Nothing keeps us up, nothing haunts us like the thought that something could happen to our kids. We dread even the good things that take them away from us, moving out, going to college, that job across the country.
But there is, in this fear, a certain ingratitude, isn’t there? Not just for the present moment in front of us that we are neglecting, but for all the wonderful things we’ve already gotten to do–with our kids, with our spouse, with all of us together.
When theoretical physicist Richard Feynman was in high school, he fell in love with a woman named Arlene Greenbaum. While at Princeton, Greenbaum was diagnosed with tuberculosis, and only given two years to live. Feynman married her anyway, and they enjoyed a youthful kind of happiness until her death three years later. It was a tragic and devastating loss, but many years later, Feynman would say something quite wise about his philosophy of life. “With Arlene,” Feynman said, “I was really happy for a while. So I have had it all. After Arlene, the rest of my life didn’t have to be so good, you see, because I had already had it all.”
No one–and nothing–can take away that you have your kids right now, nothing can take away what you have been lucky enough to have with them. The Stoics liked to say that one moment is enough–and this is true for all the wonderful experiences and memories your family has had together. Just one of them is enough to make your entire life worth it, no?
You have had it all. You have it all right now.