I hesitated on writing a post regarding this subject, but I want this blog to be me through and through and this is a big part of me.
This past Saturday marked 8 years since we lost my dad to pancreatic cancer, a ruthless and unforgiving disease that desperately needs more attention in order to obtain a fighting chance for those who suffer from this illness.
The day comes around once a year (as all days do) and sometimes it hurts, sometimes I don’t feel any different at all, and sometimes the memories are enough to make me smile and carry me through until the next day arrives. This was the 8th time I have experienced this day and this is the most different and the most impactful time yet. I think it is so different because of my son. This year cut a little deeper and hurt a little worse. I think it is because I have an 8 month old baby who has embedded his way so deep into my heart and who has made me burst with pride and I can’t share that with my dad.
It’s not fair that Eli has to miss out on having my dad as a grandfather and it’s not fair that I have to miss out on seeing my dad as a grandfather, but it is what it is. I am blessed that I got to have my dad in my life for 19 years and I am blessed that my son is happy, healthy, and is surrounded by so many people who love him more than I ever imagined they would. Things could be so much worse.
But as a new mother I wondered how my dad felt and what he thought when he was with me and my brother on those last days. I now cannot even imagine looking at your children and knowing you are leaving them. My dad’s strength during those times amazed me then, but now looking back on it with these new pair of eyes (my mommy goggles) I am overwhelmed with his strength and bravery. What a gift I had in my father and what a reminder to really LIVE my days with my son.
When I look at Eli I see glimpses of my dad and I really believe that was a special gift from God. A little bit of my dad still remains here with me and that makes those hard days a little easier.
What if I started truly living today like it was one of my last? I know, I know … that is a mantra that is overdone and said many times over, but really - what if I actually paid attention? What if I actually allowed my experience with my dad's death to move me in ways I have never done before?
What if instead of grumbling and whining in despair because Eli woke me up several times the night before (yet again) I relished in the fact that I GET to wake up with my son? I get to hold him close and comfort him. I get to rock him in the middle of the night and I am ABLE to nurse him? Why is this a lesson that takes me so long to GET?
What if instead of being frustrated that the house is a disaster, my son won’t nap, my head is pounding, and my hair hasn’t been brushed in days that I stop and look around at the things I am able to do? The things that God has granted me and allowed me to do for yet another day?
Let's be real, I may get up tonight when Eli wakes at 2:00 a.m. with the same grumbling attitude and I may wake up tomorrow discouraged that I didn’t get all the sleep that I hoped, but I am challenging myself to look at my life through these different pair of eyes for longer than just today.
I am challenging myself to not just look back on the time with my dad as past memories, but to bottle up those memories and run with them. Learn from them. Grow from them and to stop being such a dang baby. Seriously, that is Eli’s role and not mine!
As mothers, I think we are definitely allowed to have our days where we cry, pull our hair out and fuss, but it is what we do after that that matters. I too often wallow in my “problems” that are not really problems, but after my moment of venting I need to put my big girl pants on, hold that beautiful baby boy of mine and relish in the fact that he is all mine.
He is healthy.
He is happy.
He is loved.
He is here.
He is HERE.
Too many people, too many dads, too many moms, too many babies are not here today, but mine is.
So, today I will be here too. I will learn from what my dad left me and I will be here. I will be present and open hearted and in my son's life. I will have hard days and I will have beautiful days, but those hard days will never come close to those beautiful days.
I will let go of what I cannot control and just be here.