NOT FOR A SECOND
It was the end of a long day at Universal Studios in Florida. We were about half-way into Mitchell’s Make-A-Wish trip and he was having the time of his life – and so were we. Attached to my camera pack was a carabiner that tethered gifts and other souvenirs we picked up here and there – but that wasn't the real gift I carried this day. The greatest gift was my family – and that wasn't lost on me … not for a second.
As we made our way out of the park Mitch drove his scooter near me, like he always did, and reached up to hold my hand. I loved holding his hand and I yearn to do it again today.
I always dreamed of being a father. I loved my kids long before I ever laid eyes on them. As a young man I used to wonder what they would look like, the conversations we might have and the adventures we would enjoy together. While other boys were catching frogs or setting fire to empty fields, I dreamed of being a dad. Oh, I've had my share of youthful shenanigans and misadventures. I've even caught a few frogs and set a few fires. But my heart always wondered what fatherhood would be like.
I remember early in my professional career overhearing some of my older colleagues talk to their kids on the phone. I was young and single and would act like I wasn't paying attention but I was listening and I wondered what it would be like to have little kids of my own. While not an envious man, I was sometimes sorely tempted when I saw others with children. I was so excited to have kids of my own.
Twenty years later I have found my wish granted beyond my wildest dreams. Although my cup is cracked and tattered by grief and sorrow, it is overflowing with love and gratitude.
There’s a saying: “The greatest gift you can give someone is your time. Because when you give your time, you are giving a portion of your life that you’ll never get back.” I’m not always the best at this. But I try. And when I fail, I try harder the next time.
I don’t know a lot of things. But one thing I do know is when I am old and dying I won’t be reaching to hold on to car keys, fancy things or any thing. Instead I’ll be reaching to hold the ones I love. For they are my real treasures - and that won’t be lost on me. Not then. Not now. Not for a second.