Well, I will provide for you
And I’ll stand by your side
You’ll need a good companion now
For this part of the ride
Leave behind your sorrows
Let this day be the last
Tomorrow there’ll be sunshine
And all this darkness past
Springsteen, Land of Hope and Dreams
Another New Jersey summer.
Left to my own devices I would probably have come in the spring, but she asked me to be there for the kids’ summer break. She was working full time by then and wanted me to be around for them. She’d taken two weeks off for my visit, (I have to say the US is incredibly stingy with vacation leave – In Australia we get four weeks a year, paid) and I was sitter guy the rest of the time.
It’s a ridiculous system that has almost all the school breaks for the year lumped into one months-long stretch. It probably worked OK when mothers mostly stayed home, but now it causes nothing but headaches and expense; just another example of a system that refuses to recognize the changing times.
Fortunately, I get on well with all of Jersey girl’s kids and there has never been a problem of any sort. I know, right? What are the odds? We bonded pretty quickly and they all treated me as one of the family pretty much from the get-go.
Jersey girl, fortunately, works a rotating roster in her job, so she had a few days free during those working weeks too. All in all, it worked out pretty well.
You may be wondering where the kids’ actual dad is at this point and well you might. I’ll keep things civilized and leave it to your own suppositions; you read blogs, you’re obviously a smart bunch. All I’ll say is that he’s come to be known as Mr minimum legal effort required.
It was so damned good to be back. NJ already felt more embracing to me than the city I’ve lived in for the past twenty-seven years. As usual, I just slotted back into place as if I’d never been away.
The kids were making fun of pretty much everything about me (accent, locution, appearance, general ignorance of the ways of the Jerz) within an hour or two of saying hello (I’m tearing up a little just thinking about it).
This was – I was – home. Every time I returned, that was becoming more and more obvious.
All images used in this post are my own.