Tragedy happens. Horribleness happens.
You don’t have to travel far or spend much time online to be hit with that awful, gut-wrenching reality.
We cannot control tragedy. We can do our best to prevent it, but we cannot control it. Bad things happen to
good people. No one is immune to it.
Okay. I have accepted that. Well, I have momentarily come to terms with that and have to rely on my faith when I let my mind go to those dark “what if” moments.
What keeps me up and my mind racing is my most difficult, nightly reflection:
Did I love enough today?
See, I cannot control what tragedies my family may face. What I can control is what I do with my time in this very moment. That is daunting to me. The heavy responsibility of knowing that I am deciding how to use each moment. Every single moment
could be is a precious one and I do not want to waste them.
However, I also want some down time where I literally do nothing but waste time. That down time to re-energize and gather my thoughts. Time to let my brain recharge and my mind settle.
What have I done? Have I wasted a hug or a smile or a moment that I will forever regret. Is my selfish need for some “me” time robbing me of valuable time with my family? How can I do better tomorrow?
I am also a 1st grade teacher. Parents send their own little people to me every day to help guide them and teach them. Did I love them enough today? Or did I allow myself to get caught up in the daily routine or the sea of standards, to forget to look at each one of them, individually, and make a connection today? Do they know that I care about them and want the very best for them?
Am I spending too much time worrying about my littles at work that I am taking precious time from my littles at home? How do I, as a working mom, balance the drive between my first passion, teaching, and my current incredible blessing, my family?
What if today is my last day with my husband and sweet children. Today they are all healthy and thriving. What if tomorrow that all changes? Did I do enough with my moments today to truly embrace the incredible blessing that is my family?
Then, I step away from all distractions and all reminders of the terrifying, out-of-control world we live in. I snuggle up with my babies or join them in whatever activity they are engaged in… And I stare. I awkwardly stare at my children. I take it all in, like a glass of ice water on the hottest of summer days, and just focus on that one need. The need to be in the moment with my family.
Anxiety starts to decrease.
I ask my daughter what she wants do and often it is snuggle, read, movie, or horsey…. So we snuggle, read, watch a movie, or play horsey. We grab my son and play ball. We lay on the floor and “hide” from my husband. We build a tent using kitchen chairs and what seems to be an endless supply of blankets.
Anxiety decreases more.
We have movie nights, where Peanut eats more popcorn than my husband, legs crossed, fully engaged in the storyline. Bubba Boo jumps on me and bites my face. (He is only 9 months old.) I look at my husband, squeezed up with my daughter, matching popcorn bowls, and down at my little man, and think,
“This. This is the simple moments I long for.”
My anxiety is momentarily gone.
Tragedy happens. Horribleness happens. The weight of knowing how precious each of our moments are is too heavy.
I cannot allow my thoughts to go there.
How can you measure how much you loved today? Will it ever be enough to a mama? Probably not. But, when I am fully engaged in the moment, I know they are loved by the way the love me back. I know that my children have seen and felt love by the way they love each other. It is important to be aware of how precious our moments are and to do our best to love as much as we can in those moments. However, I think, as someone who strives to be “perfect,” it will never be enough.
So, maybe my nightly question should be,
Did I love