Feb 26, 2010

Free Man in Paris

Ottawa actually, but free indeed. No kids, wife, job, animals to feed, fences to build... for 5 glorious snowy days in the nation's capital. Just me, a hotel with a pool & tv, a laptop with alot of writing projects I've wanted to do, and my last Oxfam Canada board meeting.

When Joni struts down the Champs d'Elysees, she feels "unfettered and alive." Me, while I do enjoy eating and walking and sleeping and swimming and watching what and when i like, I feel no need to feel unfettered. As I ate yogurt in bed watching Olympics highlights, I thought of my family still sleeping, maybe the kids jumping into bed with Sarah for the morning snuggle. "They'll be eating oatmeal and fighting over who gets to light the candle," thought I while reviewing more board documents and designing a FreeRange Consulting letterhead. And I've delayed my much anticipated sock-shopping trip through Byward Market in case they call before cycling to school.

The rich easy rhythm of our family life - established supposedly to provide secure ground for our children to root and grow - has also become my roots and nourishment. Three time zones away, I still am deeply part of my real life in the sleepy Cowichan Valley, dreaming about spreading my cows' manure on the garden and finishing Sarah's new downstairs office. You can take the boy out of the country, but apparently you can't take the country out of this boy.

It's 8:26 in BC and the kids are right now putting their bikes in the rack and Galen's scuttling off to line up outside the grade two classroom, Sarah's chatting with the other parents, Zekiah's in his navy blue muddy buddy pants with the big red patch on the bum and knees asking for a push on the swing. I'm with you family, 3,551 kilometres across the country I feel and carry you.

Now back to the free part: think I'll just wander outside, buy a doughnut (and socks), walk down whatever street I choose and come back when I feel like it, maybe for a swim and hot tub. That is a rare freedom for a stay-at-home dad to fully enjoy, but I won't enjoy it alone. I'll be carrying the special bead that Zekiah picked out for me to bring, and Galen's carefully-folded origami love knot in which he wrote, "Dear Papa, I miss you a lot, and I hope you see you again soon. Love, Galen."

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