Thursday, March 20, 2008
Sometimes being selfish isn’t such a bad thing.
I realized this while watching all four of my kids play touch-football on a Florida beach last week while the sun was setting in the background. The selfish proclamation wasn’t a result of the way they were playing together; it was, instead, a result of the fact they were playing together at all.
Now that my kids are at the ages between almost adolescent and already adult, I have had to share them with every club, team, event and organization imaginable. Truthfully, I am pleased they are involved in various organizations and I certainly don’t need them around me 24/7; but occasionally there comes a time when each of us parents just don’t want to share our kids… for at least a little while.
And that’s where I was a couple of weeks ago.
I share my oldest child with the world in general, but specifically Miami University.
I share my next daughter with cheerleading, musicals, and of course, her cell phone.
I share my two boys with the baseball schedules that seem tailored-made for the child who happens to be an only child of very wealthy parents.
I was simply tired of sharing.
And so when my daughter’s Miami spring break coincided with my own spring break, which coincided with Grandma and Grandpa’s month in Florida, I began to fantasize about the whole family all going off together to stop that incessant sharing with others.
But I hesitated.
Would the teachers of the ones who were not on spring break be upset?
Would the drama director for the one who had to miss some practices get angry?
Would the baseball coaches of the ones who had to miss workouts and conditionings understand enough not to penalize the players?
Somehow that hesitation managed to push me over the edge enough to make the necessary decision. I guess the idea of having to ask for permission to take my own children on a family vacation was enough motivation to decide to do just that.
The next thing I knew, I was on a balcony at sunset in Florida, watching my four kids running, passing, tumbling, laughing. With only each other.
I stared at the moving silhouettes of these four people I love so much, marveling at how they were simply loving being together.
Soon the world will come again to occupy my kids. And I will be able to share them –--quite happily even, at times. But for that moment on that beach, in the afterglow of the day’s sun, nothing else interfered.
Perhaps I simply looked too long at the setting sun, but I soon had tears in my eyes.
As quickly as the sun set that night and disappeared into the ocean, the impromptu football game was over. With that same intense speed, so too will pass the years of childhood that at one time seemed to promise to be here forever.
But when I closed my eyes after that Florida night, I could still see remnants of the glow of the sun long after it set.
And with that same technique, in the future both near and far, I plan on being able to conjure up the site of four brothers and sisters laughing, playing, and just being brothers and sisters. And the best part is, I know they, too, will be able to conjure up that same memory for years to come.
Sometimes sharing isn’t such a bad thing after all.