Consider this the sequel to my post the other day about how I can't quite fathom how much Jacob has grown up...
A few weeks back I got a new computer at work. I made sure that all of the pictures I had transferred onto my old computer made it to my new computer, because I didn't want to transfer all of them again. I used them mostly for creating these blog posts and for handpicking a fun desktop wallpaper, and while it's probably not necessary for 90% of them to be there now, it's still nice to know they are. My wallpaper can give me a reason to smile in the middle of the worst work day. When I was getting the computer set up, I needed to pick a screensaver. I was surprised at how few options I had with Windows 7, so I settled on the photo slideshow and set it up to shuffle all of the pictures in my folder. Little did I know what a distraction it might become. Now when I come back to my desk and the slideshow is running, I can't help but sit down and stare at it for a bit. Watching random images of the past five years of your life is pretty crazy. It sure as heck makes you wonder for a second why you're wasting time sitting at a desk staring at spreadsheets when you have an adorable child and a whole wide world out there to explore. And then you remember...oh, yeah, you need to fund those explorations somehow.
It's interesting to have these little moments pop up in the middle of a crazy work day, and to allow myself a second to transport back to a great moment-- a vacation, a smiley baby, or a seemingly insignificant but pleasant moment. It's a unique scenario in that I'm seeing these moments in no particular order, isolated from other photos taken at the same time. As a result, it allows each moment to stand alone. A picture that I'd normally look at and gloss over among other ones gets its time in the spotlight and takes on new significance.
I've given all of this a little more thought this week in light of a local tragedy. A 12-year-old boy was hit in the chest with a ball during a lacrosse game (at a facility down the road--the one we went to the open house at over Christmas), and after a few days in the ICU, he passed away. As a parent of a little boy that loves sports, lacrosse in particular, the death hits home. I can't even imagine the agony his parents have gone through this week. Here they were, letting their little boy do something he loved, something that would otherwise be a healthy, positive way to spend his time, and now they're burying him as a result of it. It's a totally freak thing, as it takes perfect placement on the body, at a perfect millisecond of the heartbeat, and in spite of the correct equipment, to cause sudden cardiac arrest. It seems like one in a million, and maybe it is, but there have been a few incidents around here in the past few years--a college player who had a similar incident, a younger kid hit in the base of the head--so it doesn't feel like it's quite rare enough. How can I send my amazing, sweet baby on to that field knowing that things like this can happen? I know that something can happen almost anywhere, but it's so scary.
I think I've mentioned here before that I have a hard time deleting any pictures I take of Jacob, regardless of how blurry or awkward they might be. I always think about how I'd feel if my picture-taking time was finite, and how if I had no more opportunities to take pictures of him, how precious even those crappy ones would be. Whenever I hear of the untimely demise of someone far too young, I always think about their parents. How do they feel looking at those baby pictures? Do they think, "If I knew then what I knew now..."? I'm sure it's a mix of gratefulness for the good times and sadness for what will never be, but does the end result taint the past? Do those baby pictures become more painful or more precious? I can't even begin to think about it. Not knowing the future is both a blessing and a curse, as it gives you the ability to enjoy that time without reservation, but also risks that you won't take full advantage of the time you have.
So, in light of this week's reminder of how precious life is, and knowing we could someday be sending our baby onto a very dangerous field, those little moments I see on my screensaver take on a new significance. God knows the moments are limited enough considering how fast he grows and changes, let alone if we didn't have the rest of our lives to enjoy him. God forbid. Perfect or blurry, silly or sad, mid-blink or too dark, a special occasion or an everyday moment...no matter what, there will never be enough.