I have written 2300 words in the last three working days, due to R.’s sickness and my wife’s coming down with what I can only assume is Chagas disease; even when it’s just the two of us and R., she is usually asleep, and thus no words can be written. This puts me behind by more or less 15,000 words, and has mired me in a vicious black funk that’s making me a bad husband and father. R. is, as I’ve written, 15 months old, and his brain is just starting to come online in big, amazing new ways—he sasses me, he understands complex commands, he adores and imitates his big sister. But he’s not complicated the way she is—not because he’s a boy, just because he’s younger and hasn’t learned how to get emo about shit. In consequence, when he’s not about to dive into the garbage or drink bleach, he’s the single most fun thing within 50 miles.
This all segues into a long reel of half-baked new-dad philosophy where I worry that I’m pushing U. to grow up too fast and R. to stay a baby too long, because the experience of the first kid is all about development and pushing boundaries and the experience of the second kid is about re-experiencing the littleness of the first kid, which should give you an idea of the levels of bougie white angst I’m capable of generating with a few spare cycles—I could power starships—but the point today is that I take a Monday afternoon to play with the single most fun thing within 50 miles and I do it grudgingly. Because, after the biggest bender I’ve endured in my lifetime, I’ve written 2300 words in five days and I’m getting the fucking shakes. I’m resentful of my wife doing exactly what she needs to do to get well. I’m resentful of my three-year-old daughter being three. I’m resentful of the fact that R. has to stay out of school at least another day, because the rule is you can’t go to school until you’re symptom-free for 24 hours, and he’s still shitting thin green sewage. Because the medicine gives him GI issues.
Oh yes. The medicine that is supposedly (and, I imagine, actually) getting my son well is keeping him out of school.
He has to be on it through Sunday morning.
My wife reported a “solid” poop this morning, but we were back to form by the next diaper.
The solitary thing—the solitary thing—standing between me and finishing a novel in January is the quality of my son’s shit.
I’ll laugh about this in a month, I don’t doubt.
A year, anyway.
Here’s my beautiful boy. I love him and his sister more than anything, and if I have to lose seven days of writing time so the family can get well, then that’s what I have to do. But it’s hard, at least for someone unaccustomed to real hardship, and I’m not a good enough person to deal with it gracefully.
I could write more tonight, of course. But I need to sleep.