I’ve always been obsessed with time – in lots of ways.
For example, I’ve often fantasized about the different ways that I could bend time at my whim. And because I love sleeping (who doesn’t?), one of my favorite uses of time would be to stop it. I would freeze it so that I could sleep as long as I want, take my time getting ready, and then arrive at my destination “on time” before hitting the resume button on my time-stopping clock.
Perhaps my favorite use of time would be to dial it back, but not with the popular desire of wanting to right the wrongs that I may have committed in the past. Instead, I’ve always loved the idea of being able to go back in time and experience monumental, earth-shattering, world-changing moments throughout history.
~ Attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Great Pyramid of Giza (assuming they had one of those ceremonies with a high school marching band and a local state delegate).
~ Standing in the middle of Times Square the day World War II ended.
~ Witnessing Michael Jackson’s moonwalk for the first time on network television.
Time is all the more precious for me today but in a much more special way. I love being a father. It has forever changed my life – not just in the way I live my life, but in the way I see the world around me. Since I have become a father, I realize that, if given the ability, I wouldn’t bend time at my whim to go back and experience the historical events of others’ accomplishments. Any revisited monumental moments would be deeply personal and specific to my daughter’s life.
I’d go back to the first time I met her and held her little hand. “Hi, Lily! I’m your dada. It’s so nice to meet you.” I remember saying these words like it was yesterday.
I’d go back to the first time I saw Lily smile.
The first time she took steps on her own.
I’d actually love to go back to the first time she called me “Dada” because I honestly can’t remember the exact moment.
The truth is, as you already know, I cannot speed, slow, stop, or bend time at my whim. This is a harsh reality but a reality nonetheless. I have come to accept that time keeps marching on, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
In most scenarios, it could be daunting and threatening to our experience that time, whose value we can never fully grasp, is slipping through our fingers. It is in the mundane day-to-day that we can get lost and not even notice its passage.
We wake up,
rush off to school,
pick up after school,
head to bed…
It’s a grind.
It’s relentless and nonstop.
But rhythm, routines, and patterns are key right? That’s what some parents say.
I choose to see things differently. I choose to perceive this “threat” of escaping time as an opportunity – an opportunity to slow down and be as present as possible. As I wade through the mundane day-to-day, it is my vow to regularly ask myself, “Are you being present right now?” There are certainly exciting things to look forward to, but those things will come in due time. Instead of mourning the past or dreading the future, I’ve learned to appreciate and actually enjoy the present day-to-day grind of my life with my daughter. It constantly reminds me to enjoy the NOW because truthfully, NOW is all we have.
What kind of legacy am I leaving behind for my little one? Although that’s yet to be discovered, I will certainly enjoy the ride along the way which is FULL of world-changing milestones. By God’s grace, the NOW moments will become past memories to cherish in my heart forever until new ones are made.
Guess what? I actually recorded the first time I met Lily moments after her superhero of a mother delivered her to the world. Wanna see?
Editor’s Note: Lily wants to tell you what’s special about her dada. Happy Father’s Day, Dante!