I blog on Brain-Based Learning, Metacognition, EdTech, and Social-Emotional Learning. I am the author of the Crush School Series of Books, which help students understand how their brains process information and learn. I also wrote The Power of Three: How to Simplify Your Life to Amplify Your Personal and Professional Success, but be warned that it's meant for adults who want to thrive and are comfortable with four letter words.

Best. Day. Ever.

By Oskar Cymerman | @focus2achieve | BAM! Radio Network & Teaching Channel Blogger

Best. Day. Ever.

I dropped him off at 7 in the morning today.

He doesn't cry anymore. He just has a hard time letting me go. I started calling it a "hand off," football like, because he will not let me put him down on the ground and only reluctantly lets me hand him off to the morning teacher.

As usual, I handed Adam to one of the morning caretakers and rushed out to work.

Most of the time I assume he takes a little time and gets engaged somehow, so the next hour passes quickly and he has some fun before he gets to go up to his regular room.

You see, my son likes his room. It's called the Nature Room and he has a lot of fun there. Unfortunately, the Nature Room teachers don't get there till 8, so for Adam spends the 45 minutes to an hour downstairs. I hope he is okay...

There is a big window that looks down into this basement room. Today, I looked down. I left him a minute ago and he was already standing there alone. Standing and staring. Standing, not crying, but looking kind of sad. Alone.

I kneeled and looked for a couple of minutes. He just stood there and I was missing him so much already. He was there, me 20 feet up and away. It felt so far away. He felt so alone. I wanted to be there to hold him. Comfort him. Play with him. Stay with him.

And then I had to leave...

And I don't know how long it took my son to shake it off. He is a resilient kid. He is strong willed and has his temper tantrum times too. Mostly though, he's a happy, playful, and sweet child.

It was hard seeing him so emotionless. So numb.

What did it mean?

I didn't know. I knew that I wanted to get back to him as soon as possible. I wanted to be with him. And I wanted to be present.

It was a good day of classes today, but that image of Adam standing alone kept coming back to me. I knew that he was okay, but I still couldn't get there fast enough.

He was playing with trains when I got there. Immersed in his own world composed of tracks, bridges, tunnels, engines, and imagination. He gave me a big smile when I got there and yelled: daddy! I hugged him and told him how much I missed and loved him. Then I asked if I can play with him. He nodded enthusiastically. In that moment, I was the happiest almost 40 year old in the Universe...

You see... I'm a good dad. But I lose myself at times. I'm always busy. If I'm not doing something with my hands, the hard drive is always spinning in my head, and the software is always updating. Often, I don't take the time to shut the computer down and just be.

This post is a reminder. If not for anyone else, then for myself.

Be present. Completely. Unconditionally. Happily.

I couldn't get there fast enough, because I wanted to be with him. I wanted to make up for all the times I was there but not really present. Times when I would be there with Adam, but busy on my phone, or getting the mail, or washing dishes so I can have more time to write in the evening. Wasting the precious minutes of our time together on things that can wait. Things that don't really matter.

He matters.

I can't make up for all the lost time. And maybe I don't have to. But I can make whatever time we have count. I know that we have a lot of time, but rather than take it for granted, I want to slow down and just live in each moment. And, I want to experience as many such moments as possible. Moments such as the one today that help me realize what truly matters in life.

Relationships. Love. Being together. Enjoying each others' company. Not killing time, but fully immersing ourselves in each and every moment. Living today. Making it count. Not rushing. Filling our lungs with air and knowing it, if only from time to time.

It's hard work. But it's worth it.


PS. So this evening was a blast. We ran circles in our basement. We played with trains and tracks and tunnels. We were panting like dogs with our tongues hanging out. We made a birthday cake out of wooden sprockets and blocks. We hoisted a fire truck by its axle with a bigger crane truck and we fixed it by hitting it with a wooden hammer. We ate magnet ice cream. We read 6 Thomas the Train books in a row. Twice.

Best. Day. Ever.

fixing a fire truck