Things can change in the blink of an eye. My sister-in-law and I aren’t close. We don’t call each other often, nor do we know each other’s deepest, darkest secrets. But when my step-daughter called Friday morning to tell me her Aunt Teresa was in the hospital, I couldn’t get there fast enough.
As I waited for Teresa to get out of surgery, wondering if I’d ever get to talk to her again, I reflected on the 20+ years I’ve known her. My favorite memories: dancing & singing along with the band at Little Bit of Texas, eating at Alexander’s Steakhouse (cook your own!), the time we tried to cut up a chicken (what is that? I don’t recognize that at all!), and comparing notes on crafty things we wanted to try (she was one of the few people I trusted with my Cricut cartridges). She was the first person I showed my engagement ring/wedding ring to when her husband proposed.
When they moved her to ICU, I was glad I could sit by her side and offer a tiny bit of comfort at that moment. I was glad I could help her by pushing that call button when she was unable to.
We may have grown apart over the years . . . but don’t we all? I’m sad to say that I talk to very few friends on a regular basis.
But I’m happy to report that I got to hear Teresa’s voice again last night. She’s making progress and doing better than expected. (yea!!!)
Sadly, hers is not the only crisis going on right now. A very good friend of mine is fighting cancer, also at a young age. I hope I am there for her when she needs me. And I hope I am able to make many more memories with both of them.
And that leads me to this post.
Life is precious.
Life is short.
Do not take it for granted.
Take time to call those people who are important to you.
Most of all . . . put that phone down and pay attention to the world around you.
My daughters and me at Jodi’s (first) college graduation
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and stepmoms out there. I want to send a special shout out to those of you who wear both hats. When my husband asked me to marry him, I knew that it was about so much more than a marriage. It was about becoming a blended family. Take a broken family, add me, and ta-da! Instant family. To make things more complicated, we got pregnant right away. In the beginning, I imagined a storybook situation, where I would be room mother, taking treats to every elementary school party. I imagined that our house would be the cool house, where the kids would have friends over for sleepovers and I’d provide lots of snacks and a sundae bar.
In reality, I struggled to juggle it all.
My pregnancy went south and my daughter was born at 28 weeks, had several surgeries and spent months in the hospital. In my imaginary world of being a stepmother, I overlooked the fact that my stepdaughter had a mother. I didn’t think about the fact that holidays would be fraught with stress. My daughter needed physical therapy, occupational therapy, and lots of doctors’ appointments. Life was not as I imagined it, in any way, shape or form.
But we survived. And this Mother’s Day reinforced the fact that I did the best I could, and that I did something right (though Lord knows I did a LOT wrong). My stepdaughter called first thing this morning and wished me a happy Mother’s Day. She came by and we went to brunch. This afternoon, my daughter called and wished me a happy Mother’s Day, then came by to see us after work. I am so proud of both of them. What I wanted for them was to be happy, healthy, independent women. And they are.
So, if you are about to embark on the wild roller coaster ride of motherhood, I have a few tips for you:
- Sometimes you’ll have to work when you really want to take cupcakes to the school party. Don’t beat yourself up. Not everyone can do that, and the kids won’t remember in 20 years which mom made cupcakes.
- If you don’t have time to make real treats to take to the school party, it’s no big deal. Buy chips or cookies.
- When your kids want to have friends over to spend the night, don’t say no because your house is a mess. Big friggin’ deal. Get over it and let them have friends over.
- Don’t worry about your kids keeping up with everyone else’s kids when it comes to clothes, cell phones and activities. Focus on YOUR kids, what they want and what you can afford.
- Don’t get a TV for the kids’ rooms. Even if you’re all sitting together in the living room watching TV, you’re doing it together, creating shared memories.
- Make memories. It’s not about how much you spend, it’s about the time you spend together. Color Easter eggs. Visit Santa Claus. Go to parades. Make green spaghetti for St. Patrick’s Day. Go fishing.
Social media is a time suck. You know it and I know it, yet I can’t quit. It’s kind of addictive. Once I pull that feed up and start reading, I keep reading. Post after post. Meme after meme. I want to know what everyone is thinking and doing.
Last night I asked my 19 year old daughter if she saw something I posted on Facebook recently. She shook her head and said she doesn’t really read her Facebook feed very often. As I laid awake in bed last night, I thought about that.
When you are on social media, do you read obsessively? Do you look to see what everyone is doing and saying? Who likes this, who doesn’t? I catch myself doing that with my posts. Is anyone reading what I write? Does anyone care? My Instagram feed is full of beautiful people in exotic places, or creative types that are running successful businesses (all while looking perfectly put together). I compare myself to them, wish my photos were better, wish my house was neater, wish I had a decorator’s eye. Come on! Get real! That’s like looking through a peep hole, watching people – and seeing only that tiny bit of their lives that they choose to share.
Or do you occasionally post an update, fill people in on what’s going on? Is social media a tiny slice of your life? Does it fit in between your activities, here and there, as you have time? Are you DOING things that enrich your life and make you happy?
Katelyn & me at Silver Beach
We need to disconnect from social media, lift our heads, open our eyes and look around. What’s around you right now is LIFE.
Get out and live it.