My sister-in-law, Lindsey, and her man, Brandan, are very excited to welcome baby Charlie to their family! (Check out Lindsey's maternity photos here.) Everyone in the family is on Cloud 9 with the arrival of another baby boy! And I'm a very proud uncle!
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Time gets behind me so much faster than I want it to. It's a funny thing, time. I spent so much of my youth wanting to grow up. "If I was four inches taller, I could ride that super duper loopy roller coaster!" So I ate my veggies and grew four inches. I rode that ride seven times and it was awesome. "If I was sixteen, I could drive a car and go places I want to go." So I studied and practiced and aced the driving tests and got my license. I drove that car everywhere I could afford to go (which wasn't far on my income back then). "If I was eighteen, I'd be an adult and no one can tell me what to do." That still makes me laugh. "If I was twenty-one, I could get into that club." The list went on and on. I was full of "If I was".
And then something happened. In my twentieth year, my daughter was born. And suddenly, I wanted time to stop, or at least slow down to a crawl. Holding my newborn in my arms, my world did stop for a moment. Everything I thought was important before immediately changed. I realized that I held the most important thing in my arms, and that my family was everything.
I remember that moment with my newborn daughter vividly. Looking at her face, peacefully sleeping, I had a vision of my daughter at 18. She was a woman, her heart full of "If I was". I saw her leaving the house, going out into the world to face her future. My heart rose into a hard lump in my throat. I wanted to hold the second hand from moving forward. I wanted that moment to last forever. "I want to stay just as I am, as she is." I thought.
In her fifteenth year, I was remarried. And two years later, her brother was born. Again, I found myself sitting with my newborn. But this time, the world didn't stop. I already knew what was most important in life. My family. This time, however, with many years behind me, I was no longer the invincible young man I was when my daughter was born. I didn't have my entire life before me. I felt time fleeting by at an accelerated pace. I found myself worrying if I'd even be around for his eighteenth birthday! Again, I found myself thinking that I just wanted things to stay as they were in that moment. I still think that today!
Here's that little guy a few years ago:
Soon, my daughter turned 18. She was as I envisioned her so many years previously. It had all gone by so fast, even though I had wanted it to slow down. So much time got away from us and between us. Then she moved out of the house. She started a family of her own.
Just like that.
Two years later, we welcomed her second little brother into our lives and I felt the same way yet again. But there's just no stopping time. Our babies just grow up way too fast!
Time is short. Our time together in this world is fleeting. Life is busy and days are only so long. We find ourselves preoccupied with things that matter less. We miss out on so much.
I find it difficult to be present with my family sometimes. I have work and other tasks on my mind. I try to build this business and spend long hours in front of the computer editing, corresponding with clients, giving to others. It's hard, even in my down time, to disengage from these tasks and relish the moments I have with my children.
There are nights when they are lying in bed and I'm looking at their sleeping faces. I start to feel guilty that I didn't spend more time with them that day because I was distracted with other things. It seems that they've suddenly grown. They no longer look like babies or toddlers. Too soon, I know, they won't look like boys, but men. They already tell me, "No" and push to do their own things. I know they have their own, "If I was...".
But then I remember. I took the time to play hide-and-seek with them. We wrestled and rolled around on the floor. I helped them play superman on my feet. I sat with them and held them quietly. I kissed their boo-boo's. We laughed heartily together and shared hugs and kisses. We took time to relish was is ... now.
Last year, my wife's grandmother passed away. This year, my mom passed. Losing people you love makes time seem all the more unfair. And it also makes tomorrow a gift. There are so many times I wish I could get back now. So much time got away from us and between us. I miss my mom.
Our oldest son is now at the age when he's wrestling with the idea of death. Last night, he cried to me as we were lying in bed. He asked me if Grandma died. He went through the list of people close to him and told me he didn't want them to die. It broke my heart.
There are no certainties about tomorrow, folks. I may be in my early forties and there seems to be a lot of life left to live, but there's no guarantee. The years have a way of getting behind you and things get in the way of what is most important. I'm thankful that I've never lost sight of my family. Spending time with them is the most important thing to me. I know that, all too soon, these years will be gone.
So take time to go adventuring with your kiddos. Listen to their silly stories. Speak softly with them and listen to the birds. Swing with them on the playset. Go fishing together. Take lots of photos ... on your iPhone, point and shoot, or hire a professional - whatever, just capture the moments you can. Roll around on the floor and giggle until you cry. Play their favorite game with them. Have story time together.
Your kids think you're the most awesome person in the world. Slow down. Share this time with them. Share yourself with them in quiet time. Don't forget to show them what's most important to you. This moment is the most important you have. Don't let it get behind you without filling it with all the love you have.
In a flash, our boys are now 2 and 4. See? Time gets behind you. They're growing into two of the most awesome little guys I've ever known, though! They're kind, sensitive, opinionated, adventurous, funny ... I relish these moments in time with them. Time has given me the gift of loving them deeper and deeper. When tomorrow comes, I know I'll love them deeper still.
Make the most of the gift that is today! God bless!
Michelle and I are always up for something new, so when our clients told us they had a piece of driftwood and a fishing hat they would like to include in their newborn photographs, it got our "creative juices" going. We knew right away that our boat prop would fit with the items they wanted us to include, even though we weren't sure how we were going to use any of the props in a cohesive image.