Conversations with our doctor friend usually start with, ‘Could you just have a look at this rash?”
However the other night, when he joined us for a glass of wine after another gruelling shift, I asked: ‘Working such long hours, do you miss spending time with your son?’
The answer was of course, yes.
But, he said, he is ‘programmed’ to provide for the family; for him, this involves long hours and therefore affective impulses must be muted.
Perhaps this is true of many men – they have an ’emotional stop’ button of sorts which prevents them from breaking down whenever they have to leave their kids to go away on business. Female friends who are mothers and career-women inevitably end up making sacrifices with work (part-time hours, early finishes) in order to assuage the guilt they feel at having to leave their offspring with aged Aunt Maude for the rest of the week.
This is a generalisation of course, but in the realms of my own experience, it’s absolutely true.
I palpitate if I have to leave my daughter overnight, whereas M went off to Australia for two weeks with work, waving His cork hat behind Him. He may have wept into His Vegemite sandwiches whilst He was over there, but if He did, He never let on.
Another great sorrow, then, that I feel on His behalf. He too was ‘programmed’ to provide, a role which was so important to Him, especially when our daughter was born. I know He it would break His heart to think He’d left us to fend for ourselves (no matter how capable we are of doing it.)
So here we are, rattling about in this little house of ours, carrying on as best we can. I just hope He ain’t looking down.
Anyway, back to this rash…