Friday, May 9, 2014

Being Grateful

First of all let me say Happy Mother's Day to all my mommy friends out there! I hope you have a joyous weekend enjoying the little ones (or big ones) that gave you the title of "mom". It can certainly feel like a thankless job at times but if you can look past the monotony of the day and stop counting the times you asked someone to pick up their _______ (fill in the blank with your own daily burden) then you can focus on the beauty of the day and what being a mom really means to you. If that doesn't work, look at old video's and listen to the sweet voices of your babies and relish the memories of when they used to listen to you without asking "WHY?" or stomping there gigantic feet in the opposite direction. I hope you get breakfast in bed but no food on the sheets. I hope you get handmade something to pack away and cherish for years. I hope you get smiles and laughter and memories so good you don't have to write them down to remember.

My wishes and hopes for you include one more thing. Awareness. As moms we are usually really good at this. The whole "eyes in the back of our head" thing. I am asking for your awareness to include the possibility that the woman sitting next to you or driving by in her car, or standing in line may have a different weekend ahead of her than a large majority of the country. I heard a few horrible stories this week through social media. Heart breaking stories of loss that will, should you read them, make each and every one of you cringe with your own fear of loss that is beyond comprehension. As I click on the heading of these types of stories, sometimes I think maybe I should just click the X at the top corner before I get pulled into the whirlwind of thoughts that will accompany them. Inevitably I read on. Two in particular caught my attention as it's the week before we celebrate motherhood. We will soon be reading many blog posts and articles about being a mom. The story of the "three year old's handprint" will circulate again and bring tears to our eyes as we either, remember our bigs with little tiny hands, or we actually hold onto those little tiny hands and pray that they won't get bigger too fast. Then there are the women in my life that have prayed for a pair of little hands to hold for so long but still do not have a child to call their own. My heart grieves for you. And then, there are the moms like the ones in the stories, who are in deep mourning and I have no words for that. All I can offer is to mourn with them in silence and pray for the sickening pain to ease as they think about the children lost. These words are hard to hear and harder to write as I think about my three babies. My heart goes out to the moms who are painfully remembering this weekend (and always)and have had a little piece of them go onto to heaven before they were ready to say good-bye. As moms we have imagined the worse-case scenario and to be living through it takes something that is known only to God. I pray that their relationship with Him can offer comfort in those moments and I will not be so presumptuous as to offer any kind of comforting words or advice. I do not have them.

We, as parents, often have a piece of us that wants to make it all better. So situations like April Smith's story take our breath away because we can't. Maybe what it will do though, is make you hug your babies tighter and kiss that teenager like he was five again. Moments like these bring my gratefulness FULL FRONT AND CENTER! That no matter how much they messed up today and how many times they didn't listen, they are here, with me, getting tucked into bed with stories and kisses and hugs and "I'll see you in the morning"...God willing. I'm sobbing as I write this (which is a little embarrassing in the library) and I'm wondering what I can do so that my kids know how much I adore them right in this moment. We NEVER know how many moments we truly have here on this Earth. Am I making the most of mine with my children good and bad? I hope so. I want that.

My father in law was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. He is 77 years old and the doctors told us that with chemotherapy he could have a life expectancy of five to eight years. Getting the news about his life expectancy has got me thinking about how much I take life and time for granted. I get in the rut of daily chores and carpool and work and schedules and because of that I may forget to REALLY live each and every day. Sometimes I’m just too tired to think about anything but getting in bed and starting over in the morning. It's so easy to forget. It's so easy to not be intentional about living and having real living moments. Until you’re introduced to the scary unknown of cancer or other illness, or until you lose someone and are thrown in to the upheaval of grief. We are human. It is in our nature to get caught up in the minutiae of living when we are in the daily grind. It takes habit and AWARENESS to step out of that and enjoy the living of the moment, even the boring ones, because the laundry still has to get done (and put away, just sayin')...and even that holds the power of gratitude. Being grateful that your kids are out running around and getting those clothes dirty, or that they are growing big and strong so that favorite shirt doesn't fit anymore...the NOTICING of those things is a living moment.

So how do we do that every day? That will have many different answers. We will forget. We will have to catch ourselves and sometimes we will have to search REALLY HARD and dig REALLY DEEP to live in the moment. But we can do it. We can do it because we think about Ryan and his parents and we are reminded of the preciousness of life and just how fragile it is. (#redballoonsforryan)

We are privileged, BLESSED really, to parent these little creatures even when we are pulling out our hair and not enjoying any of it. Even the bad moments are real living moments because when we piece them together they create our life. My last mother’s day wish for you is many real living moments when you can have complete awareness, a deep breath and a mental snapshot and the opportunity to let those you love the most know just exactly how much.

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