Friday, July 26, 2013

These, believe it or not, are your finest days

If you don't mind, I'd like for you to read a quote I've lifted from a novel called "Water for Elephants." It's a tad long, but it sets the stage for my ramblings today, and you may even find it as inspirational as I do:

Those were the salad days, the halcyon years! The sleepless nights, the wailing babies; the days the interior of the house looked like it had been hit by a hurricane; the times I had five kids, a chimpanzee, and a wife in bed with fever. Even when the fourth glass of milk got spilled in a single night, or the shrill screeching threatened to split my skull, or when I was bailing out some son or other...from a minor predicament at the police station, they were good years, grand years.
But it all zipped by. One minute Marlena and I were in it up to our eyeballs, and next thing we knew the kids were borrowing the car and fleeing the coop for college. And now, here I am. In my nineties and all alone.
You don't have to have children to appreciate the truth of those two paragraphs. You need only be someone who has been through great stress at one point or another. Which is to say, all of us.

If you read this little blog with any regularity, you've seen me wax forlorn over the chaos that is my life. I find myself running hither and yon from dawn to dusk, and I'm not even exactly sure where "yon" is, or why I'm supposed to run there. But I do.

Yet in all of my complaining, never does it escape me that I love this life. I absolutely love it. While there are many people whom I admire greatly, I would not trade my existence for anyone else's in the world.

I constantly worry about my children. I constantly complain about their inability to clean up a mess. I constantly fret over the ways in which I fall short as a husband and father.

And it's wonderful. Every minute of it.

At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I think there's a certain nobility in what we as human beings do every day in support of ourselves and those we love. We sacrifice our time and energy for goals we like to believe are bigger than us, and we are better creatures for having done so.

Occasionally I find myself longing for the days when the kids are grown and things finally slow down. But I know for certain I'll miss this rat race.

So lately I've reveled in the bedlam. And so should you.

Whether you recognize it or not, my friend, these are your finest days. Embrace them. Learn from them. Grow in them.

Because when it's all said and done, these are the times that will define who you were and what you stood for. And if you're playing your cards right, you should be pretty pleased with the outcome.


  1. You are a selfless man, Scott. That's a hell of a quality, especially in a parent.

  2. I aspire to be truly selfless, Jim. Not there yet, may not ever really be. But as a parent yourself, you know we're all naturally selfless to a degree. It's just what happens when you have kids. Which is a good thing, because otherwise I would have chucked them all out years ago...