A reminder this Father’s Day: The little things are what matters
June 15, 2007
To most children, dads are fundamentally flawless. They are smarter than any teacher and stronger than any weightlifter. They are fearless and always know the right thing to do. But sometimes, in doing what they think is right, dads take a wrong turn. They don’t mean it. They just take a wrong exit on life’s highway while trying to find a map in the glove compartment.
The biggest challenge of any dad is trying to do it all, only to find that maybe you are lord over none of it all; or maybe just some of it all.
Balance is so very important to everyone’s life, but it needs to be critically important to dads. Balancing the juggler’s pins while rolling on a ball with one foot is an imminent accident that most dads are guilty of, though the juggle was of good intent.
In my moments of mid-life evaluation and self-criticism, I still blame myself for not entirely being around for my daughter, Leah, during her first four years. Not like I could have been and should have been.
Work was always so important. I know I did wrongly. There was just no balance then, and to this day as I confess, a vulture sits over the decay of lost time, feeding on my years of regret. I had to learn the hard way – God’s way of dropping the judgmental hammer of His complete control.
But even then it’s sometimes too late. Time may have already escaped with the virtues of the moments that are frozen in the past – those same moments that are missed when you’re running too fast, and your guard is down because your thoughts are so overwhelmingly consumed with overrated worries and apprehensions, and priorities that at the end of the candle’s light mean nothing.
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I think back at things I thought were so important, and they all proved in time to be worth no more than a moment of attention and concern. Have I learned anything? Yeah … yeah, I have. Did I become so bright to completely avoid making the same or different mistakes? About as bright as a New York City sewer. If mistakes never existed, I’d probably invent them. I watch videos of my daughter when she was a baby, and for one moment – just one moment – I wish that I’d be granted some magical power to reach into the TV screen and pull her out, and with her, the time that was lost, and I’d spend all of that time with her. Play with her. Pick her up, and fully and unconditionally enjoy that once-in-a-lifetime that goes by all too quickly.
One of life’s sick jokes is lost time; wasted time; misused time. But who’s laughing? We all know the joke. It’s as old as air. But somehow, someway, some of us still walk face first into the fist of the punch line, and it always seems to hurt just as much as the time before – maybe more so, because we should have known better by the second time around.
Happy Father’s Day to all dads, with the hope for fulfillment of that one big wish that we gain full and unstoppable awareness of the small things that really mean most in life as we try to carry the big things that will prove to mean so little to us at death.
• John DiMambro is publisher of the Nevada Appeal. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org