Funny thing, we use to always sing the words, "only the good die young," in too-loud voices as we jumped on my bed and held on to our polka dot hair brushes. We use to think that "laughing with the sinners" was so much funner than "crying with the saints" and we lived in a world where she and I both stated (and believed) that we were "good drunk drivers." Ironically, Kerri's accident was caused by horrible weather conditions, rather than under-the-influence driving. It was a complete and utter accident. And yet despite us tempting fate multiple times and living in a world where we believed that we were invincible, it took a raw day in December, after school, to end her life.
Kerri use to always say that "everything happens for a reason." I still believe that to this day. I believe that December 5 was ingrained in her destiny. Not only do I find solace in this, but I can begin to comprehend why she was taken from us at such a young age.
I believe certain people walk this earth as angels without their wings.
She weaved through the lives of others, touching them and leaving an impression of great meaning. She had a light. A way about her. Something extra special.
Do you ever notice that anytime someone passes at too young of an age, their friends and family always say that? On the news you hear them say, "she use to light up a room," or "he touched the lives of so many." Well, I believe there is a reason for that. I believe that it may be true that "only the good die young."
If Kerri were still here today, I think my life would be vastly different. You see, I inherited her family. I married her brother (who she set me up with way back when). He is more ingrained in who I am than any person on this earth. He is everything to me. Without him, I would not be half the women I am today. We grew up together and we held on to each
other always because we had an angel sewing our seams every time we tore.
And her mother-- well, she is my best friend. Who else in the world can say that their mother-in-law is their best friend? Honestly, it's uncanny. If Kerri were here, I believe that Laurie and I would not have the same unconditional love for one another that we have today. Laurie would have a daughter to share her ups and downs with, to go shopping with, and to take her grand-kids to the zoo with. And I would be without a best friend. And so, I believe that in some way, Kerri is happily sharing her mother with me because she knows just how much we need each other.
And then there are my children. When Jackson was born with Kerri's bright blue eyes, I knew it was her way of telling me that she was here. I knew she was telling me that she loved my baby. And Delaney-- gosh, Delaney. My little girl has not only inherited Kerri's beautiful blonde ringlets, but she also shares her zest for life. I see pieces of her in each of them, and I can feel her beaming with pride when the sun shines brightly in the sky. They will never get to meet their Auntie, but they will forever feel her sunshine on their shoulders.
And more than anything-- from Kerri's passing, I have learned how to embrace every day. I have learned that life should never be taken for granted and that bad things happen to good people. I have learned that friends --true friends-- are worth holding on to and cherishing because connection is sometimes thicker than blood-- and I have learned to pass this on to my children.
Kerri has helped to shape the mother I am today. She has forced me to stop in my tracks to look around and find the beauty in the chaos. And she has made me realize that some people walk this earth as angels just waiting to find their wings.
Thank you for sharing your life with me, angel.
Right now as I am writing, my two youngest children are literally painting their bodies. I have told them over and over and over again to only paint the paper, and yet their hands are covered in red paint, their faces look like filthy rainbows, and their shirts are smeared with washable paint that never seems to wash out.
Sure, I could stop writing and supervise their every streak onto the paper; but at some point, you have to back up and just let it happen. At some point, you just need a break. And if a wild romp of painting gives me a break, I'll take it; even if that means I'll ache with regret later as I'm scraping paint off every crevice of my home.
And that is the truth.
The bare-boned, honest, I can't-give-them-every-second-of-my-life truth.
Do you ever feel like you are disappearing? Do you ever feel as if the only purpose to your existence is for someone else? Do you ever find yourself wondering if anyone can actually see you?
Most days I feel as if I am only there to fix things, answer questions, shuttle teeny people in a crumb-infested minivan, find lost objects, smear peanut butter on bread, twist the cap off the jar of pickles, change to channel, rub backs, administer medicine, wipe bums and tend to others --always.
Just after receiving a wonderful writing opportunity the other day and I was expecting the world to stop and congratulate me, one of my children ran into the room in hysterics because he had lost his favorite toy, while another started whining for chocolate milk that she needed right-that-very-moment-no-matter-what. So, rather than basking in my glory, I had to forget about my emails and tend to the needs of my children. In that moment, I could not help but wonder if I existed anymore as a separate entity or if I had become just a continuation of my children?
That afternoon, as I was talking on the phone with a nurse at the doctor's office, one of my children came into the room asking questions and searching for his iPod. Did he not see that I was on the phone?
Shortly before bed, I told my kids to go brush their teeth. Do you know what happened? No one even looked up. Can they even hear me? Am I even here?
That night, as I finally returned to answer emails and do some writing, my daughter stampeded into my room, waking up my son who was asleep in bed next to me, declaring that there were monsters in her room. So I invited her under my arm and closed my laptop once again. With two littles resting on either side of me, my heart felt content; and yet, the urge to be more than this person ached within my mind.
I have dreams, ya know? I have passions. I want to write. I want to take beautiful photographs. I want to touch the lives of others with my words and stories. I want my name to be heard-- to be talked about, to be appreciated, to be noticed. I want a career. I want to write a best selling novel. I want a moment of silence. I want to be able to toast to my successes without interruption for just one second.
Maybe mothers were made to feel just a little bit invisible from time to time-- maybe it means we are doing something right. Hopefully it means that we have sacrificed just enough in order to give just enough. You see, our job is to nurture our children from the shadows as they frolick in the sun. Is it not?
And while my children bask in their glory, I will keep trying to remember that being called, "Mama," is the greatest accomplishment of all --even better than writing that novel I long to write. After all, a novel will never love me back.
Labels: Inspirational Motherhood
I write a lot about being a mother on this blog-- in fact, I dare say that is all I write about. And although my children are very often my main subject here, I would not be the mother I am today without the presence of one of the most selfless and beautiful women I know in my life-- my own mom.
Growing up I fought against my family. All too often I believed that my friends were most important. I honestly believed that because I chose my friends (not my family), they were more meaningful. Yet, fate has bigger plans for us. Fate knows that our families are consistent. Fate knows that without our families, we are nothing. So while many of our friendships fade and begin to show their true colors...the bond with our families grows stronger and stronger and stronger.
Now, I can't say that I had the kind of relationship where I wanted to confide in my mother about boys and heartaches. No, I was a little more closed off than that. But, every mother and daughter share a different connection from the next.
For me, my mother has always been someone who comforted me. She was always there to draw circle on my back when I was sick. She was always there to quiz me with flashcards the night before a test-- for hours at a time. She was always there at my soccer games, cheering me on and cringing each time I took a ball to the gut. She was always there to get lost with in the car (in the days before GPS'). She was always there to take me to concerts. She was always at my school helping. For goodness sake, I can even remember her dressing up at my school as grapes on Halloween. (it didn't matter that she looked absolutely ridiculous in a bright purple sweatshirt and a body with purple balloons taped all over it). She was there-- that was what mattered. She was present. Always, always and always. When I needed her to iron my shirt before school, she would stop whatever she was doing to help me. When we needed a volunteer at our school field trips, she was always the first one signed up and she would pack my favorite sandwich. She made me feel like I was the most important human being in the world-- and maybe, to her, I was.
And when I gave birth to my first child (and my husband wanted it to be just he and I in the room), I remember all I wanted was the presence of my rock-- my mother.
And then she was there for the birth of my second and third and all felt right with the world.
My mother drops anything for me. She comes over whenever I need her. She helps me with laundry and the chaos of my children. She listens to me. She sympathizes with me. And in a world full of people who I often feel judged and hurt by, she accepts me as I am.
She is the most selfless and caring human being I have ever known and if I am half the mother she is to me than I am proud. She taught me to be present in the lives of my children. She taught me to be the mother I am today.
So, happy birthday Mom. I love you like crazy. Thank you for being my best friend and role model-- you're simply the best.