I shall be journeying to the American shores in a few days for a three month trip. I’m going primarily to focus on the foundations of my Phd research. I had been looking forward to it for a while, and I still am. Only problem is, as the day approaches the thought of not being able to come home each night to my wife and daughter leaves me with a bit of apprehension – something I didn’t expect to feel.
Damn these adult feelings.
Years ago, when embarking on an adventure of this nature, there would be very little apprehension, very little concern for the people I was leaving behind, but this is the first time I will be leaving my relatively new family for an extended period.
I am apprehensive because so much changes in a child’s life in three months. I know that when I return she will be reading a little better, she will be a little bigger, she will be a little more conscious and self aware than before, and I will miss out on that development. I will miss the possible moment when she needs to talk to her dad about something that happened at school – I won’t be able to protect her from my distance. Recent activities at school include realising that she is brown and that others are not, a truly terrifying experience for me, because I know what comes with that realisation – so its important I am present to guide that growing awareness.
The emotional and spiritual support I receive and offer my wife will be limited from my distance – she does the bulk of the work concerning the everyday activities of our daughter, so I’m not worried about a change in that important routine, but I will not be able to offer the emotional support I know she needs to manage her own work, her well-being and that of our daughter. She’s a strong women don’t get me wrong, she will undoubtedly survive, in fact she will continue to prosper in my absence, I however feel guilty not being able to offer that support.
My desire to travel for my research is not a requirement, it is a selfish desire, to secure a secluded space to focus entirely on my work without distraction, for a short period of time. Of course the longtime benefits I envision from this work are tied directly to the prosperity of my family; financially and spiritually – but doing so comes with it’s costs.
I am not the first man, or woman, in history to leave their family for research or work, I understand that, but it is the first time I as a man have done so.
I write this because it seems somewhat strange to me to feel like this – intellectually I know what I am doing and why, but there is this other thing irking my conscious mind – I suspect it is tied to my maturation and my growing emotional bonds beyond my own sense of self. I never thought it was possible for me to feel this way, apparently it is. Very annoying.