Time travel and being present

The other day, I took the kids to our neighborhood park. They were so full of energy and I was…so not. While they played I perched on the low perimeter wall and played eyeball Double Dutch as the three of them ran from slide to tire swing to climbing structure.

But then I saw a mother who was so into what her baby was doing, seeing, feeling, and experiencing at that very moment in that very playground and, instead of the usual guilt punch to the solar plexus (roughly 75% of parenting is a guilt reaction), I watched them and acknowledged how nice it all was.

Then I started wondering- in that way that you only can when you’re staring at someone in a slightly creepy, slightly unfocused way- if maybe something else was at play, here.

What if what I was witnessing wasn’t simply stellar parenting, but actual time travel?

Stay with me for a sec.

What if, in the not-so-far future, people have the ability to relive moments in their life? The quiet ones, the mundane ones, the ones which everyone tells you to stop and enjoy (which is totally the verbal equivalent of not picturing a pink elephant)?

And what if it weren’t limited to people with tiny children? Maybe this mighty sentimental time travel could allow for afternoons with healthy parents and first loves and, okay, really good dogs. What if you could just pop into a specific time frame and give everyone involved the love, attention, and undiluted eye contact you aim for each morning- and lament the lack of each evening?

It would give you the chance to be the kind of person you’d be without social media and national anguish and good ol’ fashioned exhaustion.

You could really hear that giggle, touch that soft cheek, hold that hand gripping yours and just…be there. Peacefully aware that this is it, this is the good stuff, and you’re needed nowhere else in the world as much as you’re needed in that very moment. (Or, if you are, maybe you can pencil in a time travel jaunt at a later date. Certainly not now. Right now you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be; after all, you programmed in the date and time, didn’t you?)


Of course, this type of futuristic technology could only be used for good. It simply wouldn’t work if your intentions weren’t nice. (Sorry, Nazis.) And you couldn’t effect change or anything like that, no, this hyper-specific time travel only allows for Being Present.

And yes, I’m aware that:

-While I was creating this alternate scenario, I wasn’t being even the slightest bit present with the kids in my line of sight.

-The only way I can imagine being a perfect parent is through the use of sci-fi devices.

-Kids would probably suffocate under the weight of Constant Parental Presence.

-This technology [probably] doesn’t, and won’t, exist.

But it’s a nice thought, isn’t it? The idea of a cosmic do-over, a second (or third!) chance, a refreshing of the moments so complex they’re mentally impossible to hold in exquisite and physical detail?

It’s a nice thought.



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