Sunday, October 25, 1998 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

E-mail article     Print


You Never Know When Moments For The Best Memories Will Appear

Special To The Seattle Times

"Quality Time." Whoever thought up that concept probably did not have any kids. I have come to this conclusion after spending the last three years with my 7-year-old son, Zachary, and the past three months with my newborn son, Peter. The two of them, especially Peter, have no concept of what quality time is. Zachary is just figuring out what time itself is and Peter is just taking in everything. And regardless of what my kids think of time, I am sure that I do not know beforehand what will and what will not be "quality time."

The person who thought up the idea of quality time had the right idea in the abstract but nobody has the key to determining what time will be quality and what time will just be. Like beauty, quality is in the eye of the beholder. Or as the saying goes, "I'll know quality when I see it." People know quality time when they remember it. Personally, I am glad that I do not have a magic switch that turns time into quality time. I am glad that I cannot just schedule my kids' precious memories into my day. That I need to spend lots of time with my kids just to get a few precious memories.

It is interesting to find out what times our 7-year-old thinks are special. He remembers the summer two years ago when we three got married (I met my wife, Lisa, and her son Zachary when he was about 4); and the trip we took to Mount Baker. He remembers the mountain that turned out to be clouds and the sand alligator we made which had eaten part of a man's arm. We like to make cookies together and I think he will remember baking as our special time. He will also probably remember the trip that we took this summer to a family reunion - being in the car, Yellowstone Park, swimming, meeting and playing with people at the reunion and, of course, his brother throwing up in the Safari Room in Wyoming.

He will also probably remember all of the animal skins and stuffed animals at the throw-up place. But only he will decide which of the times and events qualify as quality and which do not. I am just glad that we have been able to provide the quantity.

So far with our new baby, every moment together has been special for me. I remember the first time that I ever held a baby was when I held Peter in my arms just after he was born. I was so afraid that I would break him, that I had to sit down and have my wife, Lisa, place him gently in my arms. I know that Peter will not remember the times that we have spent together so far - the walks, or even the nine months before we ever got to see him. Or at least not the details. But I do know that because of my experiences with Zachary, I must spend lots of time with both of my kids. I do not know how much quality time I have spent with my wife and children but some day I will. Whether my family remembers a favorite movie that we have seen together, or a trip we have taken, or just the time we have sat around the dinner table, I hope they all decide that I have given them enough time to get some quality.

- Michael T. Miyoshi lives in Monroe and teaches high-school engineering and drafting.

Essay appears Sundays in Scene, aimed, as all of Scene is, at the styles and vagaries of everyday life. To contribute a piece for consideration, send it to Essay, The Seattle Times/Scene, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111. It must be less than 700 words and include your name, a daytime telephone number, a sentence or two about who you are, and a snapshot of yourself. We cannot return essays or photos. Essays are subject to editing.

Copyright (c) 1998 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


Get home delivery today!