“I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.” – John Burroughs
So, it is the days after Christmas. I am here, on a Sunday, taking my son to the Dinosaur museum, a place he loves to go (he is a huge lover of the dinosaurs. We hit all of his favorite spots–with him doing a lot of running from here-to-there. (He so loves running, and having someone chase him. A lot of the times it is me–I think, because I am old and slow.)
He stopped just long enough to give me a narrative of each dino or fossil we were looking at. I must say, I always enjoy our times like this, but I was also checking my watch from time-to-time. (I wanted to make sure I made the kick-off for the Packers/Bears game.)
Herein lies my problem: I found myself doing the very thing I always disliked about my parents. They would be there but (simultaneously) be elsewhere. I promised myself I wouldn’t be that parent, but here I was–doing just that.
I was there, but my mind wasn’t there. I was a “clock watcher,” as if I was waiting for my shift at the plant to end (so I could go home), or waiting for the date I was on to be over (because I was so-over the girl I was with). And, all that was because I had to be home in time for the “big game.” Meanwhile, my 2-year-old little boy was full-of-energy and wonderment–he just wanted me to share in the time we were in (because he loves his dad, and loves spending time with him).
Well, we got home a little before kickoff, and I started watching the game. He came in from time-to-time. I made eye-contact, he’d mumble something, and he would leave.
Then at half-time, I went and got the family something to eat, got home in time for the start of the 2nd half, and I realized that something strange had happened. I saw who I had become and what I wasn’t doing. I went downstairs to get something to drink, and I saw my son playing by himself on the kitchen table. His mom had wanted to go workout and I told her to go ahead, as I would take my son upstairs with me.
He sat next to me and watched the Croods on the Kindle while I watched the game. I saw myself playing more attention to him instead of the game, and we started to tickle-fight each other. Both of us quit watching the game and the Croods and just played. Before I knew it, it was 4 minutes to go in the game.
My son saw one of the Packers players make a play in between our tickle-fight and he told me, “He got tackled Dada.”
I said, “Yes he did.”
We sat down and watched the rest of the game. He asked every now-and-then what was happening and wanted me to explain it to him. And I did.
When the Packers were driving down for the game-winning score, we were both there, cheering our team on. As our Packers scored the go-ahead touchdown, my son jumped up and ran around the room shouting: “Go Packers GOOO !!!” And I was shouting with him.
I will be honest… I’m glad we won, but I took more enjoyment in watching my son run around shouting “Go Packers GOO” and in seeing him run up to me… more then anything.
The sad part is, I had spent the last few days telling everyone on Facebook to keep a friend and fellow dad blogger (Whit Honea of Honea Express), in their thoughts. He and his family lost his mother a few days before Christmas, in a car accident.
Thankfully I was able to remove my head from behind and see what was really important.
So I say to you and as a reminder to myself: really look and see what is important to you–be it a son, daughter, mom, dad, or loved one. Take the time to be in the moment with them. Life is fleeting. We never know when it is time, so make every moment count. These two quote may say it best:
- “The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.” – Aristotle
- “I just got one last thing, I urge all of you, all of you, to enjoy your life, the precious moments you have. To spend each day with some laughter and some thought, to get you’re emotions going.” – Jim Valvano