I find it interesting that when we hear devastating news about someone we love, or even just know, that we are able to internalize it, and are hearts soften. We immediately become grateful for our own health, for the health of our children, for our ability to do as we please. We are able to understand that the things we have been complaining about, the things that we don't want to do, are unimportant compared to another persons problems, that are so much worse.
In reality, the other persons life may not be any worse than your own, because we are all given our own different struggles in life. But we are used to our own struggles, so when we hear of someone else's, we automatically stop, and reflect on the positives of of our own lives. We are suddenly grateful for our partners, we embrace our children, we tell each other how lucky we are, and that we love each other. Then we tell ourselves that we will never take what we have for granted….EVER. But why can't we get this feeling to last?
Last night, after telling the kids the news about their grandmas new cancer, they were sad and thoughtful. When I choked up, they would hug me around my waist and ask appropriate questions. I gazed lovingly at my daughter, who was so thoughtfully making her grandma a t-shirt, so her friends at school could write encouraging words on it, before she sent it. The other 3 kids were filling out cards to send. I felt so blessed to have these wonderful, understanding children. I wished in this moment, that I was able to recognize this more often.
We had a lot of activities last night, so Renee and I barely had time to discuss the horrible news, before we were off again. We fit in a quick hug, and I was able to express a few words of anger about it, in between tears, but unfortunately, our lives don't stop, to allow for ourselves to just breathe for a second, while trying to digest WHAT JUST HAPPENED!
Before she headed in one direction to take one kid to dance class and choir, and I headed to another ones baseball game, I was trying to get my kids moving, so we weren't late. I was trying to be calmer, nicer even, because I was just feeling like I should be enjoying every moment. I was so grateful for these babies.
I asked my daughter to pick up her things, that she had thrown at the bottom of the stairs. I was probably rushing her, maybe snapping my fingers to get her going, I don't know. Suddenly I was shocked back into reality when out of nowhere, she started yelling “IAM! I KNOW IT'S THERE! I CAN SEE! YOU DON'T HAVE TO TELL ME! I WAS GOING TO GET IT!”.
Okay….still being a little emotionally drained, I just stared at her in disbelief, and I admit that a little bit of that “being grateful for my children” feeling started to shift.
As we sat at the game, I was enjoying the sun beating down me, I felt numb, and my brain was working overtime, trying to rationalize why this all had to happen to one person. When the game started, I immediately noticed my son digging and scratching his manhood, and digging into his backside. This happened every time he turned, stood up straight, or acted like he was catching a “real ball” and pretended to throw it to a teammate. I seriously never realized that one hand could fit that far up into a boys satchel!!
He has been known to have an occasional “accident” on the field in the past, so when they came off the field, I approached him quietly, and whispered that perhaps he should use the bathroom, instead of holding himself, for all to see, and risking an accident. He steps away from me, and starts talking really loudly. “YOU CAN GO NOW, THANKS”! The quiet leer I gave him said “you better not have an accident”, as people started to look in our direction, and that “loving” feeling shifted even more.
While he was in the field, he was kicking baseballs, kicking dirt, and yelling to the boys, “Who the freak were you throwing that ball to”? Then later, when the coach started yelling at the boys to pay attention to the game, when their team was batting, I looked over to find my own son running up and down the dugout, pegging boys in the head with a tiny sand bag, and laughing hysterically. He refused to come over to me, when I approached the gate. I had to remind him that I wasn't afraid to make a GIANT scene, because I never have cared what these people think. My feelings of “being grateful for my children” were almost gone.
When he covered his ears in the car, and pretended not to listen, as I was giving him a small lecture about the inappropriateness of touching his genatalia in public, and then asking him how he'd like it if the roles were reversed, and he had to watch me dig into my genatalia, before a race, the feelings of being grateful became just a distant memory. I'm certain I will start to take my kids for granted again, because I already have, not 12 hours after hearing the news. Oh… And I've starting looking into military schools:).
I don't know why it's so hard, maybe impossible, to live life with appreciation for every moment, but I like to think I at least try. We all have so much to be thankful for, despite our bad news and our struggles. The hard part is being able to recognize them as they come….