No Guarantees

An old friend of mine from high school days lost her daughter yesterday morning. She was only a few months younger than Eirinn. I never met the little girl and, truth be told, it has been probably 10 years at least since the last I spoke to my friend in person. These are the days of Facebook, and so I’ve followed her daughter’s struggle from a distance. I’m not good in these situations. I never know what the right thing is to say or how to behave or even what to do with my arms.

I didn’t even have the courage to ask her what exactly her daughter was fighting against. All I knew was that her beautiful, truly gorgeous, little girl, with a mop of curly hair and a smile that stretched all across her doll face, was pictured with wires and tubes, and then with a bald head. She was only a few months younger than Eirinn, clearly struggling with all her might against something very serious, and yet I never once saw a picture of her without that smile.

I’m not looking for condolences or sympathy because, like I said, I never met this precious little girl and it has been over a decade since I’d had a real conversation with my friend. Any compassion should be directed to her and her husband, son, family, and close friends. I’m sad for them. So sad.

Hug your kids. Right now, or as soon as you possibly can. Hug them and don’t let go. Even if they ask you to, don’t. Make that hug a little too tight and a few minutes too long. No one ever died having regret over hugging their kids too much or spending too much time with them or telling them they love them too many times, so do it. Smother them with love.

I woke up this morning 45 minutes before my alarm to the kids excitedly telling me that they hadn’t woken each other up (that has been an issue at my house), that they had both just woken up at the same time and now they were going to play. Sure, they may not have woken each other up, but they sure didn’t hesitate to wake me up. I was annoyed and I made it known. I’ve been trying my best to be more patient, rational, and understanding, but there’s a fine line between that and being a pushover. It’s hard to know what battles to choose and what to let go. It’s hard to determine what punishments fit each crime. And it’s hard to remind myself that they’re just kids. They can’t tell time, they have very little self-restraint, and they have an infinite amount of childhood energy. But I’m trying. I’m not doing well, at times, but I am trying.

Even at moments of extreme mental duress, I remember that nothing is permanent. They tell us to remind ourselves that everything is a phase and that this, too, shall pass and all that, which is true. But we also have to remember that we’re never guaranteed tomorrow. We have today, this morning, this moment, but no one ever said anything about tomorrow, this afternoon, or the next moment. We only have right now and in a blink of an eye, everything could be gone. We’re allowed to be frustrated and lose our shit sometimes, but remember that nothing is permanent, including that little face full of temper and disobedience that’s causing us to lose our minds. They either grow up or they don’t, but they never stay the same.

Hug your kids. Do it now.

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