For the past couple of weeks I have felt disconnected from Henry. We have been like two ships passing in the night, only feeling a slight disturbance from the waves of the other, nothing more. We have been so absorbed in our own pursuits and have failed to prioritize spending time with each other in any sort of meaningful way.
I blame the books. I know, it doesn't make sense. Who blames innocent books for their troubles? Apparently, I do. Let me explain.
Henry and I go through phases with reading and watching television and often spend more of our precious free time in the evening indulging in one pastime while neglecting the other. Lately, we have been all about the books.
We are both reading the Song of Fire and Ice books, which are thousands of pages of fantasy fun. I have been taking a break after each book to read something different before returning to Westeros, but Henry has been plowing straight through. The minute HP is in bed, we both run to grab our books and settle in for the night.
It has been so nice to just escape at the end of the day, and there is nothing like a good book for that. The problem comes when we become so absorbed in our respective literary worlds that it feels like we are in different places, not two people sharing the same couch.
Reading has been a lifelong love of mine while the television and I have a love/hate relationship. I love it because, duh, it is easy and fun to watch. I hate it, because if I am not careful, I lose hours of my life to nonsense shows.
For most of the spring Henry and I were watching the Daily Show and/or the Colbert Report on Hulu most nights. I do not usually think of television as a medium that brings people together, but in our case, it did. During the frequent commercial breaks we would fix snacks, chat about our day, and laugh about the clips we had just seen. We would usually still read in the evening, but just for half an hour before going to sleep.
Taking a break from television and diving headfirst in books the last few months has been wonderful. Stepping away from screens has always made me feel calmer, more centered, and like I am making the most of this one crazy life I have been given.
Until now. Now it has made me feel less connected to one of the most important people in my life.
I was discussing this issue with a friend over the phone, and she made an astute observation: it is not the television per say that I have been missing, but the act of doing something together in the evening. She reminded me that Henry and I used to play games together. We love to play cards, cribbage, Carcassone, pente, backgammon, and the like, but we have not done that in months (and months and months). It is such an obvious solution, I was surprised I did not see it myself. (But what are good friends for if not to point out your density?)
So that's the new plan. Well, that and paying for a babysitter a few times in the coming months so we can go out, just the two of us. Now won't that be something!
Ah, the ever-illusive balance, I haven't given up on you yet.