As we boarded the plane to parts known for our most recent biz trek, my partner (who has two young'uns of his own) said, “I hope we’re not sitting near any screaming kids. Work or not, time away is time away. I don’t want to think about kids.” Fortunately for him, we weren’t seated near any kids, but there was a cute little girl who was walking up and down the length of the plane for much of the flight (she practically walked to Denver, I think).
The little girl/future flight attendant was younger than K-Man. She looked as though the whole walking thing was kind of new and she was going to experience her legs for all they were worth. I think it's damn near impossible for any parent to avoid reflecting on his kid's first steps when witnessing the (near) first steps of others. We all remember our own past memories and experiences when we see another kid (and parent) enjoying those experiences (presumably for the first time).
Later in the trip, after a long day with clients, work and battling near 100+ degree conditions (all of our work was outside), we cooled off at a local bar. As my partner and I talked about the day that was, a father squeezed in next to us and ordered three tequila shots. The guy was probably in his early 50s. He then asked me if I’d take a picture of him with his wife and daughter. Turns out, it was his daughter’s 21st birthday, and they were out celebrating. Mom and dad would eventually leave their daughter with her friends, but apparently, they had a longstanding deal that they would buy her a shot on her 21st birthday.
I thought this was kind of cool. Parents and daughter get along well enough and have a tight enough relationship that the daughter wants her parents at her 21st birthday. And her parents are cool enough to buy her a shot. Nice. I’m sure, like all kid-parent relationships, that this family had its share of bumps and bruises, but here they were – celebrating together. Note to self: Buy K-Man a shot on his 21st b’day (if he wants one, I ‘spose). The picture that I took will be one for the family photo album, I’m sure!
Unlike my partner, when I’m away from K-Man, I pretty much notice every single kid – especially those who are around K-Man’s age. Perhaps it’s because I travel more than my partner does. I just always feel that when I’m away, I’m missing something. Some development. And, of course, I never want to miss anything. As K-Man gets older – all business travel will be scheduled around games, concerts and anything else K is involved in.
While waiting for our flight at the airport late last night, I was sitting next to a family with two kids. One must have been K’s age and the other a newborn (like really, really new). Turns out, there was also a teenage daughter from a previous marriage running around with a friend of hers. As I talked to this family (heading to San Francisco on vacation), I couldn’t help but think about the past, future and present. All three were represented in this one family. It was such an interesting dynamic (perhaps mostly because I was exhausted from this four-day excursion): The newborn slept, the toddler played nearby his parents, and the teenager couldn’t get far enough away with her friend. Past, present and future. (I wonder if the teenager will, one day, let her parents “back in” enough to buy her a shot!)
I’m not sure there’s a moral to the experience, but it did leave me with a big “hmmmmm…” For me, I think this is more fodder to remember to enjoy “the moment.” K-Man’s days of the first steps are long gone, and the 21st b’day is, well, not even really worth thinking about, it’s so far from now. But, he’s here and now and I have to do a better job of soaking it all in. I have to stop thinking about “I can’t wait until he can (insert activity here).”
Remember the past and look forward to the future. But, absolutely cherish and experience and devour the present.