This is me.
This is me in the car with my daughters.
I took this picture within the last week.
But I have no recollection of where we were going or where we had been. If not for this picture, I wouldn’t have known this happened. I don’t remember.
It’s just a snapshot. A moment.
These moments happen everyday, and most of them – sadly – I do not remember. It’s why I take so many pictures; because when you’re a parent of three kids you barely have the energy to take it all in. It just happens.
Things happen; moments happen. And they don’t stick – at least with me they don’t. That’s what happens when you get older. Moments, that stick, become fewer and far between.
But I know, for a fact, that they will stick with my kids.
You see the smallest one there? She won’t remember anything from this age.
The middle one (in the middle there) – probably a few key moments but not much.
The oldest is at the age where I am sure there are key moments that are defining her – moments that I have forgotten – that will stick with her forever. Probably some moments I’m not proud of.
I used this picture, even though it’s not great, because it is a moment. It is my children’s childhood. And I want to see this moment. I want to feel this moment and let it sink in.
What is it like for them?
Are they happy?
The thing is… if I stop to think about it, my daughters cry often – and loud.
The thing is… most of the time, if you asked me – I would say I am a good parent and we are doing ok.
The thing is… most of the time… these moments pass by without me really thinking twice about them. So really – I have no idea.
I love my girls, but I yell at them, sometimes.
I love my girls, but I am selfish and mean, sometimes.
I love my girls, but I ignore them and stare at my phone, sometimes.
I love my girls, but I’m a downright terrible person, sometimes.
And I know that they will remember some of those moments. Some of those moments where I failed them… where I was too stressed and too tired to hold it together. The moments where I said something that I probably didn’t mean, to them or to their mom, and it will stick with them… forever. Moments where they were trying to tell me something – and I missed it.
But I hope more than anything else, that there are other moments. Better moments.
Moments where we embrace. Loud crazy moments where we dance, or have tickle fights and fall on the couch bursting in tears from laughing. Quiet moments reading in bed, or watching a movie, or taking a walk through the trees. Moments where we sing at the top of our lungs together. High fives. Hugs. Kisses.
I hope they remember those moments.
I hope they know that I live for those moments. The working, the stress… the sleepless nights, the tears, the fighting – it’s all the things we endure to experience those special moments.
Love is not a feeling. Love can not be conjured through poetry, art and music. Love is not about words that you say, or a touch, or a moment. Love is the collection of moments, over time, that a family, friends, lovers, sisters, brothers – experience together. The good and the bad. The hard and the easy. The remembered and the forgotten. Love is formed through the moments we share during this lifetime. It is earned.
I love my daughters. I have been there with them in so many different moments, and my only hope is that I get to experience many, many more. I hope they can forgive me for my shortcomings, and that the magical moments we share together outlast, and outshine the bad ones.