We are now living in a society where social media is able to do many things to connect, inform and publicize anything and everything you could think of. One of the most popular being Facebook, one of the main reasons I use it for is sole bragging rights of my children. I feel compelled to post about each milestone, every accomplishment, almost documenting each and every move they make. To say I am proud mother may be one of the biggest under statements of all time.
But with that said, I have also been connected to so many families who post the journeys of their children who are suffering and need as many prayers and support as they can get. To see and read some of their stories of what these helpless babies and children endure, it almost seems unreal; that it can't be true for it is just too painful and too inhumane for any person or family to imagine, let alone, endure.
For some of these children, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and although it may be a long, unthinkable fight, they have a cure... they have hope that at some point, this nightmare will be fought and beaten. For others, they will gain their angel wings all too early and leave this world before their lives have even had a chance to begin.
With that said, despite never ever being prepared to say goodbye, some families are given a timeline signifying the days, weeks, months or at best, years, that they will have left with their child.
Although I pray that I will never be one to receive that type of earth shattering news, I think to myself that there may be the tiniest silver lining to this devastation, of not only living each day to the fullest with your child, but living for each and every moment with them; being in each moment, breathing each moment and physically living each moment with them, and maybe sometimes even for them.
After being delivered such news, a timeline in which you are forced to squeeze a lifetime of hopes, wants, and dreams into a time frame that doesn't come close to being possible, or for that matter, fair.
The trivial matters of life, well... they no longer matter, and for some, no longer exist. This world that we coexist in with 7 billion other people, miraculously just shrunk down to two, you and your child. Anything or anyone that used to deviate your time, thoughts or energy from what is most important in life, no longer has that control.
The chores that need to be done, you realize that they will still be there waiting for you. As soon as the laundry is caught up, there will be another load waiting for you to wash. The minute the dishes are done, there is already another pile stacked beside the sink to be cleaned. The floors, the dusting, the sanitizing and the organizing, all things that are "OK" to be on hold. You will quickly come to find none of them will be moved or have disappeared, they will be safely waiting in each of their appropriate holding spots for when you're able to get to them.
The constant daily demands, they no longer govern your day/life. The calls, texts, emails, or putting in extra hours to appease someone in a higher authority or maybe to even placate yourself, seem to be put to the wayside. You now have a very distinct picture of what and who matter and all others can take a number and wait patiently for a response.
The "put offs," the "this can wait until tomorrow", the "we'll do it, just not today", those no longer seem to be a part of your vocabulary because frankly, this isn't the case. Today just may be your only option and when it takes Superman to make it happen, you politely say to the doubting others, "Please step aside and watch me make it happen."
The saving of the money and waiting for the right time becomes a thing of the past. Why save for a rainy day when it is already upon you?
Wait until you have enough money to have kids.
Wait until you have more money in your kids' college funds to take them on that family vacation you all have been dreaming about.
"Wait until"... it has quickly turned into NOW. The truth is, you'll never have enough or the ideal amount of money in each fund or each area of your life. Use it on the people and things that matter, leaving memories permanently imprinted upon your heart that you'll never find yourself regretting.
Could such a curse, such a devastation, possibly be a blessing in disguise? Is it possible that some parents are able to make more of their time in several, all too short months versus what some of us parents are able to do in several years? Unfortunately, I think this is absolutely true.
Life happens. It happens every single day. We work. And we work long and hard. The laundry and dishes needs washed, the house needs vacuumed and swept and dusted, the bills need paid, errands need run, groceries need bought, meals need prepared, calls and emails need returned, and the list could go on and on.
But at the end of the day, can some of that wait? Is it possible that those daily callings are able to be postponed and put on hold? I'm certainly not trying to be unrealistic and say we are able to live in a world where nothing needs or should be done besides basking in our children's glory. Not at all. But maybe a simple secret to be successful in this is to stay up later and wake up earlier. Let your children's time be your time. Remember that they are only little for a short while and before we know it, there will come a day that they no longer want or need to be around us nearly as much as we'd like... or maybe even need.
Read that extra book at bedtime that you're normally too exhausted to tackle. Wear out the words "I love you" and not only say it, but show it. Wrap your arms around your loved ones twice as much as you normally do and when they ask why you're doing this, simply reply with, "just because."
Take the time to put down the phones and the computer and look at your children and partner when they're speaking to you; give them your undivided attention and not just hear them but listen to them.
So, if you knew today was your last day with your children, what would you do or maybe not do? What are you able to cut out of your daily schedule that doesn't permit you to actually enjoy it, to spend an adequate amount of quality time with your children?
If we woke up with the thought that today was our last day, I think we would start living a more fulfilled life... one actually worth living for.
Today is your last day... so what are you going to do with it?
Long is a teacher, author, columnist, grad student, photographer, and most importantly, wife and mother to three, soon to be four children under the age of six.
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