My little sister changed her facebook status update to this the other day: Tired of all the “goodbyes” this year… God is definitely filling up his house with some of the most amazing people.
She wrote that because my brother-in-law’s mom had just died. It was sudden, and shocking, and beyond words with sadness. Vicky was an amazing woman. The quintessential mom. She birthed and raised a beautiful daughter and identical triplet boys! She had a touch of the same cooky-ness my Gramma had. She was warm and inviting and loved you right off the bat. She baked homemade cookies and cooked delicious dinners, and made her own ceasar salad dressing. She was funny and easy to be around and talk to. You met her and felt like you knew her forever. The last time I saw her at my nieces’ birthday party, she came up to say goodbye to me and she gave me a hug and told me I was good mom and “a very special lady.” You know if you’re a stay-at-home-mom like me, encouragement like that is few and far between, but means the world.
Both of the deaths of Vicky and my Gramma, so close together, have sent my mind whirling. Life is such a blip on the radar screen. And death will come. We don’t know when, but it will. And no matter how long you live for, life is too short.
It’s made me look at my own life and evaluate how I’m spending it. Am I spending my days doing what is most important? Or am I spinning my wheels with meaningless activity? What’s “important” and what’s “meaningless” anyway? Who decides? Will I die one day wishing I had done more or regretting choices I’ve made? I hope not.
So, I’ve been sitting with these questions for a bit and, while I certainly don’t have it all figured out, I think I can say with certainty that I have part of it figured out.
We live simply. We have to. We just don’t have a lot. We can’t afford a lot. Five and half years ago, we made the choice for me to stay at home and raise our children while Geric worked, so we went from a dual income family with no kids to a single income family with three kids. And there have been days that I’ve questioned that choice.
The day that I sat in the social services office waiting for two hours to put myself and my unborn baby on medi-cal was definitely one of those days.
But when I sit and think about how incredibly short life is, I know with certainty that we made the right choice. We may be “poor” by American standards, but I will never regret all the time I have had with my kids.
Life can so easily become about making money and running in the rat race and striving to be more successful than your own parents. But, honest to God, I won’t be an old lady wishing I had bought one more pair of shoes, or had the swagger wagon with the video players inside, or owned a house with a pool. Family is what is important.
May I always remember that. Even when the days feel long and exhausting and frustratingly impossible, may I always remember what a privilege it is to be able to spend my life in such a meaningful way.