Friday, April 22, 2011
Time For Me
Well, I hope you are enjoying “Father Feature.” It is interesting to think about what I might share and to put thoughts and feelings in writing knowing that anyone in the world might read them. Today I thought I would share something very personal in the hopes that it might help someone learn from my experience in a way that might make an immediate difference in actions that will occur today, tomorrow, and forever. This experience has done that for me and continues to remind me each day of ways that I can change.
The night of January 21, 2011 seemed like any other night for our family. I had been playing with the kids earlier and Bennett was taken to bed by mom. Later it was my turn and I did my usual routine that involved getting Ashton settled. This night he needed a diaper change. I did it in his bedroom on his bed because it was convenient. I tried really hard not to disturb Bennett. He was sleeping in his crib in the same room. I had been working on a presentation I was scheduled to give the following Sunday. I had been collecting notes and I was anxious to get back to it. Well, I finished changing Ashton and I was not successful at leaving Bennett undisturbed. Ashton wasn’t exactly quiet and Bennett sat up and looked over at us in a half sleep half awake mode as I tried to get Ashton to fall asleep. It only lasted a few seconds and I remember thinking, “Please go back to sleep Bennett.” He lay back down and did just what I had hoped for and I stayed with Ashton for a few more minutes to make sure he was sound asleep before returning to my bed. I don’t really remember anything that occurred after that that night.
How I wish I could change that night. I will forever remember looking over at Bennett that night hoping that I would be able to return to my bed quickly instead of having to pick up Bennett to put him back to sleep. I should have seen and acted upon a moment that I cannot take back in a very different way. If I would have gone over and picked him up or even just shifted him a little to make him more comfortable I would have had some final moments that I would have treasured. Instead I have a regret. It isn’t a small regret. The crib where he slept is now in storage and I will not be laying him down after holding him tight for a very, very long time.
Silently (or maybe not so silently) we may think, if only I had more “time for me.” I thought that was what I needed that night. The interesting thing is that more “time for me” doesn’t exactly have the same meaning as it did before. The best “time for me” is time that I spend dedicated to loved ones. Most particularly I speak of my wife and children. A hug, an act of service, a note written, a kind word spoken, a mealtime, special event, and so forth. I wish I could have more “time for me” with Bennett. I missed some of that in the last moments of his life. The next time I held him, he was lifeless. I am trying to remember each and every moment the “time for me” lesson. I don’t ever want to create a regret like this again. I want to give time where its effects will be most valuable and where the impact will be the most lasting.
I promised that I would share something very personal in the hopes that it might help someone learn from my experience in a way that might make an immediate difference in actions that will occur today, tomorrow and forever. There is a series of commercial spots that I really like. You may have seen them. I think they emphasize a small part of what I am trying to say. This is one that I can relate to (click here). Take some time to view a few, have a laugh and consider what “time for me” means to you.