Friday, July 20, 2012

Thankful Thursday... A Day Late. A Dollar Short.

Last week I wrote my Thankful Thursday post on Wednesday. This week it's Friday. What can I say? I'm a busy gal and can't keep a schedule to save my life!

So this morning I was thinking about how I missed writing my post yesterday and the phrase "a day late and a dollar short" popped into my head. There are plenty of times when a day late isn't such a big deal. Take this post, for instance. I didn't get it done on Thursday. Whoop-ti-do. Life happened. I simply got too busy.

There are also times when being late does count. You miss an important deadline at work or to sign your kids up for an activity. Sometimes you can fix it. And sometimes you can't.

But then there are the really big things. The things you simply cannot afford to miss out on. Those life-changing things. Maybe it's a moment. Maybe it's a lifetime of taking someone for granted. Until, one day, you've missed the boat. That person is gone suddenly and you're left with nothing but regret. That's the one I want to talk about this morning.

Sometimes it's easy to take things and people for granted. You settle into habits. Things and people become everyday and normal and you forget just how precious they really are. I think we all do that now and again. The saddest part of this scenario is that the closest people to you are the ones it's easiest to overlook. Because the special things they do, the unique qualities about them, become regular and, in doing so, start to be nothing more than normal. We take it for granted that they will always be around. That we'll always have them in our lives.

But, of course, life is fleeting. I say nothing profound here. We all know it. But it sure is easy to forget sometimes. Life can be so darn busy. And we all get caught up in the whirlwind of schedules and appointments. We lose sight of the bigger picture: that life is not about how many events or relationships you can fit in but, rather, how amazing those moments and connections are.

When I thought of this post title, one of the first things that came to mind was my parents' deaths. It's probably because I was talking with someone just a few days ago about losing a parent suddenly and feeling somewhat like an orphan, even at my age.

For those of you that don't know, I lost my dad to cancer about 9 years ago. It wasn't an extremely prolonged period of time between his diagnosis to his death. But, I was somewhat prepared when we lost him. I was a daddy's girl, and I relied on him for a lot. We had a very good relationship and that helped when he died. I didnt have regrets or sadness for what we didn't mend in his lifetime. But, rather, had only good memories of how we were with each other.

Even still, it really does indeed hit home just how much you take for granted when you lose someone. There was so much he did for me that became so very evident when he wasn't there to do it anymore. What I realized most, the thing that I had completely taken for granted, was what a rock he was for me. I always felt safe knowing that, if I fell, my dad would be there to catch me. And then, suddenly, I didn't have that safety anymore. It was scary.

Now, with my mom, the scenario is a bit different. We had a good relationship, too. But we bickered  A lot. I think that the biggest problem with my mom and I was that we were a lot alike. And some of the things I didn't like about myself, I blamed indirectly on her. Little personality traits that I picked up from her would get on my nerves. She worried and got stressed about things too much. So did I.  She was picky. Me too. As a teenager and a young woman, these things overshadowed all the good things I also inherited from her. Like a kind heart and a giving personality. The ability to love big.

In addition to this, a mother-daughter relationship just has a different dynamic than that of a girl with her father. I didn't idolize her like I did my dad. Plain and simple. But when I lost my dad, I came to realize what a true gift she was to my life. How much I had always counted on her too. And then, most suddenly and shockingly, she was gone as well. And I found myself alone. I had my own children and plenty of people to rely on. But no one to catch me if I fell. No one to provide the unconditional love like only a parent can.
I didn't have regrets when I lost my mom either. I felt good in knowing that, even with all our bickering, there were never any hard feelings between us. We argued and then forgot about it. And we had grown even closer within the 7 years between losing my dad and losing my mom. Simply put, I'm confident that she knew how very much I loved her. And I know how much she loved me too.

So today, I am thankful for the peace that comes with losing someone and yet knowing that, if you could do things over with them, there really isn't too much you would change. I know a person who continually takes his parents for granted. Who basically cuts them off from most of his life because of his own short-comings, not theirs. And I know, from experience, that one day he will lose them. And have to live with the regret that he didn't appreciate what he had while it was his. I feel sorry for him. Because I know how hard it is to deal with losing people that are important to you without any regrets. I cannot imagine what it must be like when your heart is not only full of sadness over their death, but also with the sadness that you lost them long before they died.

If you read this and it means anything to you, please take a moment to really think about what others mean to you and how you would feel if they left. Would you have peace looking back on your relationships? Or would you have a heart full of regret? Once you lose someone, you don't get a do-over. Try not to be a day late and a dollar short when it comes to what truly counts in life. Make an effort everyday to appreciate the things that people do and the amazingness that makes them who they are.

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