For many a journey is about the destination. If ever there was proof that the destination is not really the main point though it is the journey called life; the destination of that particular journey is far from its highlight. Indeed, most of us would like that particular ETA to be as far out as possible.
This weekend I have been away from home, suffering in the heat of Texas (although from what I can tell Alameda was not much cooler) to attend a high school graduation ceremony. While that might seem like the destination of a kid’s school life, not to mention a more meaningful transition from child to adult than perhaps the 18th birthday that almost always predates it, really it is just another waypoint in a much longer journey. The day’s ceremony, and the parties after it, represent something of a stop over on their journey, but when they (eventually) wake up the next day, the unrelenting journey of life continues.
Tonight I was surfing social networks looking for things to read, when I chanced upon a retweet that almost brought tears to my eyes. Tapping into the author’s stream revealed an outpouring of emotion that I am not sure I could ever send to Twitter, about something that every parent would dread: losing a child. I don’t know the author of those tweets, I don’t even follow him on Twitter (I saw his tweet as a retweet), but I immediately felt for him and his family’s loss. I cannot even begin to imagine what that must be like; I just know his words, limited to tweet-length bursts, touched a nerve.
So, how does any of that fit with the title of this post? On Saturday, at the graduation ceremony, it occurred to me that I have another 15 years before the little boy lying here next to me as I write this will be in that same place. That seemed like a long time while sitting there, but reading those tweets tonight reminded me that the graduation ceremony was not important; being present, and being a real part of those 15 years was.
This year, more than ever before, I really want to get to a place where I am not missing any of their growing up. Of course, the challenge there is also being able to provide for them, but solving problems is perhaps my strongest skill, and that seems to me, at least at 3am here in Texas as I struggle to sleep in the heat, like a problem well worth solving. Maybe those tweets were just the nudge I needed; though I still wish they had never needed to be written. RIP Rebecca.
More than any, one tweet in the stream, and the photo attached to it, kept tugging on my heart: