I was away from home this weekend, catching up with some old friends (and seeing a live show by a rap legend). Before the trip I realised it would be the first night I had spent away from my daughter in her two and a half years on the planet. Actually, that’s not strictly true. The first night after she was born I spent at home alone, as partners were not allowed to stay overnight in the ward in the hospital, which made for one of the lonelier nights of my life. Every night since though, we’ve been either at home together or away together.
I didn’t make a conscious decision not to go away alone for so long, it just never happened until now. Time and money have been scarce these last few years, so there haven’t been many opportunities for weekends away for any of us (not that I would expect my daughter to be gallivanting off by herself quite yet). I felt weirdly guilty in advance of the trip. Not sure why, as logically I knew it wasn’t a big deal for me to take a rare trip away. I also know logically my wife is perfectly able to cope for a couple of days without me, and that my daughter might miss me, but would hardly be distraught. Since I became a father though, logic and feelings rarely align.
I had a great time whilst I was gone, catching up with friends I’ve known half my life now. Even though these meet ups are rare nowadays, when we see each other it always feels like we’ve hardly been apart, as is the way with true friends. Still though, I’m not sure I ever felt 100% at ease (with perhaps the exception of the gig we attended, where I managed to lose myself in the music). I spent a lot of time thinking of home, and missing my wife and daughter . It worries me occasionally, how much of a homebody I’ve become. I used to be constantly be travelling off to different parts of the UK, and further afield, to visit friends and family or attend music festivals. Now I only truly feel right when I’m at home with my family, although of course it is the family rather than the home itself that I miss.
The friends I visited this weekend used to often quote an insult from the computer game Streetfighter 2, “Go home and be a family man” (always particularly amusing when the game directed it at a female character). Being a father and a husband will never, I hope, be the only thing that defines me. My friends are too important to me, and music is too important to me for that to be the case. Whenever I’m away from home though, there will always be a part of me that wants to go home and be a family man.