It seems that so much of what I learn in life comes from my children. They are constantly teaching me things and as I listen to the wisdom of those who have gone before me, I look to my children to offer the opportunities for growth. It’s not so much that they intentionally do things to make me grow, but if I pay attention and look at what’s going on, I realize that the opportunities are bountiful.
While I was going to school and trying to juggle life with kids, a full time job, and school, I had to slow down and stop so many times to take a breath. I realized that I was wishing things away that I would be wishing back in no time at all. I mean, how many times have you heard someone say when watching their kids graduate from high school, “They were just in diapers the other day?”
My kids all still like for me to lay down with them at night. I remember doing that while I was in school and just waiting for the song to be over so that I could move on to “more important things.” One night, after laying with my kids and then sitting at the computer typing away for hours, I think it finally registered to me that time was fleeting and short, that these moments would not last forever. In no time at all my children may be wanting me to drop them off down the street from where they’re going for fear of embarrassment. They may not hug and kiss me goodbye, they may have a harder time saying. “I love you” when they walk out the door.
So, I’ll embrace these moments.
The other day, my boys were playing a video game and they were wondering how to get some of the extra characters. I gave them my words of wisdom and then went about doing other stuff. A little while later, I heard one of them say to the other, “Daddy was right.” Those words will soon be hard to come by from the mouth of those boys as they arrive at that place that it seems every child must come to when they know more than those who have gone before them. Until that day, I’ll savor the moment.
The older that I get, the more I realize how important these moments are to seize and savor. In fact, it’s moments like these that I probably remember most from my childhood. It’s not the calculated moments where things were planned out and executed to perfection, it’s the moments that were spontaneous, where moments were seized and opportunities were taken. Those moments are the ones burned upon my brain.
I am far from a perfect father, but I hope that my children will remember these moments, the simple moments. I’ve often marveled at how, at the end of the day, my children will often point to the simple moments of a day as their favorites rather than the grand and exquisite moments that took time to plan and prepare. It’s a good lesson to me, a reminder that simple can be better, that the best laid plans may not have the impact that we think that they will have.
Moments are meant to be seized. I miss some and capture others. My hope and prayer is that the ones that I capture are the ones that can make memories that will last a lifetime. Those moments are the moments for which I am grateful.