I can’t tell you how many times I stood at this spot (look at the picture to the left of the screen) or somewhere close to it, overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge leading into San Francisco. Growing up in the Bay Area, I came to take for granted the times we would go into “The City” to visit family, catch a Giants game, hang out at Fisherman’s Wharf, go to Pier 39 where I would hangout at the magic shop and play with all the gadgets and magic tricks for countless minutes (Yes, I said minutes not hours. I wasn’t allowed to be by myself for very long). What I realize now that I didn’t back then was to capture all the moments around me and appreciate my situation and surroundings. There was no intentionality within me during those moments I had in The City by the Bay. Maybe because I was only 1o years old or younger at the time, but nonetheless I was to busy complaining about being tired, complaining about my sister, about being hunger, and whatever else I could find – I was focused on me, myself, and I, not on the beauty and wonder around me.
Isn’t that how it is with us sometimes? We bumble through moments and fail to be intentional geographically, situationally, and relationally. You know what though, I think we as parents do this with our kids more than anything else. Recently, some friends of mine had their first baby, and this started me thinking about the time my oldest daughter was born. I had to reach way back into the memory banks to recall any moments during that time and was hard-pressed to recollect anything. Oh, I remember that I drove to the hospital in a gray 1970 two door Impala, which had a driver’s door that wouldn’t open.I remember it was raining and my wife telling me to slowdown, because the roads were wet. I also remember the “deer-in-the-headlights” look on the doctor’s face when she realized that this was really it (she was a very young and new doctor). I have some recollection of my daughter’s face when she was placed on my wife’s chest for the first time right after her delivery, my daughter had the look of doubt and uncertainty of whether she wanted to be there or not. And you know what, that’s it! From that moment on, I don’t have a lot of memories of those early time. It is also the same thing with my other two kids. Call me a bad dad or whatever, but I bet it is the same with you. If not with your child(s) birth, it is with something else that pertains to them. We all do it, we all miss intentional moments with our kids. The thing we need to do is to savor the ones that we do catch, and to create new ones that have yet to be.
This year marks three different milestones for my family. We will for the first time have three teenagers in our house, our youngest turned thirteen years old this past January. Our son turns fifteen years old in may, which means he will be at the halfway point to thirty (plus he is going to shave his chin and upper lip for the first time). And our oldest daughter will turn eighteen years old in October. I got to be honest, I am a little behind in the intentional moments category when it comes to capturing those times with my kids. I was busy “making ends meet” and establishing myself in the world as an adult. My strategy now is to pay attention to those moments where I can have intentional moments and conversations with my three teenagers (Unfortunately, I am still trying to “make ends meet” and establish myself as an adult), even if they are small ones at that. I just want to capture with my kids and teach them to perk their ears to the sounds, flare their nostrils to the smells, and focus their eyes to the sights, and savor the moments that we do catch and create new moments that have yet to be…
So after sitting and contemplating these things and thinking about my friends who just had their first baby, I was compelled to send a text message to my friend telling him to capture every moment with his baby boy and wife. Even the mundane moments. I told him to capture them and be intentional in savoring those moments, because before you know it time passes and you end up bumbling it away and those moments become a blur. My memory of my kids when they were little and the moments in “The City” aren’t very clear, but one thing I do know are the intentional moments that I’m catching now and the intentional moments that I’m creating that have yet to be are not a blur.