Loving The Life I Have

In the interest of being super responsible (well not really, or this would have been a long time ago..) Okay.. trying to catch up and be responsible, my husband and I are working on our will.

No one prepares you for the emotional roller coaster that it is to think about the death of one us, or worse yet, both of us. What becomes of our home and assets? How about the responsibility of raising the 4 children we created? Who will give away our sentimental objects to the right people? What if one of us is on life support? What if one dies and the other is on life support? What if we all die together?

Some of these questions have been insanely hard to answer, much less think about.

The big one for us is in regards to our children. I hope and pray that I get the opportunity to fulfill my life long dream of being a parent, by actually getting the opportunity to raise my children completely.

But, if I don’t.. someone else has to. Someone has to step in and be their mom. Someone has to make sure they are there to cheer them on at graduation, to throw them baby showers when they become parents, to counsel them through the grief of losing a parent. Someone else has to take them to countless doctor’s appointments, kiss their booboos, make sure they eat a healthy diet and don’t forget their lunch.

Its been in these moments of reflection that I have been thinking about what an incredible honour it is to be a parent.

Someone recently told me she wasn’t ready to have kids yet because she wasn’t ready to be entirely selfless. I loved that she recognized that, because being a Mom is the most selfless thing I’ve ever done.

But in my heart, on this side of the children or no children equation, I know the blessing it is too.

For every selfless act, there’s a greater reward. For every long night, there’s a joyful morning with sticky fingers and a fresh start.

For every trial, there is triumph. Sicknesses and scars heal. They finally sleep all glorious night long.

We look back on stories that were absolute hell at the time and laugh as we retell them. Parents, think of the diaper painting stories, or the times when your kids embarrassed you sharing TMI stories.  Funny how the bad and scary seems somewhat hilarious as we leave those days behind.

There is a moment in each child’s life where they say “I love you Mommy” first. I don’t remember it with each child, but I do remember the emotions. Its usually around 2 years old somewhere. As a Mom,  you carried a baby for nine-ish months. You went through the worst pain to bring them here. You sacrificed painful moments learning to nurse, you have deep bags from sheer exhaustion, and you age immensely from the lack of sleep. Then, suddenly, you have a wild and rambunctious toddler. They disappear in stores. They ask ‘why’ 1000 times a day.  They drive you bonkers, but you love them so much it hurts.

Then, out of the blue, there it is. “I love you Mommy.” And suddenly every single thing you sacrificed seems like it doesn’t even matter. The person who you created out of love with someone you love, and whom you’ve spent all this time showing selfless love to tells you first, that they love you.  They recognize that you are worthy of their love. Sure, they show us their love when they show a preference for us, or calm for us. But when they are thinking to themselves “I just love my Mom so much I need to tell her right now.” That’s a whole new statement of love.

There is no greater moment in my mind. I’m so thankful I got to experience that four times. Whether I get to raise them until adulthood or not, my dream of being their Mom has come true.

The joys that I have felt as a Mom are endless. The trials have been many, this life is not for the selfish or the faint of heart by any means, but it is the single greatest thing I have ever done with my life. It is my dream come true.

So, though I am not overly enjoying the thought of estate planning and will making, I am so overwhelmed with gratitude.

It’s often said that the Holy Spirit is the greatest comforter that there is. I truly believe that because I know since becoming a Christian, I feel God’s presence in my trials so much more than I did before, especially as a mother. I feel comforted by my faith, knowing that my death itself won’t be disastrous.

I will be in peace, I will meet my maker, and hug my saviour. I will meet family that passed before me whom I never had the luxury of knowing this side of heaven, and I will reunite with many faces I have missed for years. I will be comfortable, free from pain, anger and sadness.  I will be in awe, worshipping.

Death itself used to scare me, but not now. Now I feel peace thinking about what awaits me. The more I read my Bible, the more my faith grows, the more excited I am to think about what awaits me. Death itself causes me no anxiety. I can’t wait to talk to Noah about what the flood was like first hand. To laugh with Isaiah about him being naked for 3 years as an image to teach with. To sing with David. Most importantly, to thank Jesus face to face for my salvation, for allowing death to not cause me the fear it once did. I am comforted, when I think of what awaits me.

What does bring me trepidation is what I will leave behind. It is my sincere hope that I get to raise my babies until they are grown. That I will snuggle with my grandbabies. That I will hold my husband’s hand long after retirement and aching bodies have set in. There’s lots I want to accomplish yet.

But, if that’s not the plan and my time isn’t long. I am just so thankful for what I got.

Over 30 years have come and gone since I was born. That’s a lot of time to do a lot of pretty amazing things. I’ve been fortunate enough to do things some people never get to do. I’ve created some pretty amazing memories.  I’ve outlived several family members, even cousins of my own. Their days are gone, but somehow for some reason mine aren’t.

It is in thinking of my death that makes me realize just how thankful I am for my life.

As cliché as it is, if we lived every day as it were our last, how much more joy would we have? How much longer would we hug those we love? Would we put our phones down and listen more intently to our children? Would we spend time making special foods from scratch? Would we hug and kiss our children and spouse more often? Would we worry less about the long term and focus on the joy that today brings? Would we complain less, knowing its such a blessing that we got to be alive this long already?

Would we focus on the immense joy we have instead of seeing only the burdens we are experiencing in that moment?

I want to be that person! I want my children to know how thankful and grateful I am to be alive,  with the pleasure of raising them. I want my husband to know how committed I am to loving him hopefully well beyond our 70th anniversary. I want my parents to know how thankful I am for every opportunity that they have given me, whether it be small like their encouragement or big like the physical work they put into raising me. I want my extended family to know how proud I am to be related to each of them, how deep my love runs even as the familial connections get smaller and smaller. I want my friends to know I chose them to be friends because they are so valuable and I appreciate so much that they are family to me even though not biologically related. I want my church to know it has shaped me, formed me and rearranged me in the best ways possible.

Most importantly, I want the world to know that I love life. Growing old is a privilege denied to many. How thankful we should be for every single day.

It’s in thinking about my own death, that I realize when that day comes, I’ll be thankful to say I lived well. I saw my dreams come true. I’ll take some pretty amazing moments with me in my heart to heaven.

I hope to see you there.

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