Preschool Years at Home

Laughing, Loving, and Learning Together

Remembering the Things that Count

on August 29, 2012

A year or so ago, I “met” another mom of two on an Internet forum. Her children were just a little older than my own, and we shared several interests, most of which involved our children. We both liked good books, cute clothes, healthy food, and open-ended toys. We traded tips on kids’ craft kits and swapped recipes for Moon Dough. We were both committed to homeschooling. More than anything else, we both wanted to be the best moms we could be and give our kids the best lives we could give them — a common goal among moms, but also a challenging one.

It’s tough to be gentle, loving, patient, kind and forgiving when you haven’t had a decent night’s sleep since the first trimester of your first pregnancy, when you’re hungry (because some small person ate half your meal), when you’ve got a migraine (which inevitably coincides with a small person’s discovery of volume buttons on electronic toys), when you’re cleaning up the 387th mess of the day, or when you’re dealing with a behavioral issue that you’ve confronted time and again.

It’s even tougher when, like my friend, you’re dealing with Stage 4 colon cancer.

Yet somehow, she managed to push through the pain and suffering and pour her life into the lives of her precious children. Amid hospital visits and treatments, she was forging ahead with plans for kindergarten. A month ago, we were comparing plans for the year and talking about all the fun things we wanted to do with our kids in the upcoming months. Then, she took a turn for the worse. …

Early this morning, as I tried to coax a teething toddler back to sleep, I got word that my friend was nearing the end of her hard-fought battle. And suddenly, “yet another sleepless night” didn’t seem so bad. Instead, it meant that I was privileged to have another night with my children and another day of health to care for them.

As I’ve gone through the day today praying for my friend and her family during what might be their final hours together, I couldn’t help but wonder how different my interactions with my own children might be if I knew I was facing life’s end. One thing I know for sure, I wouldn’t be fretting over spilled milk, toys scattered around the living room, or pizza stains. I’d spend every minute I could holding my children close, loving them, making memories with them. I’d tell them once again how special they were and how privileged I was to be their mom. I’d point out their strengths. I’d encourage them to follow their dreams. And I’d point them to the One who loves them infinitely more than I can love.

Then it dawned on me that I don’t know what the future holds. I have no guarantee of tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. The imprints I want to leave on the hearts of my children need to be made now; the words I want etched in their minds need to be spoken now.

My heart breaks as I think of my friend’s young children having to bid farewell to the mother who birthed them and who loved them with every fiber of her being, yet I’m confident that her love will live on in their hearts. She’s made sure of that. I pray that I can learn from her example and live each day with my children as though it may be the last we have together.

One Response to “Remembering the Things that Count”

  1. Debbie Olson says:

    Thinking of you, and will be praying for your friend as well.

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