The last thirty days with my children have, as always, been both bizarre and beautiful. The exercise of writing about them every single day, no matter what, come weekends or weddings, has been truly eye opening for me. It has forced me to examine my children more closely. It has forced me to engage in a more aggressive fashion. That isn’t to say that I was detached before, but simply to say that there is always room to grow.
My wife and I saw a billboard today that said, “You don’t have to be a perfect person to be a perfect parent”. My wife takes a bite of her burrito and says, “There is no such thing as a perfect parent”. And she’s right. You just try your best, everyday, every hour, every passing moment… because they are always getting older and those moments are forever slipping away, getting trapped in photographs and videos that you will cling to dearly. They become the things you run to if your house ever catches on fire; your memories of The Best Times.
There have been many firsts that we’ve seen this month for both of the kids, some written about, some not. Quinn’s two word sentence structure, “Where Mommy?”, Rory getting stuck on the sink, their very first Flaming Hot Cheeto. But it has also made me realize that with every first, there is a last, many of which have already befallen us. Their last bottle, their last sink bath. For my wife, the last time she breast fed them.
These things slip in and out of our lives, monumental moments that we tend to treat with a passing fancy while devoting all of our time and energy to That Big Email or That Big Phone Call or That Big Meeting. Finding a proper balance between being The Dad and The Husband and The Worker can be an all consuming job but it is the job that I (we) have all taken up willingly and now must (MUST) do our very best at. There are no do-overs. There are no try-agains. There are no I’ll-Do-Better-Next-Times. There is only now. Today. This Moment.
When your child hugs your knees, bend down and hug him back, furiously and without abandon. Squeeze the very breath from his lungs and breathe in the scent of his hair and the softness of his skin. When your daughter wants to sit next to you on the tub and brush her teeth with you but you’re late for work, take the grand God-given opportunity that has been presented before you and revel in it.
Rory and Quinn, now I speak directly to you. Know that if anything ever happens to me, I tried my best. I loved you with everything I had, I gave it all to you and I held nothing back. I taught you how to walk and how to talk. I put you in my lap when I backed the car down the driveway; sometimes one of you, sometimes both of you. I bathed with you and I changed your diapers. I ate peas for you… I hate peas… but I ate mounds and mounds of them to show you that vegetables are healthy.
I do this because I love you.
With all of my heart. With all of my soul. And with all of my strength.
And the only thing I ask in return… is that you pass that enthusiasm on to your own children.
As always, with love,