Today, our daughter is going on her first ever school field trip. Her kindergarten class is going to the beach. This shouldn’t be that big of a deal to me. We’ve taken her to the beach a hundred times over the years (one of the bonuses about being in the Navy is that you usually live near an ocean). While the teacher/student ratio in her class is just short of catastrophic, there are plenty of chaperons going along, including my wife. All in all, it seems like it’s going to be a pretty safe and fun evolution. There’s certainly nothing to worry about.
So, why has it been on my mind all morning? Normally, I would try to get the day off, but there’s a fairly important teleconference in the late morning that I’m the moderator for. I have to be there, so I came into work today (let’s just assume that I’m writing this post during some sort of lunch break). To be honest, I didn’t really try to make other arrangements because I didn’t view the field trip as anything major. As I sit here, I may have been mistaken.
I really don’t like missing “firsts.” I’ve missed quite a few of them since our daughter was born, and I’m sure I’ll miss plenty more in the future. It’s just the nature of the beast when you’re a military family. The job takes you away for long stretches of time, and you miss a lot of things that will never happen again. There’s not much you can do besides smile at the pictures and hope you’re there for the next event.
I have been fortunate in the fact that I’ve been on shore duty for a couple years now. I’ve got to experience pretty much everything, and I’ve been there for a ton of “firsts.” Unfortunately, I think I’ve started to take the moments for granted. I forget that this time at home is going to end, and one day I’ll be experiencing her first basketball game through e-mails and pictures.
Is today’s field trip one of the most momentous occasions ever? No. When she looks back, is this going to be one of the moments that she never forgets? Probably not. Do I still wish that I would have blown off this meeting and met the bus at the beach? You better believe it. Maybe next time.