The list is long. My to-do list of work-related things is pretty darn long, and you know what I’m talking about. When you get something marked off your list it seems like 2 things make it onto your list. I am one of those people who doesn’t have a distinct separation between work and personal, and I suspect that alot of you are the same way. My work is a large part of who I am, therefore much of my work doesn’t really seem like work to me. It is just the stuff that I enjoy. So bringing work home with me every night and on the weekends is just something I do. And that can cause problems at home.
Yesterday I took my boys swimming at my parent’s house. We always have a great time goofing off, competing in our own version of the Olympics and seeing who is the fastest at this or that. After we got done my oldest son and I were talking about what we wanted to do the next day. I mentioned perhaps we could go swimming again, to which my oldest son said that he did want to do that. Then he added, “So we’ll come swimming tomorrow?” I said yes.
Then he said, “But you’ll come over with us to go swimming, right?”
You see, he asked me that because I don’t always come with them when they go swimming. In fact, sometimes I ‘send them’ over to my parent’s house to go swimming. I am often ‘working’ on the computer in the house, and they are used to seeing me pecking away at the keyboard. You see, I have alot of work to do, and of course all the items on my list are never complete.
I think there are times when as fathers we have those moments that catch us unaware, and shake us a little bit. I mean, intellectually I know that as a father I am supposed to spend time with my kids. That’s a ‘no-brainer’, right? But the reality is the pressures of life often get in the way and spending time with the kids gets pushed down the list. So when he looked me in the eye and said that, it shook me. He didn’t say these words, but what he was really saying was, “I like swimming dad, but I want you there with me. We have more fun when you are there.”
I guess it is a little presumptuous to title an article “The Most Important Thing”, because there are a bunch of important things. But when I think back about most of the significant times in my life, my father was there. My school functions, my ball games, the family vacations, building that tree house, learning to drive a stick-shift, the graduations, my wedding, the birth of my kids, and countless other memories. Dad was there.
So today we are going swimming. And I’ll be leading the way over to the pool. There are cannonballs to do, and dunking that must occur. And I am quite sure I can beat my lap time from yesterday. My list can wait. Because today being there is the most important thing.