It is not really an invasion, when said man is the father and said women are his wife and children. But any child of an OFW will attest to being so used to absence that presence now is an awkward state. And so it is in the first few weeks to months whenever father comes home for his much deserved vacation from the deserts. I’ve been living through this transition for a while, and there are a few noteworthy things:
1. Driving gets stressful for the passenger. Before any other man protests, this is not a general rule, but in our house it is the woman who drives better than the man. More than an upper hand in skill and reflexes, to be fair it hinges more on the advantage of hands-on practice. Desert living does not require driving down tumultuous city streets. So it must be expected than when handed the wheel, the man will speed up on curves, not read road signs, and narrowly miss concrete barriers. Anyway, no physical harm done yet (knocks on wood). But the drive is no longer the relaxing nap time it used to be for the passengers. I kind of mourn that.
2. I was a prodigy when I was 3 years old, and other related tales. Mother was not much for reminiscing. Father on the other hand, does only that. There were his personal ‘war stories’ that have been on repeat for years now, and then the more surprising tales about his children such as myself being multi-talented in music, drawing and literature in the fresh age of three. First reaction: cool. Second reaction: what the hell happened??
3. I cannot go commando — as Joey from Friends would say it. As a female, I am biologically constituted to spend as much time as possible getting dressed. Corollary to that, I also have my Constitutional right to walk around half naked in my house. Such right is now confined inside my room, with the door barred, and really, where is the fun in that?
4. Curfew is moved to 9 pm. Truth be told, in my mother’s opinion my curfew should be as early as 8pm. But while she is the only parent in the house, that curfew can be extended all the way until 1 in the morning as long as she is asleep and my sisters cooperate. With father home, the two parents in the house tag-team. One minute past 9pm and you already get a text. The digital lasso of freedom in five letters – san ka?
This is a longer list, but the four noted things pretty much sums it up. It gets stressful and pretty loud in our cozy house, and my sisters and I tend to crowd behind our locked bedroom door. Even then I look forward to the day when presence and not absence will be the norm, and a man in our house is no longer an invasion.