• 77°

Forgive the clichés

By Nathan Rice

It was his 13th birthday, so my social media timeline was filled with pictures of him as his family members wished him a happy birthday. Memories flooded my mind as I thought back over the years. It was official. There was no way around the truth. He was a teenager. My mind had trouble grasping this fact, and I realized I had become one of those adults who says, “He can’t be a teenager yet.”

I’ve heard countless people say, “I can’t believe he’s that old” and “I miss when they were young,” but I didn’t know I would end up becoming one of them.

I know what I’m about to say is cliché, and I tried to word it differently, because I’m not a fan of clichés. I try to avoid them at all costs. They seem trite. However, I’m not sure how to share my thoughts about my recent revelation without using them, so you’ll have to forgive me for speaking with clichés.

I know we’ve heard the phrase a million times, but they really do grow up quickly. The picture of us both dressed up as Superman for Halloween was taken six years ago, but it just didn’t seem possible that much time had passed. The picture I took of him grinning at a Tides game as he proudly showed off the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle painted on his face couldn’t have been four years ago, could it?

Because time goes so quickly, we must move to cliché No. 2. Enjoy the time you have with them while they are young. Don’t miss the opportunity to engage in their childhood. They won’t be young forever. (Cliché No. 3.) Listen to their convoluted stories about their favorite game or cartoon character. Let them ride piggyback. Play that board game with them one more time. Teach them how to play catch and how to throw a football.

I know there are times when the hours seem to drag, but the years will pass by quickly. (Cliché No. 4!) Before you know it, he’ll be 13, and you’ll be reminiscing about past years while you wonder where the time has gone. The time you have with them while they are young can never be regained. Don’t waste the opportunity, and enjoy every moment that you have been given.

We’ve probably all been guilty of thinking that we can do things with them at another time or on another day. This is normally done with the best of intentions. We truly do think we’ll get to it later, and it feels like we have a lot of time. But days turn into months and months turn into years faster than we realize.

If we don’t make spending quality time with our children a priority, the time will be gone before we know what has happened. I encourage you to not miss a moment. The cliché’ is true: “Don’t blink, or you’ll miss it.”

Nathan Rice is a Hampton Roads native and can be reached at nrice@abnb.org.