Last weekend, my wife and I took our son to a large out-of-town tennis tournament for junior players. It was his first major event to participate in as a competitor, and we were all excited about the opportunity for him to play with other strong players from around the Pacific Northwest.
He did well, winning his first two matches, 6-4, 6-2, then 6-1, 6-1. He got trounced in the semi-finals by a far more experienced player who was also older and much bigger. But that was okay. We had reached our goal of gaining experience and playing the field to see what the competition was like.
The next day, I told a friend that I had spent part of the weekend watching my son compete in the tournament, and she replied, “How cool to be able to watch your son play tennis!” It was a simple statement, but stopped me dead in my mental tracks.
I hadn’t thought of being there in Ellensburg with Tyler as “way cool.” Yes, I was the one who encouraged him to participate in the first place. I was the one committed to getting him there and ensuring all went well. At the last minute, my wife was free to come too. And yes, I was excited about seeing him play. But I hadn’t thought in terms of “How cool…” I had seen the activity as just another part of raising children and living a family life.
But my friend was right. It was “cool!”
My friend had a different perspective. She was one longing for a family herself, and even children, and I had these things. So when she heard about the father/son activity, it was easy for her to see how special the experience was. I, as dad for fourteen years, had taken the privilege for granted.
I will not do that again! At least, to the best of my abilities… 🙂
From that one simple observation of my friend, I have become more aware than ever to not take anything about our children’s growing up years for granted. It’s too precious. It happens once. Every activity they are involved in, every job they do, every assignment they complete, every smile they make, every idea they share, is cool! It’s the divine unfolding in their unique identities as children of God.
And what conscientious parent would want to miss out on even one of those special moments!