When I was growing up, it seemed like I just couldn’t wait. I was always looking forward to something. Always excited. I couldn’t wait for my birthday, for Halloween, for Christmas, for summer, to start high school, to graduate high school, to graduate college, to get a job, to get married, to have our own house. There was always something on the horizon. But after we got married it was like time stopped. For about six years nothing really changed. We went to work, we did tons of home improvement projects, we enjoyed each other’s company and we spent time with our family and friends. We were just coasting and going with the flow.
But after six years of marriage when Ellie was born, it’s like the clock started ticking again. Time didn’t feel like it was passing fast, but you could faintly hear the tic-toc in the distance. But after my good friend and neighbor Joe passed away, and then six months later my grandma left us, time has felt like a speeding freight train that has been increasing in speed at an exponential rate.
My grandma was my last surviving grandparent, and with her gone, we’ve all moved up a step on the generation ladder. All of a sudden I’m aware of my own mortality unlike I ever was before. My childhood memories (good and bad) feel further away now. As I try to grab onto them and hold them close, they just keep slipping out of my hands and get lost as time speeds by. That child in me feels like a ghost.
I’m very excited to relive these moments with Ellie and Chloe. The first day of school, building the first snowman, holidays, birthdays, the first bike rides, field trips, etc. Everything. I’m looking forward to it all. But when I realize that I will be on the other side, in my mind minutes turn into years and the panic sets in.
Of course I know my life will end at some point. But to be honest, right now, it makes me feel angry and terrified. Angry because I can’t stop it, and terrified at the thought of leaving my family. That whole concept of ‘forever’ can be quite frightening.
Not only am I mourning the passing of my friend and grandma, but also of everyone around me, and myself, knowing that one day I too we will be gone one day. I know it’s irrational and ridiculous. But it’s a real feeling and it’s choking me. I just want to gasp for air. I don’t want to miss anything and I don’t want to be on this speeding freight train anymore. Living in fear and dreading the future coming too quickly. I know that I can’t stop it, I accept that. But if I could slow it down to more of a parade’s pace it would seem so much more reasonable.
So my New Year’s resolution is to stop mourning, and to start living and celebrating. To take a deep breath, open my eyes, and intentionally experience the parade I call my life. I want to be in that parade, and dammit, I want to enjoy it!
Strike up the band, here comes the parade!
To read more stories from this stay-at-home dad, visit www.thegoodthedadandthebaby.com