Friday, July 03, 2015

The Gift of the Present

If you click “play” below and you are a parent, be prepared to get out the tissues.  The ad shows a dad cleaning out his car, and in doing so accessing memories of his daughter at different stages in her childhood. 

It’s a reminder to me that childhood goes by fast.  Someone once told me that in parenting, “the days are long but the years are short.”  The statement struck me as absurd at the time but I think it makes complete sense now.  There have been nights that I thought would never end.  And yet, conversely, I have blinked at my two oldest are almost as tall as I and are off to multiple weeks of sleepaway camp.  Even little Asher is fundamentally a different creature than the baby we first bonded with just a couple of short months ago.

I work very hard at my job, both in terms of time (60+ hours a week, sometimes more) and effort (100 percent 100 percent of the time, ever ruminating/scheming/pushing).  And I am very diligent about errands and chores, with each week bringing a list as long as my arm to stay on top of.  With what little time I have left to spend on my kids, I am often focused on the past (capturing moments, sharing them with family/friends) or the future (plotting what they need to succeed in life).

I am not naturally inclined to be in the moment with my kids.  But it is what I will remember some years from now, when I am having my own “clean out the car and a whole childhood flashes before my eyes” moment.  And it is what my kids will remember when they think back to those same childhoods.  It’s something I try to tell myself and others but too often forget to live out: “Since they only age in one direction, today is the only day my kids will be this age, so make the most of it.” 

Parents, let’s be responsible in our jobs and with our chores and errands.  Let’s think about the past and the future when we think about our kids.  But let’s also enjoy the present.  

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