Almost every Monday morning at least one coworker will ask me how my weekend was. The usual answer is “Fine”, and then I recount a couple of highlights from the last few days. I followed that script again this Monday, telling about getting together with friends and playing music. I mentioned something about Sunday’s sermon, and the movie my wife and I watched. What I didn't share to anyone was what happened Sunday afternoon that, to me, was one of those special little moments that probably wouldn't mean much to anyone else, but one I will remember for a long time to come.
As is the case most Sunday afternoons, I found a little time to grab a short nap before I headed out to take my Dad to dinner. One of my daughters was languishing about on one end of the sofa, so I asked her to give me a little room. I stretched out on the other end of the couch and rested my feet on the coffee table so she would have plenty of room. It was a while later that I woke up feeling someone’s head resting on my arm. I looked down to find my preteen daughter curled up on the couch with me, fast asleep. If I hadn't had to leave, I could have stayed there for hours. That is what I call a special moment.
These are the moments that matter the most. The quiet times with your wife on the porch swing when there’s no one else around, or the wrestling matches and playing a bucking bronco with toddlers on any given evening. It’s the times we have been lost on some backroad, and didn’t really care. It’s the times when you hear angelic voices singing in harmony from your balcony; the same little voices that were in a shouting match just an hour before.
Special moments creep up on you, and too often pass as quickly as they came. The memory of them, however, is forever stored in your mind until something triggers it. One example is the time I looked across a table at my adult son and recalled the day I took him for a walk and tried to explain to him that the baby that was growing in Momma’s belly wasn't there anymore, so that was why Momma was so sad. It was a difficult moment, but what made it special was the way that little man looked at me with a deep understanding far beyond his years and after a few questions about it, simply said “Okay”.
There have been a lot of great moments that God has allowed me to enjoy; from standing on a cliff in the Swiss Alps, to exploring the ruins of a Scottish castle; or enjoying an ocean sunrise, or a Rocky Mountain sunset. However, when I think of the “most special” moments, they always involve the people in my life, and not so much the places. It is having someone to share those special places with, that makes them so memorable.
It’s hard to convey these little experiences to others because I wonder if they would appreciate them as deeply as I do. Would any other father remember having their young daughter reach out and hand them something that she just picked out of her little nose and whisper “Here Daddy” in the middle of a church service and think that was special? Could they recall sitting in an emergency room alone with a child holding a fractured arm and call it a sweet memory? I remember taking a hike with my oldest daughter once, and just took pleasure in watching her take photographs. I could have watched her all day. Would anyone else think that was so special a moment? They probably wouldn’t, because she isn’t their daughter. I’m sure the moments that others have with their own families are just as special to them. The births of each of our children have all been uniquely touching events, each with its own distinctive touch of the miraculous, but only my wife and I share the specialness of them. We lived those moments together. To us they were special.
The thing that makes these moments so individually special is their uniqueness to our own family. For instance, I don’t know of many families who take afternoon drives, and fewer still, who would spend the whole time singing “You Are My Sunshine” in as many different ways as they can think of. We have, and I was particularly impressed with the heavy metal/ screamo version, but the Elvis rendition turned out nice too. Those are memories that are uniquely mine to hang on too.
I guess the reason I don’t share these little moments much is not just out of concern that others can't relate. It is also that deep down I want to hang on to them, and only share these moments selectively. That is good enough reason for why my reply to the question “How was your weekend?” will always be “Fine”.