This was a day my soul has needed for a very long time. It started with endless cuddling, kissing and zero rushing. Haddie and I stayed in our jammies till noon. Then, a surprise visit from my only sister…one I thought I had lost forever.
Our seven kids laughed and ran and destroyed the house all afternoon. We ate too much and laughed–really laughed—for the first time in years. When everyone had left, and Haddie was squeaky clean, she asked if she could show me her dance moves.
Ordinarily, I grouch “No, it’s time for bed”. Ordinarily, I drag myself through the routine till that moment when everyone is in bed so that I can put my feet up for the first time. Ordinarily, I don’t laugh out loud. Ordinarily, at home, I barely smile. A few nights ago, Chris and I were watching some show and a commercial for a diamond necklace came on. He was holding my hand and I felt his grip tighten. The commercial depicted images of a beautiful woman, wife, and mother. The man’s voice narrated all the qualities about her that he cherished…things perhaps he may have taken for granted. The pictures were of her laughing, kissing one of her kids, being light and playful. I remember thinking that night, why am I not those things to my family?
Tonight, the dance demonstration turned into a full on dance party in my bedroom with Haddie declaring “Mom, you are supposed to be dancing, not driving a car!” We all belly laughed and then suddenly I was weeping. Weeping at the sight of my beautiful, bouncy, happy little girl. My little girl, who today is alive, safe and sound in my home.
Weeping at the countless opportunities I have every day to be a better mom, better wife, better sister, better aunt. Opportunities I have all but squandered over and over again.
It seems so simple, all my kids really want from me as their Mom is to “be happy”—To not grouch, grumble, yell, scream. seem exacerbated, seem busy.
Why it had to take 20 shattered families for me to realize this is sickening to me. Maybe if other Moms like me resolve to be happier and lighter, to get down on the floor for a game instead of typing one last email, to laugh instead of scold, to hug instead of rush, to be patient and gentle instead of overwhelmed and abrasive, to put down the phone and pick up the dance move, this tragedy will not have been for nothing.