Each day, Jose has 7th period free, so I get to spend time with him each afternoon. It is nice to have this time just to ourselves. Of course, throughout the evening, after he has gotten home from work or percussion ensemble rehearsal, we will have little gab sessions while Quintin practices his band music on guitar.

With Jose in percussion ensemble, I get some one-on-one time with Quintin, and tonight was a great night. After Sophie turned in at 11:00pm, Quintin and I talked for almost 90 minutes. We looked up Fort Defiance, Arizona to see where he was born on the reservation, and he began remembering several things of his childhood. He recalled a town where his “Nally” [grandmother] grew up, and within a few minutes I had located the town which is several hours from Fort Defiance. Then Quintin remembered where he lived a short while in Navajo, New Mexico. We found his old home, the school, and the huge trading post/shopping store.

It is a peculiar thing to call someone your son, yet you have no recollection of his childhood. Yet, Quintin, like Jose, already feels as though he has been my son since birth. Grant it, there are no memories of those typical milestones, but it doesn’t matter. As I once told Jose, “physically, you have not been my son your entire life; however, spiritually, you have always been mine.”

Even Quintin slipped yesterday when he described something he thought I already knew. He caught himself and laughed, “Oh, yeh. I keep forgetting there are some things that happened before you became my dad.”

Two months ago today, February 4th, Jose, Quintin and I were romping along trails through the Petroglyphs, enjoying lunch and shopping in Old Towne Albuquerque, and having a blast at the zoo. Already, two months seems years long passed.

As much as I love time spent with both sons together – sharing jokes and tons of laughter, each of us describing our day, lingering at the dinner table long after our plates have been scraped clean, running errands (and still laughing and cutting up) – I value the time spent individually with Jose and Quintin. I once heard a parent say her life was a balancing act trying to make sure she spent equal amounts of time with her children. I don’t keep track of the amount of time I spend alone with each son. But I do keep track of how time continues to trot forward, often at a pace that is simply not to my liking, constantly reminding me that each moment is precious, sacred, beautiful, and not to be missed.

I learned this from my own mother, and I continue to learn from her as I grow older. I know how dearly she loves spending time with me, and my sons, as well as my brother and his family. It is also obvious how splendid her world is when she has all of us together no matter how limited the time.

These moments as a parent matter more than anything else. If I treasure them so deeply now, I cannot even begin to imagine just how much more wonderful they will be when the boys are all grown with families of their own. One day, I shall sit amidst the laughter and noise of my own enlarged family, treasuring the new moments with my sons and their families.

And, like my grandparents, and Mother, I know I shall begin to treasure those times spent with those who will call me, “Shay” [‘grandfather’ in Navajo], or “Pop.”

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