife – especially when it is cold or wet – it really comes out. I was having a great time when Lucas, my wife and her mother met up with us.
Then it was as if I had disappeared.
Before I knew it I was standing alone, and the transition from special time with Dorit to being invisible was jarring. I was so taken aback by the shift from being The Daddy to all of a sudden being what felt like nothing. I get special time with my Okapis – we call it Los Tres Amigos time, but I don’t get one-on-one time and was amazed at how special, how enjoyable it was and then, as I was just getting warmed up, it was gone.
I did recover and even got some nice one-on-one time with Lucas when we went to buy little basketballs to play with in our backyard. Then we quickly grabbed some lunch and afterwards, I was left behind at the table while everyone else started walking to the car. It was that same sensation of no longer being visible. I was carrying the loot we had purchased (my wife calls me “my pack mule”) and trying to catch up, when all of a sudden Lucas dropped back and wanted to hold hands with me. So my wife took the cup I was holding and I held hands with him. Then Dorit fell back so she could hold hands with me and I gave the bags to my mother-in-law. I went from wonderful individual time to a jarring sense of invisibility back to being The Daddy again, holding hands with my beautiful Okapis and loving every minute of it.
“This is the life,” I said to them.
“This is the best part of my life,” Dorit said.
“It’s the best part of my life, too, Sweetie Girl.”
And another weekend sadly came to an end in the Okapi household.