I felt my heart rate jump….
I had just done a quick scan of my inbox on a cold, Saturday in January. Immediately all the things I thought I had failed to deliver, or could be doing, or should be doing, rushed into my head. “Oh shit, I never emailed him that intro!” “Oh man, I said I was going to do that weeks ago.” “Oh, I should really reach out to so and so…” I felt both the impulse to do and run. I paced a bit, I consider ripping open my laptop and then I walked into the other room…and I reset.
There on the floor where she had been happily playing with her toys was my 6 month old daughter, Emmeline. The toys, however, were not capturing her attention in this moment. Instead she sat with her arms up, attempting the grab the sun. In the early winter afternoon, we have this wonderful, direct stream of sunlight coming through our “living room” (this is a NYC apt after all). Our dog, Izzy, knows this all too well and she perfectly follows its arc throughout our apartment, soaking up the heat and stinking up the room with her pants. As I stood there in the doorway, I felt like I had caught Emmeline discovering the sun for the very first time. She saw the beams and was grabbing for them, perplexed how they seemed to be there and yet untouchable. I felt my heart rate go down, and my heart fill up. It was a simple thing in a simple moment, and yet it felt so big. It not only felt like one of many “firsts,” I get to witness as a father, but also another lesson from her. It’s often discussed, and I often ignore it, but in that moment I noticed the many things I take for granted in my life. The things that fall away like extras on a movie set, or background music in a coffee shop – things you don’t really notice until they are awkwardly removed. For Emmeline they are not extras or background music, they are on a long list of things to be noticed, discovered, explored and appreciated. And in her example, in that moment, I noticed again the beams of sun, I appreciated the warmth, and I felt better.