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Time Is Not On Your Side

Stopwatch

Time Is Not On Your Side

Kids and Parenting

Dear Friend,

My wife and I talked the other day about priorities.

Out of that conversation came a very powerful point.  There are two things in our lives that cannot be put off, no matter how pressing are other matters.  These two things are time with our children and time with our elderly parents.

In a very short time our kids will be grown.  And no matter how hard to believe, the chaos in our lives will end.  Things will soon be much quieter.  And more lonely, too, I suspect.

In too few years our elderly parents will be gone.  This is the last time that we and our kids will be able to spend with semi-active grandparents.

No matter how bad the economy, or how pressing other things might be in our lives, we really have no choice.

I like to imagine myself in the distant future, wondering what past decisions that I might regret, or might see as short-sighted.  The one decision that screams out at me is whether we seize this fleeting opportunity with our loved ones.

I’m sure that you face a similar situation.  Most parents with young children do.  This is a big reason why we have chosen to live such an unconventional family lifestyle.

Today I can confidently say that I know my kids pretty well.  And they know me.  We have discovered it all – the good and the not-so-good – about each other.  And we experience all sorts of wonders through each other’s eyes.

Do we need a break from each other once in a while?  You bet.  But that’s easy to arrange.

Every time I think about being at some desk and missing out on this part of my life, I celebrate the fact that I left that path.  At this moment in my life, I am with my loved ones, where I’m needed most.

I hope you are able to craft a lifestyle that maximizes your quality time with your kids and your parents.  As much as I hate to hear it, the clock is ticking, and time waits for no one.

Best of luck,

Hugh

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • MikeLeonard November 14, 2010, 1:06 pm

    Hi Hugh, if you mean spending more time with them in their final years of life, I guess I understand.

    I am 40 and my mother and my wife’s parents are 69/70. My kids are 8, 5 and2. We will not be delaying our departure to spend more time with them. We will see them during major holidays and when we are back “home” for a visit. This is our life – OUR time with OUR kids is quickly coming to a close.

    How to balance? I don’t think there will be a perfect balance. Perhaps they can come visit us on the road when they feel like it. We’ve told them that the time we are visiting them should be more quality, since we’re not rushing back to our mortgage every day – we can stay longer. Perhaps that’s what you mean?

    I guess I feel this post splits me. Traveling and exploring with your kids vs staying put to be close to parents. Our parents have perhaps 7-10 good years left. My kids will be small adults by then. Maybe I don’t have all the information.

    Sorry if I sound like a cruel bastard.

  • Hugh DeBurgh November 14, 2010, 5:27 pm

    No Mike, you sound a lot like me.

    Sometimes I think that in my posts I’m preaching to myself – saying what I want to think instead of what I really think.

    I have made the same choice as you. We are away from my parents at least half the year, and will likely be away more in the coming years.

    I guess the key moments for me when this feeling grabs me is when I notice how my parents are aging fast. They never really seemed to age before, but now it shows. And my dad in particular wants to spend time with his grandchildren – but, of course, on his terms.

    We all have birth-family issues – as will our kids I suppose – though Lord knows I’m trying to minimize them if that’s possible. Whatever birth-family issues I still carry around I do my best to ignore. I just want my kids to know their grandparents.

    Does this mean that I put aside our family time and travels? No. I don’t think that is necessary. I’m always talking about quality time and focus being more important than the amount of time you spend with someone. Maybe being apart motivates our elderly parents to appreciate and maximize the time they do get with our kids – and with us too, perhaps.

    Anyway, thanks for your thoughts buddy. I really appreciate them.

    Hugh

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