I remember the day my oldest daughter became mobile; I had laid her down on a tummy-time mat while I was doing something on the computer. I felt something touch my leg and voila, baby at my feet. I set her back on her mat and she crawled over to me again. I was a proud papa and called my wife, who was at work, to tell her. We were both excited, but it made my wife upset that she missed that milestone. I can understand I have missed my fair share of things.
I hate missing moments.
I hate the fact that my and other parents’ working years coincide with all of a child’s developmental period. We miss so much. From birth and beyond, they spend large pieces of their lives with other people. Daycare providers, teachers, grandparents, and many others take your place when you are not there. Even when a baby is first born we only are allowed a few weeks away from our jobs.
You can’t go back and see firsts. You can’t make kids unsay their first word, or take back their first steps. They insist on growing up in a blink of an eye and making you wonder where the time went.
I know where the time has gone.
We are all time-travelers. Unfortunately, we can only move forward and we never get to go back. We are allotted a limited amount of time in our life. It is a finite resource, with which we are frivolous. We waste so much of our time, and you cannot reclaim what you have lost. You can, however, slow time down. You have to break your routines and not get into a groove.
We try to squeeze in as much time as we can during the work week. We try to do something special on the weekends. Something seems to come up, or you are tired. Plans get canceled and you fall into the groove. All the days blend together.
Once you start having days that are almost exactly the same then those days fade in your mind. String enough of those days together and whole chunks of your life turn into mist and you only remember the times when something was different. Remember the time three weeks from last Thursday when you had an uneventful commute to work? No, of course, you don’t. But I would wager that you remember the wreck you were involved in two decades ago.
Last week, I took some time off from work. The girls’ summer break is now over, and I wanted some time to decompress and time to spend with the kids before they went back to school. The week was nice, we had fun, ate too much ice cream, and it was over all too soon. Monday comes and with a heavy heart, I resume the routine: Commute to the workplace, do work, commute home and dream of more time off.
That Monday morning was hard, I sat on the couch and dreaded going to work. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about having to work. I am grateful that I am employed and able to provide for my family, but my family is the reason I do what I have to do. I would much rather stay at home instead of going to a building where they expect me to do tasks that I would rather not do and spend at least 40 hours a week with people I can barely tolerate.
This is why I want to start making more memories. I don’t want to look up and find that all of a sudden my kids are moving out of the house to go to college. I want to slow the ticking of the clock. I want my kids to look back and remember moments with my wife and me. I don’t want to stay in the groove. I want to start taking more moments to enjoy life.