On a recent night, the temperature was still in the 80s when I got home with my kids. Keith, 5, and Jason, 2, were slow-motion running around our front yard, each too focused on fighting their encroaching tiredness to bicker with the other. The sun was setting, and an amber-red light bathed them as they stopped to examine an ant’s progress. “Come see,” they called, and when I did, Keith surprised me with a hug. He smelled like summer, a mix of sunscreen and sweaty hair. Remember this, I started yelling in my head, before the hug was even over. The inner voice clamored like some producer in a control room, frantically directing a live show. Remember this!
I took myself out of that amazing “now,” anticipating some future without surprise hugs and ant appreciation. I know childhood goes by in a flash, and I have such FOMO, fear of missing out, that I even feel it when there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.
As we head into summer, I resolve to stay in the moment. Here’s my game plan for being a present parent: