Keeping My Eye on the Prize

The other night, Missy and I sat down to look at some old pictures and videos. They were from an old phone, no longer in service, owned by Missy’s mom.

We spent an hour looking at the photos, which spanned from about 2012 to 2016. At first it was just Addie, about four years old, with short hair because she decided to give herself a haircut.

Then we got Myra, and she smiles her beautiful little innocent smile with her beautiful little innocent giggle. And Missy is pregnant with Maddux.

Addie and Myra are singing “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.” Myra is just going from knees to toes with her mouth as open as it could be.  Couldn’t possibly look cuter. Addie is holding court as always, singing loudly and showing off her dance moves.

Along comes Maddux, waddling around like a bowling ball on a mission. He used to take a book and walk backwards from the other side of the room until he bumped into your lap, then plop down and wait for you to start reading.

Soon enough Missy is pregnant with Hawk. We have a big gender reveal party, with lots of friends and family. You know, the kind of thing that was impossible in 2020.

Then Hawk arrives, laughing along to a KidsBop song. I didn’t remember him being that chunky as a baby.

I had a hard time sleeping that night. Looking at those pictures and videos brought back a strong mix of joy and regret. I can’t believe the time has flown by so fast.

Addie only has six years until college. Hawk has 13 and the others are in between. So I guess we are roughly at the halfway point on our journey toward Empty Nest City.

It was great seeing those memories, especially since they were from the vantage point of Missy’s mom instead of the more staged photos that usually end up on my phone. It was fun to see nieces, nephews, friends and their kids at such younger ages too.

Of course it’s also a little sad, seeing my kids at an age they’ll never be again. Then there’s also the realization that we’ll never get that time back. Could we have taken more trips? Made more memories? Just read more books or ate more meals at the dinner table together?

Recently I’ve begun playing chess a little more. Used to play occasionally with Dad growing up but just now started taking it 10% seriously and playing several different opponents online.

My biggest problem is that sometimes I focus on taking pieces instead of winning the game. I’ll make five moves to capture a bishop, then look up five moves later and get put in checkmate.

The object of the game is to capture the king. Not the highest number of pieces. Sometimes I feel like the flaw in my chess strategy is similar to the flaw in my life strategy. I always have a long list of things to do, and sometimes I let that list dominate the day instead of capitalizing on opportunities to live the fullest life and provide the best, most rounded upbringing for my kids.

I guess all we can do is try harder. In the meantime, hope you enjoy the cute pics of our kids.

Addie is mad, which is funny, while Myra and Maddux look cute
Maddux repping the Eagles
Maddux and Hawk with my mom

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