If only there were an institution that compelled them to focus and shoulder responsibilities. But that would be jarring their carefree days with expectations and commitments.
After our daughter was born, my wife had a good long leave, then plunged back into the corporate world. I was a stay-at-home dad until our daughter went to kindergarten, and even after that I made sure to meet the bus when it trundled up the block at one. The best years of my life. To this day I make sure I’m home doing something in the kitchen, just like my mom, when daughter returns from school. Daughter will be away in college for two years before 4:24 on the clock doesn’t mean the sound of the back door and a warm familiar emotion: She’s home.
Perhaps I would have been more personally fulfilled if I’d moved out ten years ago and had four transient relationships punctuated with periods of solitude where I drank from the carton without caring, but I doubt it, in the same sense that I doubt that sawing off my right hand would have made my left hand much more clever. Perhaps my daughter would have adjusted to a parade of Uncles and learned that men are just comets that enter your orbit and leave with ease, but I’m glad she has constancy.