Staying Present (Despite the Past)
I’m 10,000 feet in the air in a cramped plane, heading to Portland for work. I need to prep for an upcoming meeting, but my daughter Ivy dominates my thoughts. She’s eight.
For the first 3 years of life, her nickname was the Night Fury. She earned that name for the unfathomable willpower she demonstrated when it came to resisting sleep. She would notsleep through the night. And when she committed to something (like not sleeping), she went all in.
Amanda and I tried everything. Nothing worked. Ivy didn’t need to sleep as much as most kids, so the result was hours of wailing. Every night.
She was tough. Really tough. And not just at night. She fought us on everything. She fought hard.
I often wondered during those years what Ivy would be like as she got older.
Would she be mean?
Fight with us constantly?
Always push against rules or authority?
It turns out that Ivy couldn’t be more the opposite.
Ivy embodies kindness.
She’s a giver. She makes desserts, like the one pictured above, and then takes them door-to-door to neighbors. My eldest likes to go door-to-door, too, but she’s more interested in selling than giving.
At school, Ivy was honored with a “kindness award” because of her willingness to help fellow classmates. A few months later she won a “generosity award.”
What the heck happened to that ornery kid who used to bark orders all the time and scream at the top of her lungs when she didn’t get her way?
Ivy knew that I was going to be gone this week and would miss Valentine’s Day. To my eight-year-old, this was incredibly sad news. So she plotted and persuaded my wife to take her to the store yesterday so that she could prepare a special Valentine’s sundae for me before I left town. (It was delicious).
My flight left at 6am this morning, so I was up by 4. Ivy made a point to come out before I left to give me a hug. (She still doesn’t require much sleep).
How did the Night Fury become so kind and caring? Will it last? Is this a phase?
Regardless of the answer, my girls are a reminder to stay present and in the moment when I’m with them. Which isn’t always easy.
I read a simple quote from Ben Stiller this morning: “Be here now.”
I couldn’t agree more.