I am a 47-year-old father with a wife of 21 years and two sons – Andrew, 17, and Ross, 12. I also have another child: an advertising agency that I gave birth to in 1988 – one that has delivered its share of joy, frustration, challenges, and sleepless nights.
For many years, the agency required a lot of care and nurturing, preventing me from spending a lot of time with my family. Nonetheless, I have a deep love for my boys and have often told them so.
This summer I had the good fortune of being able to take a three-week vacation in Hawaii with my family. Several years ago, I introduced my 17-year-old to boogie boarding, and while we don’t live near the coast, riding the waves has become a joint interest that we enjoy together whenever possible. This vacation, spent on Sunset Beach on the north shore of Oahu, was no exception.
Toward the end of our vacation, I began reflecting about the hours of fun we’d had together. I also began looking into the future, and I realized that soon, my 17-year-old would be winging off on a life of his own and that the fun we’d enjoyed together on this vacation might never again be repeated because of where we each were in our respective stages of life.
I cried. Off and on for several days, I cried. The thought of this intense joy we’d shared together coming to an end was unbearable.
Then I began to wonder: How many parents have the opportunity to take a three-week vacation with their family? How many parents have a relationship with their children especially their teenagers that they truly enjoy? How many parents have an activity (like boogie boarding for us) that actively engages them in hours of enjoyment with their children?
It was then that I realized I am truly blessed. And it was then that I realized I must share this story with others especially other parents to remind them that THE most precious time is the time spent engaged with our children in fun activities.
How long has it been since you took a real vacation? How long has it been since you shared activities with your family that brought intense pleasure to all? How much more time do you have before one of your kids leaves home, leaving you filled with regret for not taking more time to love life together?
Your heart will provide the answer. And then instinctively you will know what to do. May you make the right choices, and may you be blessed with the rewards.