I was at work last week and was showing a co-worker the blog. My co-worker is a mother of two boys, who are under 10 years old. She was looking at the photos of Liam, tiny as he is now, and saying “I’d give anything for my boys to be that small again – just for a few minutes.”
This statement struck me as odd, and I asked her why. For a moment, she had that faraway look and quietly said, “Oh, I don’t know, I guess it was just a special time. And then you blink and they are in school.”
Being the latest New Dad, I get a lot of advice from my coworkers and from my big family. Cherish this, enjoy that, remember this time. You’ll blink and he’ll be in college.
That one I get a lot.
I checked and in the last six weeks, I have shot about 30 minutes of video of Mr. Liam since he was born, most right after his birth. For a video guy like me, that’s not much (I’ve taken about 1,000 photos, however). So I’ve been doing more video lately, and shooting some really pedestrian stuff, like me holding Liam while he’s asleep, or while he’s fussing a bit on his own. And we finally got his really cute sneeze on tape. All are good moments.
Upon reflection, I realized why I thought my co-workers comment was odd to me. I really look at this time in his life as sort of something to “get through” until bigger moments arrive: talking, walking, and general participatory activity.
Right now, it’s basically lots of diaper changes, crying, lack of sleep (mostly for Savvy) and trying to figure out what he wants. He also has a bit of colic, so that can be a challenge as well. His quiet, playful times seem few and far apart.
Don’t get me wrong, I love having the little guy around and am so thankful he is healthy and (usually) happy.
But when out and about with him on a walk in the park, I see other parents with kids just a bit older. They are pushing them on the swing sets, giggling on the teeter-totter, and learning to play catch. Those are the days I look forward to.
However, I realize that looking forward is a trap as well, as it makes you forget about the present. A central tenet of Buddhism is to be mindful of the present, and I try to incorporate that into my busy life (although working in the news business helps).
To paraphrase Zen Master Yoda (yeah, from Star Wars): “always with you it is the future, the far horizon. Never your mind on where you are, what you are doing.” Or something like that. But that describes me sometimes, and probably most people. It is part of our consumer culture: show me the Next Big Thing.
So I am trying to focus on the present. Today is Sunday, and Liam woke up around 7:30 a.m. He was fussing and grunting, which means he has gas, so I gave him some Gripe Water with an oral syringe and that seems to help (as does farting). Then we listened to Air on my laptop on iTunes, with the visualizer on, which he loves to watch (we think it will give him mathematical superpowers).
Today, we have a few errands to run, nothing major, and later on, dinner with the folks. The future, as it were, soon to be the past. Now he is asleep, taking his morning nap. Mom is asleep as well, trying to pay down the large sleep debt. Soon enough he will be awake, hungry, with a poopy diaper and probably some gas that will make him cry and cry.
It is the present moment, and I am working to be mindful of the here and now, that which is, and not so much what will be. Soon enough, these days will be gone, never to return for Liam and his parents.