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A Missed Opportunity

By Alex Stein Columnist Well, he came home from college just the other day So much like a man I just had to say "Son, I'm proud of you, can you sit for a while?" He shook his head and said with a smile "What I'd really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys See you later, can I have them please?"

The other night I was lying in bed listening to the radio when Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” came on. For those who don’t know, “Cat’s in the Cradle” is the story about a father and his son and their faltered relationship over the course of their lives. Toward the middle of the song, the son returns from college and finds it more important to go out then catch up with his father who he presumably hasn’t seen in awhile.

I have heard this song countless times over my life but never before had it struck me the way it did this time. I have reached the point in my life where the above stanza applies and it is kind of frightening. For most of us, we will be returning home very soon to celebrate the holidays with our families who we haven’t seen that much since college has started. Just like the boy in the song we plan on meeting up with old high school friends and take time to rejuvenate after a long four months of school. While these are necessities, the most important part about returning home is to spend time with family. The days of sitting down at the dinner table with the whole extended family are getting more numbered as we get older, earn jobs, and start lives of our own. When we were younger we took these for granted. There will always be time to check Facebook, go out with friends, and sit in front of the television.

Unfortunately, as we get older, members of our family get older as well. We will come to appreciate the moments the time spent with these people and care less about that time we skipped out on them to go to do something else. The biggest regret I would have when I returned to school the following week was know I missed out on talking to my grandparents.

Decades from now we are going to look back and wonder where all the time went. Family members will have come and gone and all we would want is that extra hour to sit with them and talk. Luckily, we have that time now. Don’t waste it. Happy Holidays.

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