Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Gift That is the Present

This Sunday is Father's Day, a time to for dads to be honored.  As a dad, I can't help but express my gratitude over being a dad.  There really is nothing like this feeling and experience, and I am overwhelmed with happiness.

Amy and I have been having this conversation a lot.  We'll get to the end of a tiring and full day, and though we ache from the stress and burden of parenthood, we also revel in the texture it has given to our lives.  I love these moments together, to articulate to each other how precious our kids are to us and how very fortunate we are for them.

The other night, for example, Jada was upset about something that I was paying her no mind about until Amy pulled me aside and told me why the thing was so important; we then proceeded to calm her down together and bring the situation to a resolution.  Next, Aaron got upset because he misinterpreted something Amy said to him, and again we had to double-team a child with comfort and assurance, and again we were successful.

And so we got them both to bed, looked at each other, breathed a sigh of relief that the day was finally over and our kids' tensions had been resolved.  But then almost immediately we started blabbing to each other about how incredibly wonderful our kids are and how full our lives are because of it.  And we marveled at how fast they're growing up and how quickly the time passes.

And yet, we don't regret anything because we feel we have taken the time to enjoy the moment with them and to (to borrow a phrase from a friend of mine) make good memories with and for them.  We talked about the little rituals we have that they'll recall when they're grown, or maybe that they'll tell their kids about, and it makes us happy that their remembrance of these little rituals, and of their time with us when they were kids, will be a happy remembrance.

I am voracious on a number of levels.  I am grinding at work to advance myself, my company, and my earning potential.  I do what I can to max out on being helpful in religious, civic, and social ways.  I am ever seeking to sharpen myself intellectually and physically and vocationally and spiritually.  It is the nature of someone hard-wired like me, to strive and to be ambitious and to think futuristically.

But when it comes to enjoying parenthood, I am actually able to be in the moment.  Because I have made a pact with myself that because my kids only age in one direction, today is the only day they will be exactly the age they are and so today is the only day I can enjoy them at that age.  And so I am present, which may seem utterly banal for some but is remarkable for someone like me who spends so much time dwelling on the past and future.  And, in different ways, it is equally remarkable that Amy can be as present as she is as a mother. 

And so it is an utter delight - not, of course, without its headaches and fatigue - to be in the present, with her, about our kids.  I feel very rich and happy as a result. 
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