The car seat was in my left hand, yet I still managed to unlock the door and turn the knob. Because we are on a steep hill, the steepest hill in Crockett, all our doors have an extra dose of gravity working for them and against us.
It was my first time holding a car seat while attempting to open this door. I conquered it.
I pushed hard and the door flung open. With the swinging of the door came a wind of emotions. There was a small human in that car seat. A real, live human. A small human, but a human nonetheless. A human with its own personality, its own gifts, talents and weaknesses.
I knew how to open our stiff door, I was getting a hand of holding a car seat, but caring for a small human?
- Will he make it out alive?
- Will my wife and I make it out alive?
- How do I make him stop crying?
- Will I start crying?
- Why didn’t a nurse come with us or at least that nurse button they have in the hospital?
- What do I do next?
Not only was I carrying my son in that car seat, I was bringing into my house, my mind, fears I never experienced before. And I am not talking about the typical fears, like the ones mentioned above.
Like a dog with a dried pig’s ear, one fear kept gnawing at my heart and mind. I never had experienced this one fear. I still have it from time to time.This is a fear most parents have had. It’s a real fear. This fear reveals what’s most important in this life.
I feared the chance that my son would not remember how much I love and care for him.
“What if I die before he turns 3?” This thought echoed.
I don’t remember much before 3. I remember walking with my dad to get chocolate milk at a liquor store. It was when I lived in a trailer park, I was around 3 then.
My dad died when I was 6. I have fragmented frames that shuffle across my mind. There are good memories and there are bad memories. But even these memories are not the vivid kind of memories a kid has of his first prank call or sleepover. Not the high school crush memories or college dorm life memories. Just fragments.
If I were to die right now – well this wouldn’t be finished and you wouldn’t be reading it– but, if I were to REALLY die right now, my son wouldn’t remember me.
That scares me.
But this also gives me focus. This fear shows me and shows you, what is most important in this life.
My fear isn’t that he won’t remember the toys I gave him or the Disneyland trip. My fear is that he won’t be able to look back and remember me.
I am not talking about my accomplishments or work achievements.
I am talking about me as his daddy.
He wouldn’t remember a dad who would sacrifice his own life for him. A dad who gets pure joy from watching him explore life. A dad who loves trying to catch a glimpse of his gifts, talents, weaknesses and joys. A dad who loves watching him run, climb, laugh, jump, throw, pray, talk, walk, smile, hug …
I want my son (sons now) to remember me as their mentor, their wrestling mat, their Lego engineer, their coach, their friend.
You know what is even worse than dying right now?
Worse than dying right now is 83-year-old Jason laying in a bed, struggling to breathe and regretting missing the main thing. An old man full of memories of trying to get to the top, trying to acquire more things.
An old man, who can’t even pick himself up and yet lived a life of trying to lift himself up in the eyes of others. An old man who lived to have the best LinkedIn profile. An old man who lived for himself.
Life’s most important things are not the things.You know what is even worse than dying young? Living for the wrong reason. Click To Tweet
What are you living for?