The Bible says that God is our Father, an analogy that only a parent can fully appreciate. Every now and then God gives you a tiny glimpse at the overall importance of your life, your role, your purpose — and that moment will bring you to your knees. As a father I had a distrinct moment of clarity the other night, not merely the realization that time escapes us, but feeling the rush as time flies.
Its not often that I feel this sense of immediacy and eternity, but then again I shouldn't expect them to be a regular ocurance (because I think it would emotionally devistate me). Its easy to get so jagged to the relationship you have with the children — the contempt that familiarity breeds — that its easy to overlook the vital importance of the very small moments we get to truly impact them, before those moments are gone.
The typical bed time routine involves me giving Eliott a kiss on the head, rubbing his back and saying a quick (and honestly, a purposeless and vague) prayer and say good night. Every so often Elliott will ask, "Want to lie in bed with me a for little bit?", to which I usually reply "No, that's ok I have stuff to do downstairs" — when he was four we often laid in bed with him to help him settle down. He would grab our necks with his little fingers and dig and pull as he sucked his thumb and feel fast asleep.
For some reason I said "Ok" and laid on the bed next to him. He grabbed my hand and gave a gentle squeeze. In that moment I remembered how small his hands once were. How long ago that seemed. How easily I had forgotten and how quickly four years vanishes. The squeeze that a father understands as both affection and protection. And there I laid, holding my son, tears in my eyes, realizng that this too will be gone and forgotten in the pace of life.
Soon he will no longer ask me if I want to lie in his bed. No longer will he hold my hand and give it a squeeze. No longer will I be the protector and provider. Our stories will diverge and separate. So for that moment I drank it in, and kissed his cheek until he feel fast asleep.