I have eight more days of work. Then I am off to paternity leave (called pappaledig in Swedish) for eight or nine months.
And, yes, there is a countdown. Right now it is tied up with our flight to Arizona five days later and Christmas and a trip to California and seeing grandparents and greatgrandparents and friends. It is tied up with escaping the dark drizzle and waking up to the real sun, no matter if it is a cold desert sun for a few hours.
But I am also counting down to the days after that. To the hard slog of February with a restless baby and a toddler exhausted by daycare. It will not be easier than my quite OK job. I will get to write more, I guess, which is nice. But I will only write more if I sacrifice my naps or my moments alone. But that is all OK. I am counting down to changing the pace of all our lives, of regaining my baby momentum (which I gain and lose each weekend, or each early early morning).
There is something unmodern and more natural about life on leave. Yes, even for a guy. I refuse to believe that men are not cut out for child care, that way back in the forests of our beginnings, that the men did not care for the babies at the end of the day or while the women were out gathering or whatever.
And then I will go back to work because I do not want to be home forever. But that is OK too. Because I don’t have to make that choice. That is the beauty of Sweden. That is not this countdown.