I’m feeling reflective today after learning that a local child’s parent died. If it happened to my family, what would my children remember? Would they remember how much I love them? The feel of my hugs, the sounds of our laughter, the little details that I try to add to things? Would they remember how many times I said no, when I was cranky?
I can’t even begin to imagine the pain the family is going through—wife without her husband, children without their father, best friend without the best friend. And because I can’t imagine the pain, I think about how lucky my family and I are not to have to go through this experience. Because our lives are so busy and we’re constantly rushing from one thing to another, we don’t often take the time to appreciate what we have. We let the little things, the things we think matter but really don’t, get in the way and don’t stop to think about what would happen if everything I know now, right now, changed?
And then something like this happens, and we hug a little tighter, add in an extra “I love you,” put down our work or turn off the TV and spend a few more minutes together. All of that is great, until we move on. Our lives continue and we forget to add in the extra “I love you.” We snap at one another because we’re over-worked or over-tired and don’t bother to apologize because we know we can do it later.
I start out with the best of intentions—I’m going to be patient, smile more, yell less. I’m going to be silly and goofy and treasure every moment. Those intentions soon give way to reality and my guilt sets in. I should have done this, I shouldn’t have said that. Occasions such as the death of someone make me take a step back and I realize something important. What will I<strongremember? As my children get older and busier, will I remember the fun times we had, the kisses and hugs, the smell of them sleeping? Or will I remember all the times I felt guilty for not living up to my expectations?
I think I’d rather enjoy the moment, while doing the best I can to make moments last a lifetime. And if I’m not perfect, oh well. No one is. And maybe my children will learn that perfection isn’t necessary. That we try as hard as we can, we fail often, but we always keep trying. That “no” is not the end of the world. And we have as much fun along the way as we can.