There are moments when I find myself wishing Lex was a little older and able to do different things. There are also other times when my responsibilities with regards to Lex seem too large to be able to maintain a work-life-sleep balance. In those moments of weakness, the trials of parenthood, I find myself wishing I wasn’t such a hands-on dad (such as when I’m changing another poopy diaper), or rather that I had a few less responsibilities (such as always getting up with Lex during the night and in the mornings). However, when those moments pass I recognize that I am quite pleased with the way things are. In fact, I recognize that truly, they grow up so fast and the best I can do now is to explore and enjoy the journey in the present. Let me try to share the thought process that leads me to this conclusion.
Wishing to Return to Past Times
Looking through photos of Lex is always enjoyable. Doing so can also be surprising because it sparks feelings of nostalgia about tough times. Some of those photos were taken during times that seemed very difficult when they were happening. However, those photos can make me want to go back to Lex when he was at that point in time. They make me want to go back to those times which seemed so difficult at the moment.
When I recognize this longing for the Lex of the past I learn something very valuable about the present. If its possible for me to miss Lex of the past and the parenting experiences of the past, especially from very difficult trials of parenthood, then perhaps I didn’t fully appreciate those past times and Lex as he was at those points in time. Conversely, perhaps I did enjoy those moments to the fullest extent possible as they were happening, and yet I still wish I could jump back to a particular point in time.
Enjoy and Record the Present
Either possibility ultimately leads to the same conclusion: If I can miss my child’s past self or my past parenting experiences there is nothing I can do to bring those experiences back, the best that I can do is to appreciate and experience the present to the fullest. I should also learn from this that I should make regular efforts to record the present through photos, videos, and journal entries (but never to the point that either impeded enjoyment of the present). If I enjoy photos of the past now, I will certainly enjoy the photos of the present in the future.
Therefore, I should push out wishes that Lex would grow up faster. I should trust my own experience and that of most parents and accept that truthfully “they grow up so fast” already. So what if Lex isn’t ready for international travel. There is so much that he does now that is so much more enjoyable over the long run then a fleeting two-week trip abroad.
Enjoy the Ride – They Grow Up So Fast
I know that there are trials (terrible twos) ahead of us, but if I can remember this conclusion I’ll learn to find the enjoyment in the present, so that after the struggles I’m not left with regrets that I didn’t appreciate the moment. If I can make this conclusion a part of my core beliefs I will definitely be a better dad. I will be more solidly on the path of responsible fatherhood.