Christianity · parenting

Don’t take today for granted

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Spring break has arrived.

We still have areas of three feet of snow. So much for spring, eh?

So today we are inside. The house is hopping. We have an old child VHS tape playing “Songs from yesteryear or something like that…” My two year old is happier than can be sitting on the couch with messy hair, strawberry stained face, and singing “On a bicycle built for two.

The eleven year old is parading around the house in a pink pageant dress too big for her asking everybody if they think she looks cute.

The nine year old boy and five year old girl are fully dressed in winter gear and are outside in the sandbox. Can you say mud?

The thirteen year old is going through her clothes getting ready for a late spring garage sale we’re planning.

The seven year old daughter is rummaging through the kitchen for food because Mom is on a cleaning spree and does not want to lose her rhythm.

So far today we have gone through clothes and gotten our spring wardrobe ready. One of the kids thought it would be a good idea to booby trap her bedroom and lure her siblings into it. All the children did their own laundry and put them away, even the two year old. And yet another one fed the two year old a PopTart which promptly got squished into my bedroom carpet, then rolled over with the office chair a few times.

But guess what, we’re happy. Their fed, somewhat. There has been laughter and giggles. A bit of frustration over ownership of an article of clothing. There was sadness with one of them because he outgrew his baseball cleats from last season. Some reminiscing as we have gone through clothing of days gone by.

Yesterday I received some sad news that a local boy had succumbed to his cancer. He had thousands praying for him.  Payton touched many in his short seven years. Six months ago he was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, or DIPG, an extremely rare pediatric brain tumor that typically strikes between the ages of 5 and 7, infiltrates the brain stem, and has a 0% survival rate.

I am sure childhood cancer was the last thing on his parents minds six months ago, prior to his diagnosis. Their lives changed overnight from that moment on. I know they embraced every single moment they had with their precious son from that moment on.  And today it changed again, for now they must live on without their son.

Life can change in an heartbeat. In a split second all you know is gone. Please don’t take life for granted. It is a gift. Your children are a gift. Your time with them is limited, often shorter than what you would like. I have buried one child who was unable to live his life and create a lifetime of memories.

I have walked the dark path in the days following my son’s death. Those days were a blur. I just needed to survive. What I remember the most are my children. I held them close. I kept them near. I was deathly afraid of losing another one. Since that day David died I have lived by the words in 1 Peter 4: 7-11,

“Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer.  Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything.  Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless – cheerfully.  Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it:  if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything – encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!

Today I will cherish the mess. Today I will cherish these moments. Today I will hold my children tighter.  Life is too short to not tell loved ones are special they are to us.
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