Plates Don’t Matter As Much As Happy Kids

I have struggled to do one of the few things in life I have found great passion in. I have struggled to write. At least here anyway. On Sunday I wrote about the #fillthecup campaign. It was one of the few things that comforted my ever aching heart. That and the hugs and smiles of my babies and having my husband close by. But then came Monday and Tuesday and now it’s Friday and other than writing at Babble I haven’t written much. I just couldn’t.

One week ago a group of parents had their hearts crushed. Their world turned upside down. And while it wasn’t me and it wasn’t my personal loss, in a way I felt like I lost something that day. I have refused to watch the news or read news articles. The only information I see is if something is posted on Facebook or Twitter and even that, even the touching posts, sting. When my husband turned on the news early Saturday morning before our daughter woke up I became tearful and couldn’t stop. With each piece of information I acquire I feel like I have been punched in the stomach and a new stream of tears well up in my eyes and fall.

I keep trying to focus on all the good that exists around me and am comforted when I come across tweets or blog posts from other bloggers who are having a similar struggle. But it still hurts.

Finding this balance between enjoying every single moment we have with our loved ones while still mourning is challenging because what happened is just so sad. And yes children die every single day in tragic ways and in ways that make absolutely no sense but, as the mother of an elementary aged student who drops her baby off at school each morning trusting that I will see her return home each day this did something to my heart. It hit close to home and it hit hard.

Yesterday was the first time I went outside the house since last Friday. I know it’s no way to live and I have used my cold as an excuse to be inside. I have been with my girls constantly hugging them, loving them, taking in every single minute I have with them, trying to find a way to be able to be with them more. When it came time for me to leave my house yesterday morning (I was taking my oldest with me) I held my baby and cried. I kept telling her that I didn’t want to leave her. My daughter hugged me and told me it would be ok and asked why I was crying. I told her it was because I love them so much. I hugged my husband and cried some more. I told him how much I love him and our family and I prayed that God would allow us more time with one another, more time being a family because like I’ve said before, each time we make it to another day is simply by the grace of God.

Tomorrow I am having a party for my daughter and some of her friends. We are going to decorate cookies and enjoy being together. Us parents are going to watch our children laugh and smile and take comfort in the fact that our babies are here. And I am going to practice what I preach which means I am going to keep living and loving and making the most of this gift. My babies need me, my family needs me. I need them.

Last night I found myself worried about the fact that I couldn’t find plates, pretty ones, for the party. I waited too long. Instead of going to another store I ended up buying plain white plates and napkins. I had text my friend about it last night. The perfectionist in me had wanted things to be as close to perfect as they could be. I concluded that I’d make it work.

This morning she responded that we’d be fine and then it hit me and I reminded myself that all these small things I fill my mind up with worry over are so not important. I replied saying:

“Yes, plates don’t matter as much as happy kids.”

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They don’t. My mantra the past couple months, particularly as I desperately search for a way to make some major changes in my life that will allow me more time with my loved ones has been -

“Things don’t matter. People do.”

And as my own heart struggles because last Friday it too was broken, I am finding my healing in my God and in being with my people.

I am loving them with all I’ve got allowing the bitter taste this tragedy has left to remind me to make this journey as sweet as I can. Allowing it to be my reminder to love better. Every day.

I am also doing my best to make this world better somehow. Each day that I am blessed to be here is a gift and a blessing and a chance to make someone else’s life better which always results in my life being made better also.

I’ve struggled a lot, even lately but I’m seeing things a bit differently.

If you’re reading this  and your heart has been heavy I hope it finds comfort and that the joy this season brings is not lost. It’s true meaning still present. Our plates may be full, life perhaps still challenging but we are here.

We get another chance today to love our people.

Moving forward doesn’t mean I am forgetting or that I no longer care it just means that I have learned something from all of of this. A lesson I wish I didn’t have to learn, at least not in this way, nevertheless, still a lesson learned.

Focusing on what matters like the smiles of my loved ones. Focusing on making the most of the now rather than waiting to make the most of the later because the later may not come.

Because plates don’t matter as much as happy kids.

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