Friday, October 28, 2011

Live Like You Were Dying

My friend Brooke sent over this story the other day about a woman whose son is terminal. He has a disease that is guaranteed to shorten his life and the quality of those short years. She speaks about how her parenting style is different. Does it really matter if your child eats all their vegetables if they will die tomorrow? He is allowed whatever makes him the most comfortable and happy because she will be able to give him very little for the rest of his life. She won't send him to college or cheer him on at soccer games. But she can give him cheesecake if that's what he really wants to eat for dinner.

Our parenting plans, our lists, the advice I read before Ronan’s birth make little sense now.  No matter what we do for Ronan — choose organic or non-organic food; cloth diapers or disposable; attachment parenting or sleep training — he will die. All the decisions that once mattered so much, don’t. 

It got me thinking... and then of course a country song popped into my head. This happens a lot. My immediate thought was that song from Tim McGraw, Live Like You Were Dying, about a man who learned he had terminal cancer and all the adventures he took himself on were as though living that one day would be his last-- skydiving, Rocky Mountain climbing, riding a bull, loving deeper, speaking sweeter, giving forgiveness {he'd} been denying. And it ends with this kicker:

Someday I hope you get the chance, to live like you were dying.

Let's get real. I'm not ready to die. I wasn't ready for my son to die and I'll never accept that as being okay. I'm not ready to say goodbye to baby #2 either. I hope I don't have to, but I don't have a say in the matter. I have to hope and pray and wish and dream that this little guy will hold on and grow strong in his "safe place" (irony, anyone?) and we'll get to love on him forever. But we just don't know the future. It could be short or long and none of us are promised another day.

As the "dragon mom" in the article mentioned, she is choosing to love her son fully and take one day at a time. I am attempting to make this my goal during this pregnancy. I am so thankful and so lucky to have this little boy growing and kicking within me. But I know he may not be with me forever and I need to cherish the time we have with him however long we're given. Don't get me wrong; I'll be crazy and throw fits and be even angrier if something happens to this little gem, too, but I am choosing to spend my pregnant days just loving him. I feel as though I maintained that same mentality with Andrew, too, but I lost touch at some points when I was too busy planning a nursery, reading pregnancy books, and signing up for parenting classes that I didn't focus as much on the little joy growing within me. I focused on a life we never got and not on the child who mattered in the moment. I wish I'd written more down, taken more photos, counted his little kicks, talked to him even more. This time, I have no excuse. I am not planning a nursery. As a matter of fact, we refuse to take Andrew's name down from the wall or move a thing until this child is in our arms. We'll worry about that later. Right now, we love and bond and cherish each moment.

Dragon Mom has the right idea.

It's short. Read the article. Not just for moms or BLMs or anyone in particular. I think she has some wisdom that puts life in perspective. We could all use the reminder at times.


LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]

Totally agree- both on the song, and the new mentality. If all we get is right now, then what are we waiting for, you know?

Of course you do. Ps. We all want to love on this little one within you. :)

Kelly said... [Reply to comment]

Love this. Especially about the new pregnancy. I'm still having a real hard time getting attached. But I tell myself all the time, when this baby gets here, I'm gonna appreciate him or her so much more and not get worked up about spit up and sleepless nights like I did with Adam. But why wait til then? Why not cherish it all NOW? Thank you. You and LJ both wrote posts tonight that have led me to change my thinking on things. I appreciate it. :)

Molly said... [Reply to comment]

We are are grateful for that little man in there, too. :)

Molly said... [Reply to comment]

Grr... we are all grateful... it should have read. Hate this phone.

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

atta girl :)

Tiffany said... [Reply to comment]

If there is one thing I have learned- it's definitely, don't wait for tomorrow- you never know... there might not be one.
I read this article a couple of days ago too- it made me think about my last night with Ellie... what if I'd known... I never would have put her down for a second. I sometimes have that philosophy with Max- I don't spoil him, but if he wants to stay in bed with me and watch more episode of cartoons- we do it. Looking back, I won't regret dropping him off at school a little late, but I will regret not taking those extra cuddles from him.

Renel said... [Reply to comment]

It is so important...all of it. You know I really cherished my pregnancy with Camille and I didn' PLAN of the multiple reasons I get crazy and think she died.

"I wish I'd written more down, taken more photos, counted his little kicks, talked to him even more. This time, I have no excuse."

I hear you with this. I wish I wish I wish. ME TOO

Dianna said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for sharing this article. It is sad, but very real. She has the right idea about parenting.

Kristin said... [Reply to comment]

Love this post. I am attempting to do the same thing with my little boy, too. Sometimes I feel 'silly' for being as excited about this pregnancy as I am, because we all know how that played out for me last time, but I want to cherish and enjoy every moment I have with him, just like I did with Stevie. Thanks for writing this, it really inspired me!