YOUR STORY

Setting Priorities during the COVID-19 Pandemic

“99.9% of being a good parent is just being present with your child.  On the flipside of that, 100% of being happy is just being present.” – Mark Webber

As a young parent, you’ll often hear fellow parents echo the expression, “It goes by fast” and the reason why that is said so often is because it’s true.  As my daughter Juliet Rose recently turned the precious age of four years old, I decided to take this month’s article to reflect on the last 12 months.    

The year of uncertainty

Going through a pandemic presents its own unique set of challenges to each of us.  Attempting to raise a lively, energetic, athletic now 4 year old certainly has had its own particular set of challenges. 

As someone who loves quotes, one of my favorites during this time has been: “Adversity doesn’t build character; it reveals it.”  As tough as things got, as bleak as things looked, I know I needed to be strong, optimistic and creative in how to go about parenting during this time.  However, being strong, optimistic and creative should be characteristics of a parent no matter the time.  

Outdoor adventures, nature walks, bike rides, DIY arts and crafts, in-home gymnastics, dance parties and pretend magic shows are just some of the ways we kept ourselves busy and safe on a daily basis.  And I’m proud to say my daughter has started learning and speaking some Italian as well. 

Always the priority

I feel lucky and blessed to have the time I have with my daughter.  Even prior to the pandemic, I would organize my schedule to ensure I had ample time every day to play and care for her.  

When she asks the questions, “Daddy, will you play with me?”, the answer is always “yes.”  If I’m doing some stretching on the ground or in the middle of a workout and she jumps on me and wants a piggyback ride, she gets one.  If I’m on my computer doing work, I stop.  No workout and no job is more important that spending time with her.  I’ve prioritized these moments, for I know (and I’ve been “warned”) that there will come a day where she won’t be jumping on my back for a piggyback ride.  And instead of “Daddy, will you play with me?” it will be, “Dad, I’m going out tonight.”  Now I know I shouldn’t rush things, but remember how “it goes fast.” That’s even more reason why I always make the time. 

We all learn from each other

I work with and train a lot of older clients, many in their 70s and 80s, so the conversations I have with them puts a lot of things in perspective for me.  What’s ironic about my relationships with these clients is that they are teaching me as much about life as I am teaching them about fitness and health. It’s also a constant reminder for me that the ultimate dad, Father Time, continues to march on. 

When I look back on my life, it’s not going to matter how many TV shows I’ve been in or wrestling matches I’ve had, even though I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and worked hard for it.  It isn’t going to matter how many followers I had on social media or how many likes my posts get.  What truly matters is all these precious moments that we are creating every day.  I’m much more focused on how many piggyback rides I give then how many followers I have. 

It’s obviously been a unique year but one full of memories, love and happiness nonetheless.  Just don’t ask me about potty training.