I woke up today with a “to do,” list a mile long. A shower to caulk, which I’ve never done before and didn’t have the supplies for, so add “learning to caulk,” and going to Menards with a 4 month old baby who weighs 20 pounds to that “to do” list. A front yard full of bushes needed to be dragged to the back yard. A sink full of dishes and a dishwasher that is thankfully clean, but full. Laundry on the back steps and in the washer and dryer, another three loads waiting to be folded. Three kids going four different places today that need me to pick up and drop off. A party here to get ready for this weekend. My oldest child to get organized, take shopping and help pack and reserve a hotel for, as she leaves for college on Tuesday.
And then there is my job, which I sort of think doesn’t exist because I work from home, but it is still work. There are always photos to edit and send to customers, emails to answer, or phone calls to return. And my book to promote. But the book is not on fire so the poor thing gets neglected the most. I do what I can until I’m exhausted. Then I start again. And it’s okay, because I love my life. But it’s a lot some days.
Do you see why I’m all set to feel sorry for myself this morning? But then something happened and I couldn’t really feel so bad anymore. The whole big freaking list that I just made suddenly became small and insignificant, full of blessings brimming beneath the responsibility.
A woman in our town passed away suddenly. She was the mother of some friends of my girls. Just like that, she was gone, leaving kids behind to mourn her passing.
We live in a small town. The degrees of separation almost don’t exist. We are all connected. Our kids are in the same plays, the same school, the same choirs. I was not friends with that mom and we barely spoke, but our lives travel the same concentric circles around our kids. She may not be someone I knew, but in a town this size, this hits too close to home. Makes me feel like I dodged some random bullet flying by. Because in the blink of an eye, she’s gone and her kids are motherless. And I am here, with my to do list a mile long, caulking my tub and dragging bushes through the garage with my four year old dragging a baby nearby in a stroller. Thankful.
I have to believe that there is a lesson and a purpose in everything. It’s harder to do in the face of such raw horrific sorrow. But in the moments when we have to face the tragedy of fleeting mortality, we get to see that we are still alive. That we get to do dishes and laundry and change diapers and run errands. We get to kiss skinned knees and put crabby kids down to nap. We get to learn something new and collapse at the end of the day against a husband that we love.
We get another day to be thankful for.
Michelle Roth is a writer and photographer from Beaver Dam WI. She writes about unique family dynamics like single parenthood and polygamy because she believes that we are all similar as women and mothers, regardless of what our lives and families might look like. Michelle has four children and does her writing between chasing her busy teenagers or during the rare naps of her baby. Whether it pertains to raising children, writing or photography, Michelle believes in making the world a better place, one chapter or photograph or kid at a time. Her novel Dreaming Out Loud is available in both print and Kindle edition at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=romance+love+story+poly…