The house was dark when I arrived home. The rain and clouds held back the last rays before the lamp had a chance to come to life.

I put my weekend bag down and stood there in the darkness for a moment. I sent a friend a text to meet me for a drink. I needed adult company.

I arrived in Newtown, umbrella in hand. The old building facades stood silhouetted against the dark grey clouds, they almost appeared to be watching me.

Huddled together in the bar, we seemed to visit the same events, just disguised in new days and new shirts. I wasn’t able to concentrate or admire the right antics.

I looked out through the rain-beaded window. It was the same old situation, I had to find my words without feeling I was going to break out and say what I really thought.

After being present as a parent for an extended long weekend, I found it difficult to stop being the parent, even now with a friend.

Perhaps it’s the feeling of wanting to be cared for like I do for my two sons. To put my guard down for one minute would be god-sent.

There is an overwhelming intolerance in me that sporadically finds a head in conversation and thoughts when I’m with friends.  I try not to judge and I try to remain present as they describe the events of their life. But sometimes it’s hard.

Sometimes their lips move, but what comes out doesn’t seem real.

I’m not saying you have to be a parent to have a real life, but when I spend a weekend navigating the edifying experience of mini people, it’s hard to keep up with daring nights of cool cocktails and men.

I can be critical when they read me the same bedtime story and insensitive when they run along a high ledge carelessly time after time.

I excused myself from time with my friend and hailed a cab home. I took a breath and closed my eyes. I found myself back in the darkened lounge room.

It’s a game of balance, on all fronts. I know that much is true.

info: You can follow John on Twitter @daddydearest_

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