California is great for giving dads time off. I can use up to six weeks of paid family leave, which pays out at 55% of what I make. My company allows me to use my PTO to cover the difference if I want, so I've basically managed to miss 13 days of week without losing any money.
In theory, I could take a lot more time off, but money is an issue, and I need to save my PTO days for when Nicole goes back to work. I'd also taken two more days than I originally planned because I realized that throwing Nicole into five straight days by herself was a horrible plan.
Right up until I went to bed Tuesday night, I was debating whether I should take more time off. But it just didn't make any sense. I was going to have to go back at some point.
Picking up where I left off at work was relatively easy. I'd only been gone for two and a half weeks and I don't do anything that's particularly time sensitive. I spent the first day touching base with everyone and by the second day it was almost as if I'd never been gone.
Except that I left early.
No, scratch that, I more or less have always left as early as possible. This time, I left early and I didn't feel bad about it. I left early to go home and see my son and there is absolutely nothing more important to me. Fortunately, my job is pretty laid back, so I was able to work from home on Friday, which both helped make the transition easier for my wife and prevented me from having to leave Appleseed more than two mornings in a row.
That will change this week. This week, I'm a five day work week kind of guy again.
The problem that I have is that I don't know how you fit something so large into your life or, rather, fit anything else in with it. Appleseed is all encompassing. I have just enough room to squeeze Nicole in and right now that's just about it. Even writing this blog has been a struggle and I have plenty I want to say. How am I supposed to be motivated at work when my focus is on my son?
How do you just go back to your life after something like this happens?
The answer, of course, is that you don't, but you find a way to make it work.
This will require a certain amount of compartmentalization and I hate that, because I don't want to compartmentalize my son. I want him front and center all the time. I don't want him to take a back seat to anyone or anything.
This kid makes me feel like I'm going to burst. He makes me feel like that just writing about him.
Strange as it may seem given what I've written above, I'm a good employee. I'm good at my job. I've got promoted a lot, but a lot of that is simply the fact that I've stuck around longer than most anyone else. But I have a track record. My work is solid.
And it's 2014 and I work for an internet company. So I'm hoping beyond hope that I can convince them to let me work from home twice a week. There's no downside in that for them, although the upside is debatable. The upside for me, of course, would be huge.
I've never been more frustrated by the fact that I don't write for a living. I look at all the positive feedback I've gotten from agents, writers, and editors on "Master of the House" and I become tense. I know the book is good and I know that it's ready and I know that it would make some lucky publisher a good amount of money. And I should be staying home every day, taking care of my son and writing the sequel.
But that's a whole other blog post. For now, I'm just trying to prepare myself for the coming week.
I can't even imagine what it's going to be like when Nicole has to go back.