None-the-less, life has become a bit crazy in my house as sleep deprivation battles exhaustion in an epic battle of king of the mountain.
This quote from Jim Gaffigan pretty much sums it up.
Don’t get me wrong. Our new little boy is awesome. He’s adorable and healthy, which is a wonderful combination. We are blessed. Life is blessed…hectic, but blessed.
I’ve talked before about how busy life can become between being a husband and father, running a business, and wanting to produce the same page volume as a full time author. I’ve talked about how important goal setting is for high achievement.
I’m not reneging on any of my lofty aspirations nor my plans for utter world dominance. (Please insert maniacal laugh here.)
I did want to post a small piece of wisdom that I learned at a young age from a fount of incredible knowledge, my dad, (even if I didn’t understand its application until I was grown).
When I was a kid, my dad would sing, Cat’s In The Cradle by Harry Chapin to me and my brothers as a lullaby.
For those of you who don’t know the song, it tells the story of a father and his son. It starts like this:
My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talking 'fore I knew it, and as he grew
He'd say, "I'm gonna be like you, dad
You know I'm gonna be like you."
And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
"When you coming home, dad?" "I don't know when
But we'll get together then
You know we'll have a good time then."
As Cat’s In The Cradle continues, we follow along as the boy grows step by step into a man. Father and son grow apart even as the son idolizes the dad. In the end we hear:
I've long since retired, and my son's moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind."
He said, "I'd love to, dad, if I could find the time
You see, my new job's a hassle, and the kid's got the flu
But it's sure nice talking to you, dad
It's been sure nice talking to you."
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me
He'd grown up just like me
My boy was just like me
The obvious current of the song is one of a life wasted only on work and ignoring the importance of family.
I’ve continued the tradition of singing this as a lullaby to my kids. I told one of my friends this, and he thought it seemed depressing, and I admit, at face value, it does seem sad. “Hey kids, let me sing you a song about a dad who works too much and a kid who grows up to live a distant life from his family in turn. Ok, night-night. Sleep well.”
What my friend didn’t understand though, is that when my dad sang this to us, he sang it as a promise, a promise that this wouldn’t be him, wouldn’t be us. He was incredibly busy, putting himself through a four-year, full-time grad school while working full-time to provide for our family, and later, working a high-stress, high-commitment job. Cat’s In The Cradle was my dad’s promise, that his work, schedule, and goals wouldn’t trump his commitment to his family.
When I sing it to my kids now, I’m making that same promise. I’ll set my written goals. I’ll set an aggressive agenda in an attempt to fulfill all the hats I wear, but as a parent, I refuse to forget that oh-so-important hat entitled “Dad”.
So, if you find that life changes for you at some point, and your family needs a short hiatus from your writing, don’t sweat it. Take care of your family. Live in life’s moments. Then set a new plan, new written goals that stretch and push you, and get back to that world dominance.
Read with Joy! Write with Joy! Live with Joy!