It won’t be the recitals. Or the graduations. Or the expensive trips to theme parks. Or the birthdays or the Christmas mornings. When you think back on your life, the moments that fill you with nostalgia and love will be rather ordinary.
We talked recently about Caitlan Flanagan’s beautiful observation about the dreamtime of early childhood–the feeling she had recalling some regular summer day when they flagged down an ice cream truck. But she may as well have been describing some lazy Sunday in bed. Or a school night when you threw the rules aside and let everyone stay up to watch a movie. When you sat in the car with your teenager as your spouse ran an errand. When they fell asleep on you with a fever. One of the endless days early in the pandemic when the Earth felt like it stood still.
Quality time? This is the quality time. Because we make it so. By being present for it. By being grateful for it. By soaking it in while it’s here. We don’t put expectations on it. We don’t add stress to it. We don’t detract from it by thinking about what other parents might think or what our own parents might think. We don’t feel guilty. We push away the thoughts of work or of the busyness of the week or days ahead.
We are just there. We don’t need it to be anything other than what it is…which is ordinary and extraordinary at the same time.