The pic above is a picture of me and my dad in the late 70’s.
This morning we woke up to an 8 year old son. Eight years ago last night my wife was in labor giving birth just past midnight on the 12th. We have 4 kids. Our oldest is my 20 year old daughter and will be getting married in a couple weeks. My 18 year old son just graduated high school in May. The 16 year old boy is driving and doing the high school thang. Then we have the youngster. Being 43 and having lived a pretty darn full life I have much to reflect on when days like this roll around. I also have some wisdom to share. Stop sprinting. What I mean by that is cherish each moment of each day. As you age you’ll tend to slow your roll and smell the roses more. You’ll look back on life and think about how fast you’ve run to get where you are now. Was it worth it? My wife posted this on her Facebook this morning and kinda put a frog in my throat as I read the truth that stands behind it.
“When you first have children they talk about the challenges of parenting….the struggles of a baby waking in the night,
the toddler who won’t stay in their bed, the cost of childcare, injuries from sports…
Having to take off work to pick them up from school when they don’t feel well, helping them with homework, a messy house, the never ending laundry, the cost to buy school clothes, packing their lunches….
You watch their eyes light up on Christmas morning….and try to soak in the magic of those moments.
You coach them in sports, rushing to practices and ballgames…and tote them all over the country to let them play the game they love…no matter how exhausting or expensive it becomes.
Life is just so busy that you rarely even stop to think what the end of those days look like.
In fact, it’s not really even something you can wrap your mind around.
You go into it thinking that 18-20 years sounds like a long time….
Then suddenly hours turn into days…days into months…and months into years.
That little person that used to crawl up next to you in bed and cuddle up to watch cartoons…suddenly becomes this young adult who hugs you in the hallway as they come and go.
And the chaos and laughter that used to echo throughout your home….gets filled with silence and solitude.
You’ve learned how to parent a child who needs you to care for and protect them….but have no clue how the whole “letting go” thing is supposed to work.
So you hold on as tight as you can…wondering how time passed so quickly…feeling guilty that you missed something….
Because even though you had 20 years…..it just somehow doesn’t seem like it was enough.
You ask yourself so many questions…
Did you teach them the right lessons?
Did you read them enough books as a child?
Spend enough time playing with them?
How many school parties did you have to miss?
Do they really know how much you love them?
What could I have done better as a parent?
…..When it’s time for them to go, it all hits you like a ton of bricks.
And all you can do is pray….hope….and trust that God will protect them as they start to make their way into the world alone.
Parenting is by far the most amazing experience of your life….that at times leaves you exhilarated….while others leave you heartbroken.
But one thing is certain…..it’s never enough time…💕
So for all the parents with young children…who’s days are spent trying to figure out how to make it through the madness…
Exhausted day in and day out…
Soak. It. All. In.
Because one day….all those crazy days full of cartoons, snuggles, sleep overs, Christmas morning magic, ballgames, practices and late night dinners…
All come to an end.
And you’re left hoping that you did enough right, so that when they spread their wings….
I’ve traveled a LOT in my life being in the Army, working for Uncle Sugar and for pleasure. I sprinted so much trying to ensure that we would be taken care of financially. As I look back now I think about all the teaching moments I’ve missed with my kids. A couple years ago my daughter said something to me that I’ll never forget. She was spot on and it radically changed my path in life. She was probably 18 or so and had an issue with something. I was surprised that she didn’t know how to overcome it and I said, “I’m sorry. I thought I taught you how to do that”. She looked at me and said, “It’s alright, dad. You were never around much anyway”. Talk about a punch in the gut!! I know a lot of guys who are running around the world protecting American interests and defending our way of life. That’s very honorable and very selfless. Many of those same guys have young kids at home. I feel a bit sad for them because they are walking the same path I walked. One day their kids will be grown and moving out of the house. They’ll stand there watching their kid pull out of the driveway, scratch their head and think to themself, “What the hell just happened”? Yep! They’ll be gone and whatever tools you put in their toolbox of life is what they’ll have to work with. Be it many tools or only 1 or 2. Keep that in mind. This life absolutely BLOWS by! We are not what’s important. It’s our legacy. Our kids and how we train them and the tools we give them to go out and do life.
The following is a short vid of me returning from one of my long trips “over the pond”.
You may be reading this and think, “Bro, it’s all good. Don’t sweat it. No need to have regrets”. I don’t have any regrets. All my kids are alive and well. I have a smokin’ hot brilliant wife and I’m happy. The point is this. Shut off the TV in the evenings and spend that time getting to know your kids, heck, and your spouse! It’s OK to have that “Me time” and go golfing, hiking, shooting or whatever with your friends. You deserve it. It’s also OK to include your kids. Teach them what fellowship with good people is. The bar scene? Yeah, biggest waste of money ever. Been there, done that, have the scars. That time and money could be spent investing in deeper relationships with those who really matter.
Remember this, how we “train” our children is how they will train our grandchildren. If you neglect them, they’ll neglect their own. If you invest in them and spend time with them they’ll do the same to their own. You are creating a legacy everyday, good or bad, and it’s making lifelong impressions on your little ones.
I hope you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read! Maybe it’s made you think a bit and now you realize you need to adjust fire. It’s never too late to make a course correction. I’m 43 and my course correction was just a couple years ago. Better late than never. Please, Like, Share and Subscribe!!! Have a great day!!