Wednesday, November 23, 2011

So Very Thankful

I know you're thankful that I've quit coming up with drivel every day. While it was a good exercise to write every day, the whole quality vs. quantity matter needed to be addressed, so I decided to scale back a bit. I don't consider that to be a problem and, judging from the lack of comments on the more lackluster posts (really, pretty much all of them), I'm guessing you don't either.

I've also taken more time in the last week or so to just be more present with my family. I mean, I'm always here because that's my job. Be here to get the kids up, get them dressed, shuttle them to and fro, shop for them, feed them, tuck them in, play with them, etc. but in all honesty, I'm often not really that fully present when I'm completing those tasks. I get caught up in the drudgery of it all, the sense of groundhog day, the frustration of 'why can't the floor stay clean for more than an hour? why can't the refrigerator stay stocked for more than two days? why can't a bathroom stay clean for a day? how does a family of four generate such vast quantities of laundry?' and I let those annoyances cloud my thinking. So then, while I should just be enjoying the fact that Wyatt is regaling me with some game he's invented involving a football which he both throws and catches, yet requires goals like soccer, and he's a Jayhawk battling a fictional foe, I'm caught up thinking about the eight other things I 'should' be doing. Or maybe it's that I also really suck at time management and while I can think of twenty creative things I'd like to do to make our house more of our home, I never quite get to all of them but they're still in my brain, weighing on my to-do list. It's a list, of course, that matters only to me and only serves to distract me from the things that are right in front of me.

So what's the point of this diatribe, you ask? Well, I've received a wake-up call of the hardest kind. A friend of ours passed away this week from lung cancer. She was 36 with no risk factors, incidentally. We weren't close, but knew each other from college; we have a lot of mutual friends and her husband is one of Jeff's pledge brothers. We've tracked her battle since she was diagnosed a little more than a year ago and were able to see them a few times since we were in Kansas this year. Her kids are just a few months younger than mine. We were just at their house for a get-together a month ago today. We all knew Heidi was waging a battle that was as uphill as they come, but she'd just found a promising study in Nashville and she still seemed so strong that night as we sat around their table, talking about college stories, old friends, traveling, kids. You know, just the stuff you talk about when you're with friends that you don't get to see enough. There was talk of a lake trip next summer; Jeff and I suggested South Carolina. She was so determined.

So after we learned last week that all of a sudden things weren't looking very good, that the Nashville study sent her back home for being too sick, I started thinking about how I need to appreciate the small moments more instead of waiting for more interesting things to come my way; that I need to start doing instead of just thinking about doing. Because you know what? I bet Heidi would've given a lot to have a few more mornings to get her kids ready for school, to go through the mundane routines of an every day life. I'm a little ashamed that it's taken something so drastic to wake me from my stupor. There have been events like this before, where I'm made painfully aware how quickly things can be taken, and each time I vow to myself that I'll remember and change yet I always slip back into the old habits. So there's no guarantee I won't this time, too, I suppose. But at the very least, I will try each day to remember that there are so many small graces in my life for which I need to be thankful. I hope this is the start of a new habit, the one where I wake up every day remembering that this is the only day I know is guaranteed and that I need to make the most of it.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Darling's said...

Sorry to read about your friend. What a special time you guys had to visit before she passed. I hope you are able to continue with your 'new habit', sounds just like something I need right now as well! Thank you for sharing.

Happy Thanksgiving to your family!!

SStites said...

I'm so sorry about your friend, too, and I'm glad you are seeing it as a wake up call reminding you to enjoy each moment. Of course there will be "moments" that are NOT so enjoyable, too, but overall, it's so important to just be grateful for each day and for the little "mundane" things that make up our lives. I have no regrets about each sometimes seemingly same-old-same-old day with Ann. Every one held wonderful events (even just a smile or a hug or an ornery little trick she planned and executed) that are now my precious memories. And it makes me sad to see so many moms not taking the time to really be present with their kids. We're all guilty of it at times, but you have certainly become aware of how important every day is, and that is a real step in the right direction!

Adrienne Rost said...

Nicely put!