Today I found out that one of our old Tots families that were with us for only a short time, suffered a tragic loss. The father, only 38, passed away very unexpectedly. He was an awesome father to two really sweet kids. I remember him as one of those dads that lived for his kids. He was involved and wanted to know everything about his kids day. He was a really good dad, you didn't have to know him to see that. This tragedy made me think really hard on what matters.
This past weekend we spent soaking up our family. I am so, so happy I did.
So many times I complain about the time and energy I spend on others. We have so many family obligations it is tough to remain selfless. I wish for weekends to do nothing....to veg out in jammies and the mindless tv. I get so tired and cranky from not having down time. I start feeling overwhelmed and taken for granted. It is a really ugly but familiar place. Today has me thinking....honking long and hard about what matters. At the end of the day, what really matters? As I think of this father I feel so thankful for my family- near and far, my husband and my precious treasures. What matters most to me.
This week my amazing sister welcomed her little...um, huge...miracle baby into our world. He is her third joy and my 18th kiddo to spoil. John Paul will know me. Come he'll or high water I will make sure of it. Not because I have to, only because it matters. It matters that my kids crowded around a computer to see every photo they could get their eyes on. It matters that they all said a prayer for Auntie Mare Mare and Uncle Aaron. It matters that they ask about Aaron and Jojo's reaction to their new brother.
This weekend my kids ran in the mountains, laughing and playing together. They met 2 horses, caught crawdads, learned how to backflip on a swing. They sat at a picnic table surrounded by cousins. They swam in Uncle Carlies pool till their lips turned blue. They picked me a beautiful bouquet of wildflowers and found me countless treasures that currently reside in every nook and cranny of my purse. They rode four wheelers with our sweet Uncle Jerry. They spent time with Grammy who is still healing a broken heart. They laughed with cousin Dawn and even snuck bites off her plate. My son sat at the table with his big, burly uncles and held his own in a way that I know will form the very foundation of who he will be as a man. They were given snuggles by Aunts and Uncles who help hold them and us to the high standards that bring us so many amazing compliments. I am so blessed that my Kentucky family brings me the same beauty I always have in Michigan.
We came home and woke up to do it all again. We were exhausted and really didn't want to do it. Football was on, I had work to do, the kids were cranky. But, ee sucked it up and showed up. We celebrated our 2 of the 3 fall birthdays with friends and family who make us better everyday. These beautiful people came out to spend time with us and helped make my heart feel full. It is never about gifts, location or even how many flies come to crash the party. All that matters is sitting together, sharing a meal and time. My kids heard so much laughter, felt so much love and again, I am so, so glad we did it.
When the time comes for me to head home, I truly hope that I am remembered for being a part of my family. Not just a sideliner, a cheerleader or a fan but a real part of the team. Hell, I will reach high and say I want to be known as the quarterback. Because in the end family is all that matters. Creating your own amazing definition of what that means. For me, it is defined by being there...no matter the cost. It is measured by the hugs and conversations that fill a family with purpose. It is driven by people who sacrifice to make those moments happen, even if it is sad and hard. It is solidified in the efforts it takes to keep those solid connections even hundreds of miles away. To be family, you have to BE family.
If those things can be said about me then I will have been a success. And, every day from this moment on, I will remember this wonderful father. Who, in the short time I knew him, exuded this with his children. I truly hope that when you read this you take the time to reflect on your definition of family and how you are or are not reaching that standard. Work hard to reach it because life is too dang short to squander our time with unnecessary things. If tomorrow never comes, would they know how much you loved them? (Thanks Garth)