“Daddy! Daddy! Look at all the dragonflies!” My daughter exclaimed with eyes full of excitement and wonder as she stared out over our yard.
“You mean fireflies,” I gently corrected her. We stood for a moment watching the yard glow with the interspersed lights from hundred of fireflies.
“Yeah, fireflies.” She paused for a second, then looked up at me. “Daddy, can you catch me a firefly?”
“I thought you didn’t like bugs.”
“I like fireflies. Catch me one, please?”
And with that, we were wandering about the yard, chasing small yellow orbs that danced in and out of our vision. After a few minutes, we had finally caught one. I held the small insect in my hand and showed it to my daughter. She stared down at it, curiosity covering her features.
“I want to name it!” she said.
“Well, what should we name it then?” I asked back.
“Lulu!” she exclaimed without a second’s hesitation.
I tell this story because it represents something every one of us had at one point and something we should foster in our children; viewing the world through the eyes of a small child.
Everything is exciting. Everything is an adventure.
Something as simple as catching a firefly on a warm summer night is an activity that my daughter relishes in and she asks me every night to see the fireflies.
Hunter Drew, another family man, often speaks of creating Polaroids, not in the literal sense, but rather creating a life full of memories. Every time you create another meaningful memory, you’ve taken another Polaroid picture and are hanging it up.
“When people have ‘near death’ experiences, they always say their life flashed before their eyes. Do you know what’s happening when that’s going on inside their mind?
Their soul is flying along that string and the Polaroids are zipping by as it does. You want to be the guy whose mind has to fly past a lot of photos.”
-Hunter Drew (TheFamilyAlpha.com)
In our consumerist world, we often think we must gift our children with expensive things to create this line of Polaroids.
A trip to Disneyworld.
An extravagant birthday party.
A new car.
There’s nothing particularly wrong with any of these things, but they’re not what make the memories special and lasting. It’s the time spent with you, their family, that makes each memory special. They’re not going to look back at their birthday party 20 years from now and think of the presents they got or how big their cake was, they’re going to remember what they were doing with you.
This is something I’ve struggled with in the past. I often get so wrapped up in the daily minutia that I don’t spend as much time as I should simply enjoying my time with my kids and wife. The long Memorial Day weekend gave me the respite I needed to reconnect and I was fortunate enough to create some memories with my daughters that will last a long time.
We spent the day planting the girls a butterfly garden. The Mrs and I did all the heavy lifting and the girls came in afterwards and planted flower seeds. We topped it off with some solar-powered LED butterflies that light up at night. The girls can’t wait for the sun to go down so they can go out and look at their butterflies. After they see the butterflies, they then want to see the fireflies flitting about the yard.
Every night they ask me the same request: Catch them a firefly. Sometimes I don’t, but when I do, I let them know that the one I’ve caught is their friend Lulu and that she wanted to tell them goodnight before they went to bed.
It doesn’t take a lot of money or work to begin creating your child’s own Polaroid string. In the innocent eyes of a child, all it takes is a firefly named Lulu and a father willing to be there.