Monday, October 20, 2008

Savoring the Time

I had lunch last month with a colleague in the field who I very much
look up to. It was enriching to catch up with him, hear his take on
current events, and generally get to know him better. One thing I
learned from our conversation was that when his kids were still in
grade school, his wife passed away, and he raised them solo for seven
years until he remarried. And, without a trace of revisionist
romanticism, he declared, "All men should have a spell at solo
parenthood; it's good for you."

I'm embarrassed to say what was the longest I've ever had to parent
Aaron and Jada without Amy; suffice to say it wasn't even close to
seven years. And yet even in the short bursts, I find myself impaired
in savoring the time. Anyone with two or more kids can empathize, I
guess, in that it's hard to juggle more than one on your own; and yet
there's a spirit of discontentment there that is robbing a lot of
possible happiness from me. Kids, in general, are a delight; and
one's own kids a particular delight. What more could you want in life
but to spend more time with them?

It is often said that we will almost never look back on our lives and
wish we had spent more time at the office, but we will regret that we
didn't avail ourselves more to our kids. I confess that I often wish
I pit caring for my kids against other things that, in the moment, I
wish I had more time and energy for, whether professional advancement
or personal leisure or administrative responsibilities. I appreciate
the perspective of my colleague, whose life example had served as a
path for me professionally, and whose life experiences now serve as a
path for me personally as well.

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