Soooo, it turns out that profound loss does not make a girl so virtuous and otherworldly and oozing with perspective that she never again lets the little things get her down. Despite the fact that I know we should LIVE, LOVE and NEVER GIVE UP, I still get grumpy, irritable and small, allowing petty things to bug me. Like the way Tim chews. The tufts of hair that fly unceasingly off of Shadow right onto the kitchen floor. The relentless chores of grocery shopping and finding something/anything for dinner. Yes, I KNOW that in the long-term not one of these "problems" has lasting significance, yet each still rankles.
I guess I thought you should know that.
It's like those poems about cute sticky-kid fingerprints on the wall and how we should treasure them because one day the kids will be grown and we will miss them. Okay. I get it. If ANYONE gets it, I get it. I mean back in September I was handed a heaping portion of perspective on a plate of steaming crap with a side order of "Are you f'ing KIDDING me?" But still, even with that perspective, I'm a fingerprint wiper, and because of that I don't judge folks who don't get what I've learned in the last 8 months:
Things change in an instant.
We need to focus on what's important.
This world is not our home.
My friend Glennon, right before her blog post "Don't Carpe Diem" went viral in January, was hesitant to post it at all because she thought the funny and irreverent idea of NOT cherishing the moments with our kids might offend me, a mom who would do anything to have just a few of those moments with Jack again. It didn't offend me. Not one bit.
Because as much as I wish I had a room full of loud, 13 year old boys messing up my house today, or at least ONE fast-talking, soft-cheeked boy leaving his socks wherever he pleased, and I do wish that, I recognize how very hard it is to keep our eyes on what's important when we are in the trenches of motherhood, of life. After all, I too get caught up in the daily grind, and I'm the one with the dead son.
I remember quite well what it was like to have a non-napping baby at home and a husband who worked all day in the city and went straight to school every night until 10. Even on Fridays. I remember how distressing the playground politics of preschool seemed. I remember 2 summers ago almost having a mental breakdown trying to decide whether to move my daughter back to private school. I remember.
As a bereaved mom, I do have a new perspective. I will always have one foot in this world, and one foot in the next. But even in this strange state of KNOWING that small things are small, and longing to tell people to cherish what they have, I still get annoyed when Margaret can't find her shin guards every darn week. I still live in fear at the thought of having to manhandle her into getting a throat swab, even though I know something like strep throat isn't even a blip compared to burying one's child. I remember. I forget.
I take comfort knowing that God's own chosen people had perspective yet were forgetful, too. They had been through so very much and were delivered from it. God freed them from slavery in Egypt and had Moses part the Red Sea just for them, but no sooner than they could say, "My feet hurt," or "Manna tastes like tofu," they were grumbling, forgetting their miracles, and melting down gold to see how fast they could make a little something-something for their worshipping pleasure.
So I forgive myself and others when we forget the significance of what we have learned and are learning these days-- when we are tempted to numb ourselves and just focus on the little things (like my frustrating morning, or Tim's chewing!)
And I'm so GRATEFUL to have this blog as a way to record/remember what God is teaching us, what our sweet Jack was/is like, and as a place to share with each other why any of this matters at all. It seems that our grief and our growth have a communal quality about them, because we are in this life together.
Thank YOU for being in this with me, even when it's hard!