Forced Perspective

Japan Earthquake 2011

I was going to write a quippy post this morning, all about sleep problems and how my kid keeps getting up earlier and earlier every day. Pretty soon, she’ll be getting up before we put her to bed. Then the space-time continuum will be shattered and we’ll need the Doctor or the crew from Star Trek to set things right again. But I bet even the Doctor can’t get my kid to sleep more. Of course, none of that seems important right now. As I was making coffee, my wife came downstairs after reading the news on her phone—

“There was a giant earthquake in Japan. They’re under a tsunami warning. And there’s a tsunami warning for the West Coast and California, too.”

Then we turned on the news. And all of a sudden it doesn’t matter that the kid woke up at 6 AM, that yesterday I had to watch her for 14 and a half hours with no break, and I never seem to have time to myself, that there’s dishes to do and more chores to do as always. I don’t care that the kid is up but it’s too early for Sesame Street. None of that matters today.

The daily routine is shattered as news of today’s tragic events continue to unfold: reportedly the biggest earthquake ever hits Japan, it’s coast hit by massive tsunami damage, evacuations occur in parts of Hawaii, and there are reportedly tsunami warnings for the entire West Coast of the US, where we have family. The world was already in trouble before this- with apparent civil war in Libya, and unemployment in the US being the worst since the Great Depression, and the list goes on. It’s time to just hug your child and appreciate the time that you have been given.

I used to say to myself, “If you’re breathing, you’re smiling.” It’s a blessing just to be alive, and children are, of course, an extra blessing. And I am the luckiest of all, because being a stay-at-home parent is beyond valuable, both to my child and to myself as well. I get to spend more time with my daughter than anyone, and these early childhood years is time that we can’t get back once it’s gone. Today is one of those days that break your heart, but at the same time make you appreciate what you have. There will be no yelling today. No sweating the small stuff, which seems to creep up all too often. I will hold my child close, as my thoughts and prayers go out to those in Japan, and all those affected by today’s events.

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