They say the greatest gift of all is to live with the perspective to appreciate blessings while you are still blessed. My wife Barbara and I embrace this daily gift and never take it for granted. Regardless of what we may do, what we may earn or what we may have, our greatest asset is – and will always be – our party of five. That is, the moments we are together with our three daughters around a table – be it eating, talking, laughing or just living. It is our little nest in the world. Just like at a restaurant when the waiter asks you about dessert for the third time, we realize that our time at the table is limited. Here is a bit of “daughter math”:
We have 28 months before Emily and Carly go off to college and our core table is forever changed. That is a total of 840 days.
Let us immediately remove summer camp to reveal we are already down to 720. A few school related field trips get us to 690, a couple friend related road trips will get us to 680 and an occasional visit to the kids from camp get us to 660. Some East Coast pre-college tours and our base to work with reaches 650.
This was the easy math. The balance gets more complicated.
Parents are simply not allowed on dates. With fair projection, that reduces us to 600 and further to 550 if you add in the sleeping late the next day and 500 if you add the roll over lunches with friends. There will easily be 50 sleepovers to bring us to 450. Even assuming good health, there are certain sick days that keep people apart. I subtract more to get us to 400.
Being realistic with school and work pressures, weekdays are 70% less valuable than weekends. That reduces the net value of days to 180. Let’s face it, “lady cycle” days are out for Dads so I am reduced out of an additional 48 and we are down to 132.
We can limit prom dress shopping time if we commit to online purchasing, but that is more than offset by college essay writing days. Add in some “boys are stupid/heartbreak” days for Carly (and a few more for Emily) and I would say we are safely down to less than 100. Remove a very fair reality of them not wanting to spend every waking moment left with their parents and I think we may only have two Saturday night dinners and one more bagel lunch left as our party of five. 🙁
Regardless of what time is left under our roof, our wish is to simply make their lives as wonderful as they have made ours. To help them gain compassion, to feel love, to embrace tolerance, to believe in themselves, to work for the change they wish to see and to always know that they are, in the end, our very best attempt at changing the world for the better.