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The Sad Truth About Lost Family Time

Today as I drove to pick up Titus from Safety Camp, I noticed a funeral procession headed toward my car. I pulled over to the side of the road as had the other drivers around me out of respect for this family that had lost a beloved member.

Life has a way of sobering us up to the reality that we are only here for a short time. Everyone's allocation is different and unpredictable.

In recent months, with a fourth baby and a regularly evolving career, I have caught myself getting so caught up in checking boxes off my to-do list and ensuring everyone's needs are met -- including my own selfish desire for more, better, faster -- that I lose track of the moment.

My children will only be little once. My laundry will most assuredly outlast me and probably my grandchildren.

I have started asking myself a question when I am at home with my family. It haunts me, and that is why I ask it. I fear too few of us do it.

The question is this: If this is the last time I am with the people I love most, will I be able to look back with pride as I remember the love with which I treated them -- or will I forever regret it because of my absent-mindedness, misplaced priorities or resistance to cultivating deep relationships?

If I can answer that yes, I would genuinely be content with my attitude toward my family, I'm at peace with my actions. But if the answer is no, I have consciously started assessing why my actions are at odds with my values and how I can fix it.

Work and ambition will always be with you. But life guarantees you will not always be with those you love.

How will you make the most of your time today?


Anonymous said…

Learn to really really listen!! I took a class year ago about how we don't listen. We were assigned an example to perform at our jobs the next day. We were to reply to people who said, " Good morning . How are you?" with the answer "I'm dying." I made it down an entire hallway before anyone heard my reply .
If you make time to listen to your children when they are little, you will know them better when they are teens and driving you crazy. I find it amazing, now that I am antique and have endless time to listen just how smart today's little people are. The "whys" can make you want to pull your hair out, but time to answer those are so very important.
Life slips away and so many things that seem so important today add up to nothing in your older years. Don't worry so much about whether you are doing the best you can or whether you should or could do more. Just live a life your kids can be proud of, show love to your mate and all family members, create a safe haven and knowledge of a higher power and you are doing great. Hug them! Tell them how proud you are of them. Soon they will be grown and your job will be completely different.
Nate said…
I love this! Thank you so much for the thoughts shared here. I can't believe you made it down an entire hallway of people while saying, "I'm dying." What was the reaction of the first person who actually responded helpfully to your comment? Did they ask if they could do anything to help? I will use this post as a reminder that it's not about what you've racked up on the scoreboard so much as it is what you've done to show your children (and those around you) sincere love and concern. It's amazing how time and encounters with the brief nature of life totally change our perspective

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