If we could really count the cost of parenting before we became parents, would we still make that decision? Brian Reinholz would.
A thought hit me the other day.
I had just walked into the house after another long, relatively stressful day at the office. My 2-year-old smiled and ran over to see me. I dropped my computer bag off and plopped down on the rug, picked up some colorful plastic, and began role-playing with him.
And then that thought … what would I be doing now if he wasn’t here?
There’s that nagging voice that says … what about your time … you worked hard all day, you should get a break … if he/she/the world understood how stressful your job can be nobody would expect this of you.
But no… that’s not right. All I have is this one moment and the decision of how to invest this moment. Is it so hard to smile, to engage, to give it to the ones I love?
Perhaps it is … queue clichés about how parenting is sacrifice and the hardest job in the world and you never hear thank you and blah blah blah.
Then we’re out on the swings, up the slide, down the slide, up again, and playing in the leaves.
Another thought hits me: Will he even remember these times? Does this time together matter?
And I realize … of course it does. It matters more than the six-figure problems at the office. So breathe, Brian, relax, and live in the miracle of now. This moment is ours to cherish or it is ours to begrudge, to drown in worry, or might-have-beens.
Sometimes giving is a lot more getting.
“Paternal Pauses” is a reoccurring feature on Dads & Families for those shorter, reflective moments and insightful narratives on fatherhood. Submissions are open.
Image: Flickr/ a_whisper_of_unremitting_demand