Life is short.

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.

3 responses

  1. Wow! that was so awesome and exactly what I needed to read today. Even though I have raised my kids and still have a teen at home. I to need to be more thankful for what I have and know that God will take care of the rest with the assuredness and faith that he will. Love you Erin.

  2. E- I totally understand. Nothing can make me feel ickier than sitting at the WIC office, waiting for my “checks” for my “government cheese”. I sit there thinking, how did the girl from above Baseline in LaVerne get to a place in life where she feels like the scummy white trash of the earth? Then, I climb into my POS SUV and hand my kid the portable DVD player. I grew up with a silver spoon in my mouth, and now if I had an actual silver spoon, I might sell it on Craigslist to pay a bill. But on the flip side, I look at my kid and he looks at me and one of his most common phrases is, “mommy guess what, I love you”. And I think “YES!!!”. This is all worth it. In 20 years, he won’t know that we struggled to pay the bills. He won’t know that we had the cheapest cable package. He’ll just remember that we had fun, and that mommy was home and that “I had fun”. (another favorite phrase of his). Because, Mommy is his favorite playmate, and I’m always here. Especially since Saturday is my last day of work. 🙂 Keep up the good work Erin! Feel better knowing that you aren’t alone. My whole family is on Medi-Cal. You’re right, and at the end of your life you’ll look up (this is assuming you’re dying while laying down) and you’ll be surrounded by your boys. Not your cool minivan, not your designer clothes and certainly not your big house with a pool. Your boys. This is why we “suffer”. Are we really the ones suffering after all? What about those ladies that don’t get the time with their kiddos because they work to feed the beast. I think that maybe they suffer just a little bit more everyday. And I wouldn’t trade them places (or my flip flops for their Prada heels) for anything. Ok, maybe just for ONE day!

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