It’s mid-March. The weather has started to warm, the sun shines after a cold, wet, and dreary winter. These first few weeks of sunshine make me giddy with excitement and anticipation for spring. I suddenly want to do all of the things that have been put on the back burner during the cold months. I take long car rides with the windows down, clean out closets, landscape my sad and forlorn flower beds, play kickball in the back yard with my two-year-old.
My husband gets spring fever too, but he takes it to a whole new level. He disappears.
During this time of year, if he’s not at work or sleeping, my husband is on the lake fishing. After parking the boat in the garage for the past few months, the excitement of finally getting to do what he loves gets the best of him. Last Saturday he was on Chickamauga Lake. The week before that, Cherokee. Next week, Pickwick in Alabama. This week he actually took time off of work to be a marshal in the Bassmaster Classic, which was hosted here in Knoxville on lakes Loudon and Tellico.
My husband and I married a little later than most. I was 32 and he was 36. We both had full lives, friends, and hobbies when we met. Part of what we loved so much about each other was the fact that we were both independent and each had our own interests. We gave each other room to do what we loved. I didn’t complain (too much) about his fishing and football addictions, and he supported my compulsive cake decorating and the long hours of solitude needed to write. And it worked.
Then our son came along.
For a time, both of us had to put aside our individual interests. It was all we could do to get a full night’s sleep, much less spend time and mental energy coordinating separate excursions. The baby took center stage. But now he is two, and we’ve made a decision to continue our separate interests. We believe that a family should respect and honor the needs of each of its members, and it is important to us to maintain a sense of our individuality.
So my husband fishes. He follows college football. I have a small cake decorating business and a blog on which I write regularly. We both have social groups and friends and we prioritize those relationships in our lives. We truly believe that this makes us better people and better parents. And as soon as our son is old enough, we will encourage and support his separate interests as well.
I will not lie and say that my husband’s fishing never bothers me. Sometimes he takes it a little too far and I have to remind him that he does, in fact, have a family. These first few weeks of spring are always difficult, and I can’t help but feel bummed that it’s just me and the toddler enjoying the first sunny days of the year. But there are also times when I’ve booked three cakes in one week, and he takes care of all the dinners and diaper changes and bedtime stories so that I can work. I’m sure he gets a little frustrated during those times. He probably feels the same way about fondant as I feel about fishing. Sometimes we both get carried away and we overdo it. We’re both passionate people and we love our hobbies and view them as essential parts of ourselves.