L to R: Ray, Marlo and Courtney
The gift of time has always been a promise I have tried to keep as a father. My Dad, Neville, was an amazing provider for us. His generation took the role of breadwinner extremely seriously which meant that he was often at work or unwinding. In saying that, I have extremely fond memories of spending time with him, no matter how little that time was. From teaching me how to stand in a line-out, to sharing his aniseed wheels with me after a tough day at work, these moments are vivid in my mind. The moments he gave me, when he could, are the most precious memories I have of my dad. It is with this in mind that I want my daughter, Marlo (and our future children), to have plenty of memories of time spent with me.
Time with your child, when they are young, is finite, and experiencing milestones with them is invaluable. I am extremely lucky to have been able to do this throughout Marlo’s first two years, and am excited to discover new ways of spending time with her as she grows up. Here are some of my reflections.
Seeing Marlo enter the world was incredible. My first cuddle, my first words to her, telling her how much I loved her, was the beginning of our beautiful daddy-daughter relationship. It is a memory so vivid it still feels like it was yesterday. As dads, the gift of our time creates memories – for us, and for our children. These moments together deposit feelings of love deep within our child’s emotional bank account. Over the years the interest gained on these deposits is immense and will be used for many testing situations in the future.
Make every moment count
Like most families, we have a busy household. To make sure we are spending enough time together as a family requires efficient time management. For us, ‘time management’ means ‘making every moment count’. This means being present when we are together. If I am not singing the Peppa Pig theme song, I am catching Marlo as she practices her gymnastic landings from the couch. I read books, sing Te Reo songs, ask her questions and laugh. Man, do I laugh. The impact of this? Both Marlo and I know that when we are together, we provide reciprocal entertainment.
I am biased, but Marlo has the most beautiful smile I have ever seen. She is the perfect blend of our families. Cheekiness seeps through her personality, a familiar trait passed on from past generations. Her smile reminds me of who I have in my life, and the love that I am lucky to feel. The faces of many loved ones wrapped in one beautiful package. Her gift to me is her smile.
The gift of time can never be purchased, or more importantly, bought back. It happens in the now. Take time to reflect on what your gift of time offers your child, and I am certain that you will continue to find new ways to keep offering this invaluable gift.