We’ve talked about the inherently painful nature of having kids before. As our kids grow, we are constantly losing them. We’ll never have our son as a 2 year old again. We’ll never have our daughter’s first day of high school again. We know, from the moment we take them home from the hospital, that eventually they’ll leave our home for their own.
Above this daily loss looms the specter of real tragic loss as well—the kind that Johnny Gunther’s parents experienced (If you haven’t read Death Be Not Proud, you must!). The kind that Marcus Aurelius experienced. The kind that keeps us up at night: What if something happens to them? We worry. We fear. We are filled with dread.
In the end, it doesn’t change the fact that something can (and figuratively will) take our kids from us. This is the inevitable, unconsolable reality of what it means to be a parent. But here is some solace we must never forget: Nothing and no one can ever take from us the fact that we had them.
The memory is yours forever. The hours and days and years you’ve had are yours forever. Every time you’ve kissed them, held them, told them you’ve loved them, every giggle you’ve heard, every smile you’ve prompted, every high five, every afternoon on the couch–that is insoluble, unstealable, invincible. No one can ever touch it, no one can take it, nothing can happen to it.
You had them. You had those moments, these experiences, all that time. They’re yours forever. The same goes for the present moment and any memories you’re lucky enough to make right now. They are your personal, private bounty. Treat them accordingly.