Dad's life: How will I cope when my wife is in New York?
‘So, like, don’t go mental or anything, but I’m thinking of taking off to New York for a couple of days.”
My wife works in communications so I have learned over many years not to interrupt her when she announces something. Information is drip-fed on a need-to-know basis. You might think her taking off to the States might be something I need to know, but there are obviously further details to be revealed and I must not need to know them quite yet.
I stay quiet and turn on the cool gaze. I look out of the kitchen window at her car with the rear opening mechanism hanging off the boot that she has put off fixing for the past 18 months because she hasn’t the money spare and think, sure, why not, a few days in NYC. Why wouldn’t she?
She seems unnerved by my silence. She expects, I know, a tirade. I might have the upper hand; it is a strange feeling. I steeple my fingers and angle my head, giving it the full therapist. Obviously my brain is bouncing off the walls of my skull – what? Are ye serious? Why stop in New York? Take a month, check out LA, Hawaii, Rio. No worries here, back in the real world, we’ll be grand.
“It’s the twins’ birthday and we decided we’d all meet up over there. I’ve got accommodation covered, and I’ll even work two days of the trip, so travel won’t affect us. It’s all set.”
How will I manage?
The twins, her sisters: and it’s a big birthday. If I’d jumped in from the outset, I’d be the bear who wanted to halt a family reunion, deprive them of the pleasure of seeing one another. The miserable, family-hating git that I am. But no, I am the smooth, savvy hubby who knows when he’s being played.
If I’d gone screaming down the money route, pulling out my hair at her flitting off abroad as I convince Visa we’re still a viable option, the fact that travel expenses were a work cost would have been played like a straight flush.
Now we don’t know what to do. She has announced her intentions which seem realistic and perfectly acceptable, and I haven’t reacted like someone just told me there’d be no mince pies next Christmas.
I realise I have yet to speak. “How long will you be away for?” I ask.