Fatherhood has brought me many unexpected circumstances, attributes, and attitudes. One I really was not expecting, though, was the loneliness.
I love my daughter wholeheartedly. Her smile makes me melt, and her laughter makes my heart explode. But, despite my best efforts, she's not speaking yet...damn lazy five and a half month old. So when I spend time with her, there's very little variety of interaction. She can only ask for a few things, and she really only has one preferred way of asking for anything...namely, screaming at the top of her lungs. She screams as if stabbed when she gets hungry. She screams as if stabbed when she's had enough to eat. She screams as if stabbed when she wants to sleep, be changed...you get the idea. And yes, I realize she gets the drama from my side of the family. She also grunts, groans, and occasionally bursts out into peals of laughter (a sound which is all too rare...not that she's an unhappy kid, but this is the greatest sound in the world, and I just don't hear it nearly enough). The majority of our interactions, though, are me talking to her and her either grunting, groaning, or yelling...which, while I love her dearly, can be isolating.
I don't see my beautiful wife as much as I would like. When she gets home, she takes care of our daughter...which means her attention is (quite naturally and understandably) on our kid, not on me. My wife also puts our daughter to bed...but as our kid, as a result of her 3-4 hour "go to bed" process, might very well be renamed "She Who Will Not Sleep," this means we get very little husband/wife time. So even when she's under the same roof as I, I miss her.
I also don't get to see my friends all that much. Of course, I knew I would not be going out nightly, so this was one for which I could kinda prepare. And I do get to practice on Tuesdays, hang out afterward, and maybe escape one weekend night. Still, people tend to think more of me as "new father" rather than anything, and the new father is not the one people think to call and invite out. I can really only remember one time in the last couple of months where a friend specifically contacted me to ask me out. People don't come by the house, either...I guess the possibility of encountering a potentially loud kid doesn't entice visitors. All understandable, I guess, but it doesn't help the loneliness all that much.
But now I have a cold...and this means I can't hug my wife. It means I cannot hold my daughter. So, even though I am in the same house as the two people I love more than anyone, I still feel isolated.
When I was single, I'd often get lonely. At this stage of my life, though, I wasn't expecting more loneliness.