A vacation by any other name ...
I haven't taken a prolonged vacation since the week of Halloween last year and it feels like a million years.
Before I get started allow me to preface this by saying that I truly understand, having worked as a waiter for many years, that the opportunity to take vacations away from work is something that many don't get and I am very lucky.
Now, back to the column.
The last vacation I took was in late October when my wife, son and I did nothing further than visit my family in Cleveland and prepare for trick-or-treating.
Although we didn't go anywhere, it is always nice to get to spend days, not hours, with the people you love. We woke up every morning together, had breakfast and then did whatever we wanted.
That was nearly a year ago.
This year, however, my plans for vacation time are significantly different.
Since this is running Sunday and I am writing it on Wednesday, all I can say is that we have either already had the new baby or that he will be here tomorrow.
Finding out that my wife was pregnant in December allowed me to plan and schedule my vacation accordingly, which I've saved until now.
This is not going to be the normal vacation where everyone gets to rest and relax, but it will serve a purpose so much better.
Over the next couple weeks, I will be spending my days and nights (although hopefully not too many nights) getting adjusted to the new baby.
I think that in the two-and-a-half years since my first son was born, I have conveniently forgotten what those first few weeks are like, and that's probably for the best.
I've become accustomed to sleeping through the night, having a little man running around the house with the ability to tell me, more or less, what he wants and what he needs.
I haven't had to wash a dozen bottles every day in years and the last time I had to snap and unsnap a onesie is too far back to recall, but as the house becomes newborn-ready, I am slowly recalling these moments.
Generally speaking, I hate having to snap and unsnap (or worse, unbutton and rebutton) 15 clasps to get an undershirt, shirt and pants onto an amoeba-like baby who will, undoubtedly, do something that requires me having to revisit this scene in mere minutes.
I have also not missed for one second having to wash, boil and rinse bottles every single night.
But those things seemed to go by in such an instant the first time that I doubt I will have time to even care.
These are the things that are expected of me again, and I do them because I am responsible for this baby.
The every-three-hour feedings will begin again, and trying to read the specific cries in the middle of the night that I will most assuredly not get, prompting my wife to translate for me, will become routine.
The next couple weeks, as much as I'll miss the friendly confines of the Tribune Chronicle, will give me the opportunity to connect, reconnect and spend time with my little family of four.
I believe that in our daily routine, we get into a rut of getting up, going to work, coming home, dinner and then an hour of two of family time before bed.
However, real extended periods of time taken to really spend together have a way of reminding you why you got married and started a family in the first place.
I see a few weeks of playing cars on the floor, burping babies, sleeping less and enjoying every minute I get to spend with these people without having to say goodbye for a while.