Today my middle son turns nine. Yesterday he and I ran a 5K together. I’m not sure if his sticking with me stride for stride had more to do with his prowess or my decline, but either way I was proud of him (that was the second time he’s done that!). He is surely the most determined person in our family, with the possible exception of our dog Charlie when he doesn’t want to be brought inside the house and someone pulls into the driveway and he makes me chase him for 10 minutes around the yard like a fool in front of the visitor. In the race, my son told me that he set goals and he met them all – running the entire time and beating me. In a different setting I call that his stubbornness and it can just about send me over the edge, but perhaps out in the real world it’s not such a bad thing. I’m not sure where he gets it from, but I don’t think it’s me.
Last night my wife and I watched a romantic comedy she picked up at Redbox called About Time. I wasn’t sure what to expect other than it had something to do with time travel and it had Rachel McAdams in it. I kept confusing it with The Time Travelers Wife, but apparently that is another one. This ended up being a bit like a movie I really like, Notting Hill (same director), but with the slight twist of time travel to mix it up a bit. It was a cute movie but what I took away from it was the idea that at the end of the day, when your years are mostly behind you, perhaps the time that one might want to travel back to the most is when your kids are young and still want to walk with you along the beach, still hold your hand when you cross the street, and tuck them into bed with a hug and a kiss. What hit me as the movie closed, was that time is now.
It’s a lot easier to get caught up in the madness, which at first glance seems to be constant. The yelling, the three conversations at once, the constant complaining and arguing. The resisting, the pushing, the defying the boundaries. That tends to wear us down and dull our senses to the sparkle of it all.
If you had the chance to soak in every day, to, in the form of the movie, go back again and do each day over again so that you weren’t overwhelmed and caught off guard by every little moment, but rather know what was coming and recognize the magic in each occurrence and savor it – wouldn’t that be an amazing thing. I’d sign up for that in a second, rather than just letting so much pass us by, too caught up in the bustle to breathe it all in.
Obviously, the movie is just fiction and in the real world we must take things as they come, but I wonder if it might just work to try to take a step back, get a little distance from the mayhem, and just open wide our eyes a bit more and soak things in before they all are past us in a moment.
As I played outside with my son and a few of his friends this afternoon in a beautiful 65 degree March Virginia day, I tried to do that. When he woke up this morning, I talked to him in his bed. He told me he dreamed that the whole day went by and no one remembered his birthday. I told him that wasn’t true and it was just a dream. He looked up at me and gave me a big hug. “I know, Dad, it’s already different.” I think this could be one of those time travel days that I’d come back to again and again.