April 19, 2013

Life is Precious: What I’ve Learned from Boston and Texas

There is no doubt that this week has been a very sad week for America. On Monday, we experienced the horrific Boston bombing, which shocked the nation. Then, on Wednesday night the town of West, Texas suffered from the deadly fertilizer plant explosion.  At Kids Formal, our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by these two tragedies. There are not enough words to express how sad we truly are for the people affected.

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As a mother, tragedies such as these two always make me think of all the parents of the victims. It doesn’t matter how old someone is when they pass away, they are always somebody’s child. It has been said that the greatest pain in the world is the pain of losing a child. I am very fortunate that I haven’t experienced this pain, but when tragedies happen, I can’t help but think about how precious life is and how I could lose one of my children in an instant.
The fact is that nobody knows when it will be there time to go and, therefore, none of us know when the last time we will see our children will be either. Just look at the poor parents in Newtown, CT who sent their little ones off to school expecting to pick them up later that day. I honestly don’t know how any parent can’t relate to those poor families.

Below are some of the things that I have learned from these unexpected tragedies.
1.      Be thankful for every day. I think that everyone gets a little lax sometimes when it comes to appreciating the gift we are given each night when we lay our heads down on our pillows. We aren’t one day in this life, and unfortunately, neither are our children. Sadly, it doesn’t matter if our children are 3 or 30…death doesn’t discriminate when it comes to age. When our time is up, it’s up. This is why every night when I go to bed, I’m consciously thankful for being given another day with my family. 

2.      Don’t sweat the small stuff. I know that we have all heard this saying and, if you’re like me, you don’t think much of it. But, when something horrible happens that is beyond our control, it really puts things in perspective. For instance, my son and I recently got into an argument about whether he should wear his boots or tennis shoes with the outfit he chose for the day. Looking back on it now, it was a petty argument that could have been avoided. So what if I didn’t agree with the shoes he chose for the day? The important thing was that he was wearing shoes. If wearing the boots made him happy, why did I care if it looked funny? That’s something he can figure out on his own. Those are the types of issues that I’m talking about when I say, don’t sweat the small stuff. Just be happy that you and your family are all healthy and able to spend another day together. 

3.      Make time for fun. This is another one that I’m guilty of. I’m always busying myself with things around the house that need to be done instead of spending quality time with my kids (and husband). The fact of the matter is that there is always going to be laundry to do, dishes to put away and toys to pick up, but there won’t always be time available to play catch with my boys or watch a movie with my husband. Through the events this week, I’ve come to realize that I need to make time for fun with my family. So what if the dishes have to wait until tomorrow? It’s important that I take time to play with my kids now because I may not get the chance tomorrow. 

4.      Always say “I Love You.” I can’t imagine the regret that would come from losing a loved one after an argument, especially if I didn’t say “I love you” before I left. However, I have heard stories from people who have lost loved ones who did not express their love the last time they saw their loved one alive and they all live with this regret. Since we don’t have any guarantees in this life, I make it a point to tell my husband and my kids that I love them before I leave for the day, even if I am upset with them.
Thankfully, I didn’t know anyone who died or was injured in the Boston bombing or the Texas explosion, but those events definitely caused me to think about life in general. Now, I look at things a little differently and try not to take anything for granted. I want to live every moment to the fullest and I want my family to do the same.

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