A couple weeks ago, my parents were over and my dad started grilling me:
Dad: Are you going to teach Miles how to fish?
Dad: Why not?
Me: I hate fishing.
Dad: He should learn to fish.
Me: Teach him to fish yourself, if you want to so bad.
Mom: Your dad just wishes he had taught you kids to fish.
After this, I started teasing them about the other things they could have wished (like, they could have wished they'd bought me a car, for example), and my mom said "We don't wish any material things for you kids."
Growing up, we weren't living in a cardboard box, but our little mobile home was pretty modest. When I was really young, my dad worked more than one job while finishing his high school diploma. My dad ended up with a good job, but there was still not money to have lots of "things." And now, 20-something years after I was born, my parents don't wish they'd bought us more stuff. They wish they'd spent more time with us, teaching us things like fishing. I, however, think they spent plenty of time with us - we played football in the yard nearly every summer evening, and card games all winter. And I could only take so many family "sock sorting" nights (oh yes, that is what it sounds like - an evening devoted to sorting socks).
That's what I was thinking about this evening while I tucked my two year old into bed. He was sitting cross-legged on the mattress, strumming his broom like a guitar, while we sang He's Got the Whole World in His Hands over and over. There's two songs that we sing every night: Whole World, and the ABC's. Miles likes these songs, but he has one absolute favourite song, which I never sing. It is called Co-co-ua-ua, and it's a Spanish song about a crying chicken. When he requests it, I politely decline and speed up the tucking-in process.
Tonight, however, we sang co-co-ua-ua over and over and over. In 20-something years, when Miles is my age, I won't wish that I had rushed back to my computer and written a proposal quicker so that I would sign a contract and be able to buy him more stuff. In fact, I can't think of a single thing I'd like to buy for him. Instead, like my parents, I'll be wishing I'd spent more time with him, even if it means singing about a crying chicken in a language I don't understand.