When I am preparing to say goodbye at the end of my days I will have my children gathered around me. Embracing them I will tell them that, through all of the years we spent together, they taught me so much more than I ever taught them. From the very first day I heard the heartbeat of our first babe, I have spent more time on my knees with prayers to the heavens above to help me not feel so inadequate. And that feeling of inadequacy has only grown over the years as these sweet babes grow into five of the most amazing human beings I could have ever imagined knowing. And my days are spent in awe, they are spent in breathtaking awe as I watch them grow into the people they are meant to be. And it is me who is left with the lessons learned from the things my children teach me.
They have taught me to take your time in the good moments, even if it’s past bedtime. Because the late-night giggles are far too sweet to cut short. And it’s about dancing like no ones watching because life should never be too serious. It’s being exactly who you are and not caring what anyone else thinks. It’s not rushing off after a meal is finished. It’s lingering longer around the dinner table – the dishes can wait. It’s having big arguments and then laughing together twenty minutes later because the days are far too short to stay angry. And besides, nothing is that serious. It’s smiling and laughing and not worrying about what you look like while doing it. And the really big kind of laughs, you know? That leave your cheeks hurting and your sides aching.
It’s jumping in the puddles after a good rainstorm. It’s skipping rocks and listening to the wind rustle the leaves without worrying about that damn to-do list. It’s saying “I Love You” as often as you possibly can and while you still have breath in your lungs. It’s hugging longer because they are never long enough. It’s forts built on a Saturday morning because chores can wait. It’s snuggling up under a blanket over a good movie on Sundays. And it’s having the courage to make big changes and live life differently because you only have one chance at it. It’s looking ahead with excitement and not making space for the ‘what if’s’ because a really good adventure doesn’t have room in the suitcase for them.
You know what I think? I think us grownups get it wrong a lot of the time. And we put worry and stress where there should be laughter and love. Because that worry and stress? It never does change a single thing. But that laughter and that love? Those moments that fill you with the deepest joy? Those are the days that you cling to. Those are the memories that will be running through my head at the end of my days. Those are the memories that I will be seeing replay in my mind as I tell them all ‘I love you’ one last time…