Make a memory, and then revisit it often. That way you get double the joy from living in the present.
This past weekend my wife and I visited our Alma Mater, Emory University for Homecoming weekend. It was the first time in a while that we’d actually been back on campus since probably our eldest, Riley was a baby. I still have the video of us visiting the campus with her. This time it was the first trip for Olivia, currently our youngest. Overall, it was a great visit. The kids got to play, eat cotton candy and popcorn, and we got to take a trip down memory lane while walking around campus. Of course, we felt kind of old (our 10 year reunion is coming up next year) and the parade of fraternity and sorority members through campus only added to our feeling of maturity. Fortunately, there were a number of other young families there to share in this feeling.
Then, yesterday evening after a rushed dinner and bath-time to get the girls in bed, Riley opened her door to go to the bathroom. I was trying to watch the end of the exciting Seahawks- Broncos game so I wasn’t in any mood to be interrupted (I mean it was the fourth quarter for goodness sake!). So, I hurriedly helped her to the restroom, and then left her to make her way on her own back down the hall to bed. Minutes later (as Denver drove for the game tying touchdown no less), Riley was back at my door. Now both distracted and frustrated (mostly because of the game), I snapped at her and asked why she was back out of bed. Her reply? No one came to tuck me back in. Gulp. I wish I could say that I lovingly carried her into her room and gently tucked her in bed, my heart warmed from her innocent request. Instead, with overtime getting ready to start and only a few precious seconds to spare, I marched her quickly down the hall, tossed the cover on her and bounced out of the room. At least I remembered to say good night and I love you on the way out…
Later that evening I was talking to my wife about it and she reminded me that I better take advantage of these moments while they last. One day the script could be flipped. I might be the one wishing my daughters needed me, and they could be too busy to pay any attention. At the very least, how long will the requests for tuck ins last? Not much longer I guess. That also made me think about my own mother. I faintly remember her being the center of my world when I was really young. Nothing was better to me than simply crawling into her lap and giving her a kiss on the cheek. These are things I enjoy now with my own daughters. She’s an amazing woman when I pause to think about it, and I should tell her that more often.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, this weekend reminded me not to wait to long in between making memories and revisiting them often. And, don’t be too busy in the present to pause and appreciate the memories being made. I know sometimes as parents we’re tired, and the last thing we want to do is see the forest for the trees. But we have to in order to appreciate even the hectic seasons of early parenting. Life changes on us quickly, and sometimes memories are all we have left over. That’s why I write, take pictures, and make videos of so many moments. I need reminders of how sweet we really have it these days. Thank God for perspective.