My daughter turned two a couple of weeks ago. Being a parent is an amazing experience, the kind of experience that makes one think of the world and oneself in a different way.
One of these changes is my perception of time -both past and future.
Before I became a parent, I wouldn’t bother much about the future. I happily lived my life, enjoyed the present and looked forward to explore the future that lay ahead.
After becoming a parent, I started thinking of the future in a different way. I even found myself thinking and planning for a future that may exceed my expected life span.
Even little things. “One day we will be able to sit under it’s shade in the warm summer days and enjoy lunch, or tell stories”, I think while planting a small tree in our back yard. “OK, we may have to wait fifty or more years, and maybe I won’t be there to enjoy the shade, but my daughter will”.
The future that matters to me, extends further than it used to.
On the other hand, for me (and most people I guess) childhood was probably the most defining period of my life. Yet, I only have vague memories of this period, memories captured through the eyes of a little child.
Suddenly, I find myself exploring my childhood. Big things and small things too.
Every time my daughter wakes up in the middle of the night, when we play together, as I try to teach her to talk, to climb, to fall, every time I have to decide if I should buy her a toy or not, every time I prepare her food or buy groceries, when we sit with my wife and talk after she’s gone asleep, I’m having little aha moments.
Memories come back, but I also have a glimpse at what happened “backstage” as I was growing up. What happened when I was asleep? Why were my parents doing this or that? What were the experiences that defined me?
It’s like I’m traveling back in time and I’m watching my past through the eyes of an independent spectator.
That’s why, when asked what being a dad changed in my life, I say that my little daughter has given me more past and more future.
Originally published on Medium. You can comment there.