Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Moment

A year ago today (almost to the hour, come to think of it) we were finishing up our final day on our annual Disneyland trip and taking this picture to commemorate it. Disneyland is something we have managed to do once a year since Junior was one (and once together, pre-kids, before J headed off to Boot Camp and AIT). It was always a trip we looked forward to and had plans to continue the tradition every year we could. We loved watching our kids light up there and looked forward to the day we would bring a little girl dressed in her favorite Princess dress and watch her light up too. We always felt like it was our "family place" and talked often about future memories we would make there.

Last year, we decided to take off at the end of our last day and get as far as Vegas instead of staying the night and battling the morning traffic. After a quick, final stop at Boston Market (almost an equal reason for heading to D-land every year...) we put already sleeping boys in the truck and headed out with the caveat that we would stop earlier if we got to tired. It was a surprisingly pleasant drive that took under four hours as compared to the eight it took us to go the same stretch coming out. After days of kid wrangling, visiting with family and general noise and crowds, it was nice to finally just sit and talk in the quiet dark. I always loved riding any long distance with J when the kids had finally zonked out. We just talked. We solved many of the world's mysteries (ghosts, existence of bigfoot etc.) as well as fixed the welfare and political system on many of our drives. Sometimes over and over. Talking non-stop is how we got our start as friends way back in high school and I always felt like long car drives were a way to get that aspect of us back without the distractions of kids, home, jobs etc. The drive flew by for me. I was ready to get home, but content.

"We'll do it this way every year" we decided as we pulled into Whiskey Petes around midnight and towed groggy boys upstairs. If I had a crystal ball then that would show a year into the future, I probably would have scoffed at the vision of me sitting in my house, broken hearted and alone, waiting for J to bring our boys back from his custody day with them. I had no clue that it would be the last Disneyland trip we would take. Looking back, it was fun, but not our best trip owing to the nasty flu that went through the whole family at some point during our four days. It was only on our final day that we were all healthy. I assumed that there was always next year. Did I treasure that vacation enough? It never occurred to me that it would be the last and that I would be in these shoes merely a year later. Our family has gained a member and lost one and I find myself wishing I had cherished the moment more for what it was. I wish I had looked around me a little more and shown some gratitude that right then, my family was whole and healthy and together. A short year later, I only have one out of the three and the knowledge that I took precious time for granted.

Recognizing just how fast my life can change completely, I am going to make a better effort to be in the moment in my surroundings and be grateful for what they are even in the glaring face of what they are not. I have bright, beautiful children. They are all healthy and loving and kind to each other and to me. This age in each of their lives needs to be treasured, not wished away because I feel bad at the moment. I have a husband who, although he has chosen to leave our family unit is in his way, trying to be as kind as he can about the situation he has forced on us. I know it could be worse. My home is peaceful and the kids and I have bonded in our sadness in a whole new way. I have developed friendships and relationships and insight through my struggles that I don't know if I could have obtained any other way. I have every reason to know that life can change, for better or for worse, in the blink of an eye. This gives me reason to want to embrace the good in the now and hope that by this time next year I have more reasons to rejoice than I could ever list here.

I think back on the times within the last year that I felt my life was a little too mundane and predictable. Now, I would give anything to have the essence of that life back. I would give anything to feel like my days were mundane and my future predictable. I sometimes wish we could all just vacation in our old life for awhile and recoup our strength to keep on keeping on.

Look around you. Be grateful for the moment and find the good in it. If the noise from your kids is on your last nerve, consider how that same noise would be music to your ears if you had a sick little one lying quietly in a hospital bed. If hubby forgot to take the garbage out again and you are irritated, consider how reassuring it is to crawl into bed next to someone every night. How nice it is to be someone's someone. If you wish wifey would come running to greet you at the door instead of calling out hello as she stands in the kitchen stressing over dinner, keep in mind that you likely have a fierce mama bear at your back, who would do anything for you when it came down to it. Should something happen to derail your life, the only thing you will really wonder is if you appreciated things enough when you had them. If you have to, use the times when you think about what you don't have to remind you of the things you do. Don't wish anything away. You may not realize how precious something is until much later. Enjoy each moment you are given with those you love.

You just never know when your life will change.


  1. Cyndi, you are such an amazing writer. Such a poignant post. You are very insightful and you have a great (and cute!) head on your shoulders. Life comes at you quickly, but you are handling it with such grace. You are amazing.

  2. Thanks for the good reminder. Just to remember what we have and give thanks for it, even if what we have is not ideal. You are awesome. And we are always up for a Disney trip if you need some extra hands...

  3. I'm sorry, I know you are being gracious, and I totally get your point, but I still just really want to punch your husband in the face.

    Please to forgive.