As I listened to their stories, I couldn't help but have one of those moments. You know the ones that catch you as you find yourself in the places of life that seem to make our rearview mirror bigger and the road ahead hard to see. Our youngest is nearing high school graduation and looking excitedly at the opportunities ahead in college. It's hard for me to believe, really. Didn't I just take her to kindergarten? Wasn't it yesterday I cheered for her team from the bleachers? Where did the days of homework at the table, friends on the weekend, and a calendar full of commitments go? How did we get from pigtails to hair color, from toys to car keys, from bedtime stories to curfew clock watching?
Looking back it's hard not to wish I would have been a little better about a million things. I wish I would have put things down to listen more. I wish I would have laughed more and worried less. I wish I would have been firmer about chores. I wish I would have been a better model of faith, kindness, and service to others. Though my parenting wasn't always perfect, I'm hoping that in the midst of my mistakes I have given my children the gift of stories; stories to carry them through their lives.
Life doesn't have a rewind button. My hope, however, is that life does have a record button. My hope is that in the midst of daily living I've helped my children to have stories. I hope they will remember the bedtime stories, the dinners together around our table in the evening, the family gatherings, the vacations we took, and the time we just enjoyed being together. It's the time when video games are turned off, the television is silent, and the world pauses for a minute that we squeeze in stories.