I was scared to death when my first child was born.
I had no idea how to raise, or pay for, a kid. Concerned for his health, my wife pureed vegetables and froze them in old-fashioned ice trays so we would have healthy, correct serving sizes both at home and when he went to daycare.
By the time our third child came along, we were old pros. I forgot to strap in her car seat for the ride home from the hospital. At three months old, the pediatrician asked what we were feeding her. I told him bits of pizza, ribs, really anything we ate she got as well.
But even though we grew more comfortable with the process, one thing remained constant. I have always been painfully aware of my limited time with my kids and my wife.
For some reason, I am wired to feel each passing day. Christmas is wonderful for me, but also a bit sad, because I can estimate how few I have left to celebrate with them.
At the website www.WaitButWhy.com, author Tim Urban created a series of visuals dedicated to this theme.
He notes how many days he spent with his parents, and how few he has left. He also determines how much pizza he will eat, and how many Chinese dumplings he’ll consume.
It’s humorous, but it also makes the point that we should prioritize what matters because we have only so much time.
Which brings me to Memorial Day.
We set aside this holiday to remember the millions of mostly young men who died in the service of our country.
I don’t know the breakdown, but some portion volunteered, others were conscripted.
Some passed heroically, some perished in training accidents, and some died in meaningless skirmishes that meant nothing to the outcome of the conflict.
But they all died.
Today, when I look at a graphic of the years, months, days, holidays, and even dumplings that I have left, or when I consider what I think to be the precious few years still in front of me to be spent with my wife and children, I can’t help but think of those soldiers I will never know who had their lives cut short.
They gave their most precious gift, time, so that ours could be spent in the manner of our choosing.
May you spend your time enjoying what is most important to you.