Thursday, September 18, 2008

The days are long, but the years are short.

Last night I had a chance to talk with a friend of mine from church. He is the young father of an adorable little boy. Owen had just celebrated his first birthday and my friend was marveling at how fast the last year seemed to have passed by. He asked if I remembered how it felt when my son turned a year old. I said I did remember my oldest turning one, and I couldn't believe it was so long ago. It seemed like yesterday.

I shared with my friend a phrase I learned not long ago that sums up this feeling quite well;

The Days are long, but the Years are short.

Every day we have with our children is a gift from God. Don't get me wrong, there are days I feel like trying to find that receipt so I could return these gifts, but in almost every case, I find most of the problem is the guy in the mirror.

When my wife and I brought our first child into this world, I remember thinking, I am a parent now, this is my job. First and foremost, I am a father. Looking back on those years past, I find myself dwelling on my failures as a parent. The many times I lost my temper, the many more times I was 'too tired' to play with my children , something I promised myself I would not do. For most of my son's first few years I was working all the time, I needed to, I was broke. I worked out of town for weeks on end, by the time I came home, I was spent. Those years were tough, on the whole family.

However, when my introspection subsides, I step back and really look at my son and daughter. I realize how wonderful they are, in spite of my shortcomings as a parent. That is when another reality hits me. I am amazed at how much of their young lives have already passed by, time I can never get back.

Every summer, I always want to take my son to an A's game , and every fall, I realize we didn't make it, again. I promise to take my daughter down to the aquarium in Monterey, but we haven't made that trip either. Even now when I have a steady, stable job with fixed hours, I am still overwhelmed with all the things that pull me in every direction, all at the same time. At the end of some days, I am so wrapped up with my life, I forget about my first job, my real job, being a father to my children and a husband to my wife.

Time to stop, time to put first things first. Time to make more time for my family. Life is happening right now, right in front of us. Don't let it pass you by.

The Days are long, but the Years are short.


Katie said...


Joe D said...

Is there enough time? Would there be enough time if the days were 36 hours long (or short) instead of 24? Would I still come home and say, “can you give me a minute? I just walked in the door.”

I asked my husband just night before last “how did we end up with such good kids?” He looked at me and said, “I have no idea.” My question now is, will they always be good kids? Will they succumb to peer pressure and bad influences? Will we always be able to protect them from the evils lurking around every corner? Will they talk to us when they need to talk to somebody? Will I say, “Can you give me a minute?” when its really important is it ever NOT really important?

We have great kids (really great). Respectful, honest, GATE students, great athletes, excel at everything they do, busy-always. Volleyball, horses, 4H, all at the same time and they still keep fabulous grades, do their chores, help whoever needs it and make good choices. Pause…will they always make good choices? Will they make the same good choices when we are not there to deliver consequences? Will they learn the hard way, as many have, that those are the wrong choices? Will they be like I was (Lord help me!)? Will they be like my husband was (Lord help me more!)? If they do make wrong choices, will they recover or will they stay in the rut and allow those choices to run the rest of their lives? Will they turn out like “so-and-so”?
My Dad tells me that he is worried about me…yep, about me!! Always run, run, run…need to slow down kid! I say, and then what? Then my children sit idle at home and do what? while my husband and I are at work and there at 6-10 kids at my house? Idle hands do the devils work I tell him and then I try to explain to him that if they have options to do productive things it will better their chances of NOT making the wrong choices. If we run, run, run them around here, there, everywhere doing the things they long to do (and that we Love to watch them do) then they won’t have time to make bad choices. True or false? I don’t know the answer, but I do know that right now they are making good choices.
We are very fortunate in our lives that we have a very large friends and family base chalk full of REALLY GREAT PEOPLE, who have kids that make good choices. People who themselves make good choices. I have often asked myself how we got so lucky…what did we do to deserve to be surrounded by only genuinely fabulous people?
My children are now 13, 11 and soon to be 4 years old. Mouthy darn teenagers, what did I do that they are so mouthy? No Yolocowboy, that was a rhetorical question, no response needed. What I would like to know is can I borrow the instruction manual that you have? I seem to have misplaced mine. Maybe I’ll find it when I locate my mind…back in 1995!! Until then we will plug along praying that each and every choice and decisions that WE make is the right one for our children. We will continue to feel guilty when we are unable to attend, or when we choose not too, we will feel guilty when we say “No”, again and again and again, we will be tired (Lord, so tired), we will wonder when we say “Yes” if is the right answer, and the we will pray some more☺