Love the One You're With

Three sons.  Three schools.  Three different Spring Break schedules this month.  One is winding up his time-off right now, while another will arrive on our doorstep in the dead of night to begin his reprieve tomorrow.  Meanwhile, their little brother still has another whole week of high school before his break even begins.  Sigh.  Not exactly prime family vacation scheduling.

It's the juggle we all face raising a busy family.  The constant tug of wanting to be with your loved ones when responsibility pulls you apart.

Years ago we visited some relatives on the West Coast.  After the grueling 1600 mile drive, we woke up the first morning with four glorious days ahead of us with which to relax, recreate and make new memories.  Yet on the morning of the second day,  I noticed the wife's mood had begun to change. She was becoming melancholy - nearly depressed.  I pulled her husband aside and asked if anything was wrong.  "Not really,"  he said.  "She's just thinking about that fact that you'll be leaving in a few days."  "Leaving in a few days??" I thought.  "But -- we just got here, and -- we've still got 2 more days to be together!"   I was troubled that the mere thought of our departure was already clouding the precious little time we had together now!  Right then it occurred to me that when my children grew up I'd have a similar choice:  mourn what will come, or celebrate the day in front of me.  It was a huge reality check for me.

It reminds me of the Crosby, Stills & Nash trio crooning, "If you can't be with the one you love, honey, love the one you're with."  Admittedly, that particular song suggests a cavalier style of love and even hints at a lack of affection for the person in front of you.  But that's not my point.  I'm intrigued by the succinct and simple truth found in that last line:  "Love the one you're with."  Carpe Diem. Sieze the day.

For me, that means loving whatever child is standing in front of me today.  Holding him close...then letting him go.  Choosing not to squander my heart pining away for days that are no longer there or being frustrated by schedules that do not cooperate.  Simply put:  I want to embrace every moment to it's fullest.

Tonight that means I'll be waiting at the front door at 3 am when a certain car pulls in the driveway.

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