I am pretty sure that my views and thoughts that I am about to share are either warped or certainly not taken serious by many. We will see how many times I change the words that end up in this post, but I know the thoughts behind the words will be the same. At least for a little while. Or, maybe they’ll stay the same for good. Maybe they have always been the same and it was just perspective I lacked.
Here we go. It’s all about the kids. So when did I transform from me the dreamer or career chaser to the guy who pursues all he can regarding his kids? I can honestly say that as much as I may or may not have a clue on this subject now, I certainly have a better idea on this than I did 20 years ago. Which makes me wonder just how bad a dad I was back then. Actually I really don’t know if I want to know that answer. As a matter of fact, I am not sure I would pass a dad test from the dad handbook in any era. I just do the best I can, and when I think about it, I realize best is constantly negotiable because my best today won’t be as good as the best I find a week from now.
Anyways. I have hopes. I have dreams. I have desires. I have things I would rather do at times. I have my moments. Then I have “Family First” written and hanging on my fridge and a picture in my head of Adam Sandler lying in the rain, dying on the pavement. I try to never miss anything with/for our kids. Seriously. Are their lives more important than mine? Or is it that my life’s importance is proportionately related to the place my family, my kids, hold within my priorities? There’s God. There’s family. There’s country. Then there’s me, career, job or whatever. I admit I get these out of order at times. Sometimes I put family too high. Sometimes I put the value of human goodness higher than it should be. Or maybe it should be that high. After all, human goodness is second only to Godliness isn’t it? Sometimes I let God slip from #1 in my ranks. I have done better. I will continue to do better. If I could bleed red, white, and blue, I would. If I could go back in time and fight alongside the best this country has ever seen, I would. If I could thank each and every person who made sacrifices allowing the USA to be great, I would. If I can teach my kids to respect these things and prioritize accordingly, then maybe the USA can be great again.
As for the kids, I don’t want to miss anything they do. Games, practices, events, anything they’re involved in, I want to be there. Not to be seen. I am perfectly happy to be in my own corner taking in the wonder that is my child, their age matters not. That’s my kid out there! I don’t need to tell anyone that, but sometimes I still do. Proudly. My heart races faster than when I was the kid in whatever the scenario is when I see my kid out there doing that scenario. Their resiliency is refreshingly present much more than I give it credit for. There I sit or stand watching, smiling inside, yelling my fool head off internally, pulling for my child. They don’t need to be the best, that pursuit is up to them, they just need to be the best them they can be. Maybe I am too much. Maybe.
Think about this. Think about your own upbringing and how much time you spent as a kid away from home. Think about your schedule back then. If you are less than 30 years old then think about your parents schedule growing up and where they spent most of their time. #1 was home. We were never as busy running around as our kids do nowadays. For the most part we buy in to this pace, we almost have to for our kids to be involved in anything. In this age of fast-food, drive-thru everything, and instant gratification, so goes our schedule. So, if the time spent isn’t around our dinner table, or in our living room, or even in the pews of our church, then I will go to where the time is being spent. For many reasons, not the least of which is, that when I am old(er) and my last breath approaches, it will be my wife, my kids, my family that will be there. This circle of people, who I can consciously decide to prioritize in the present, and spend my waking hours with in real-time, are the ones who will be gathered, praying, rejoicing, when I go Home to be with our Lord. Yes, maybe some friends will be there, maybe some folks I have worked with, etc. But if you have family, and I do, they come first, only behind God. Period.
And when there are times for us to be home together, we will be. Quantity matters some, but quality is way better. Ten minutes of sincere interaction can be a lot better than half a day of being in the same vicinity as one another because the house is only so big. My two oldest boys just returned to college this month, Steve on January 2nd, and Ryan on January 10th. Their departure left a void again. Even though I would selfishly rather have spent more time with them while they were home, I was so happy to have the times that I did. And most parents might agree that there’s nothing quite like the feeling of knowing that any minute could be the minute one of the kids pops in to grab a bite to eat, or to ask a question. I am fortunate. I had a 19 yr old and an 18 yr old just hanging here at times, maybe because of a lack of other things to do, but I choose to think this is where they’d rather have been. Family first.
So, to answer my own question, maybe a little anyway, I don’t think it’s too much. Until my sons and daughters are old enough to make their way through life on their own then I will be there. As often as I can. Present and participating. I know they’ll be fine on their own. I can still watch though. As long as I am alive they’ll never be fully on their own because I can always pray. It’s all about the kids. Tomorrow when I wake up, I will thank God for the day and the many blessings I have. I will cherish my wife. And, I also will remember it’s all about the kids.