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When it’s gone, it’s gone

By Nathan Rice

“Limited Edition.” You’ve probably seen it printed on different items throughout the years. It is meant to show that there were only a certain number of something made. The limited-edition status is often used to encourage people to get the item while they can. There are no more being produced. When they’re gone, they’re gone!

Limited-edition items often cost more than items that are mass produced. Scarcity has a way of increasing the price. For example, does anyone remember when Hostess declared bankruptcy and stopped producing Twinkies? Boxes that once sat on store shelves for less than five dollars were selling on the Internet for ten or twenty times that amount. People knew there were no more Twinkies coming off the line. They were now a limited edition, and the price reflected this new status.

Most of us understand this concept when it comes to physical things such as a sports collectible or a discontinued snack cake, but we often miss the limited-edition nature of time.

I almost missed it last week. It was Saturday afternoon, and I had just clocked into my second job. I left my first employer at 1 p.m. and went straight to my second job. I had several tasks that I needed to complete by the end of the day. My phone dinged, and Timothy asked, “Are we doing the Easter egg stuff today?” I was tired and I knew that I needed to complete the tasks by the end of the day. I was getting ready to say that we couldn’t do it today, but I began to think about how he was 12 years old. I know that the joy that comes from coloring hard-boiled eggs and finding hidden plastic eggs will fade away soon. At 12 years old, this could be the last Easter he wants to continue this tradition. I clocked out at work, and I went to get Timothy.

The next day I was more tired than the day before, as both of my jobs had numerous deadlines that kept me busy all week long. “Can we have a Nerf gun war in the backyard?” Timothy asked. I wanted to take a nap, but my mind returned to his age of 12. Adolescence is quickly overtaking his childhood, and I know that his days of Nerf gun wars are coming to an end. A few moments later, his Nerf guns and box of darts joined us in the backyard.

The most limited-edition thing in life is time. Every day is unique, and when a day passes, it is gone forever. It can never return. Likewise, our time with those we love is limited. Children will only be their current age once. There may be days it seems like children will never outgrow their current phase, but I guarantee you they will not stay the same. They will not remain babies forever. Their toddler years will not last. Elementary school days will end, and unlike Twinkies, they will not make a return.

This was Timothy’s only Easter as a 12-year-old. It will never happen again. I’m glad I decided to treat that weekend as a limited-edition item, because I know that when it’s gone, it’s gone.

Nathan Rice is a Hampton Roads native and can be reached at nrice@abnb.org.