A chance encounter and a stranger’s words that have stuck in my head for several weeks now. He said three simple words, “One million minutes” . . . . three simple words that have weighed heavily on my parenting since I heard them.
It was several weeks ago, we had our family photos taken at a local park. Afterwards, we had promised Chan we’d take him to the playground . . . in our sweaters, jeans, high heel boots & sequins in the 80 degree weather (just providing you with an accurate visual). We get to the playground, it was awesome! We played for about 30 minutes when I gave Chan the 10 minute warning . . . you know the one, “Chan we will be leaving in 10 minutes”. Another little boy, whom was there with his father, overheard me say this. So, when his dad came around the corner, he said, “Dad, how many minutes do I have?” His dad replied, without hesitation, “One million minutes“. The boy laughed, and said, “No, seriously Dad. How many minutes?” He replied again with the same answer. Then they ran around the playground jumping & running.
I immediately felt sad for MY kid. This father has nothing else to do, besides be in THIS moment, right here, playing with his son. I had a hungry baby, I was in stuffy clothes in hot weather, it was dinnertime, and grandma was coming over . . . we really had to go! So, for weeks, those three simple words, “One million minutes” has been engrained in the back of my mind. Controlling the majority of my parenting choices. All we have is this time, right now, this moment! Nothing is guaranteed, especially not time . . . days, months, years.
Tonight, when Chan wanted me to lay with him in his bed, I immediately gave him a time limit . . . I said, “I can only lay in here for 5 minutes and then I have to go to bed”. He pleaded for more time, which I obliged of course. But, I kept reminding him that he needed to close his eyes and go to sleep because his time was almost over. Then, I remember “One million minutes” and I felt terrible that I was “limiting” my son’s time that he can spend with me! I whispered in his ear, “honey, don’t worry. I’ll stay in here until you fall asleep. I love you! Goodnight.”