My wife says that I am a good dad.
My boy is not yet three, but he always greets me with a smile.
My own parents tell me how proud they are of my parenting.
Still I doubt every day.
I change diapers. I make meals. I play and read and sing silly songs. I’ve lost my temper, and I’ve snuggled for hours. I’ve kissed the ouch’s and held him through long nights. I’ve cut corners on healthy meals. Chicken nuggets are just so easy. I’ve checked all of the parenting boxes, good and bad. I check them again and again every day. These things have all been learning experiences for me. There are tremendous joys and equal griefs. They are however things that I find I, like most other parents, am able to forgive myself for.
Chicken nuggets don’t keep me up at night.
What keeps me up is that I still feel like my boy was born just months ago. Being a dad is going too fast. He was born in December, turned one in April, two in July and he’s halfway to three in August.
I’m always there. I loved every moment of those late nights. He sings to my music as he slaps at the string on my guitar in the corner of the room. Just how amazing he is blows my mind every day.
Those beautiful moments are every day and yet I feel like I remember so very few of them.
I worry that when he is turning ten I will remember precious little of his earliest years.
Because I am not present.
Because even though I am there for every moment and every song he sings, and I laugh and sing along, I am preoccupied in my mind.
I am worried about the house, or the bills, or my next promotion.
I worry about my parents and my brother, I worry about my wife and her family who is also my own.
I don’t think that any of these things are undeserving of my attention, but focus tends to bleed out when it is stretched thin.
I may not be thinking of mowing the lawn when I watch my son sing his little nonsense songs.
But when it follows so close on the heels that you forget the moment, whats the difference?
I have missed portions of my boys life, not through inattention but lack of presence.
Be present for the moment. Savor it. Dwell on it. Memorize the little moments that are our reason for living in the first place.
Plan for the future, take time to deal with it and make arrangements, even if it’s just for tomorrow, and then learn to put it away until you need it.
I’ve always thought that sayings like “live right now” were silly and unnecessary but there is a grain of truth there.
It’s easy to forget the moment.
I promise to savor every song my boy sings.