Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Enjoy them! Enjoy them! Enjoy them!

"Your family is beautiful," said the stranger at the table next to us as she prepared to leave the restaurant.

"Thank you!" I replied. I then waited for the next foray into twin-driven conversation. Those twins, they are conversation starters. Everyone has something to say. Sometimes it's a flat out denial that they can't be twins (since they don't look alike), or a question: boys? girls? or a confession that they are one of a twin set.

"Enjoy them! Enjoy them! Enjoy them!" she exhorted me and then paused to catch her breath. I smiled and waited for her to continue. "I lost my eldest in an accident a month ago."

Shocked, my brain scrambled to comprehend what she was telling me. I frantically thought of something to say and all I could get out was "I'm so sorry!"

"Enjoy them." She said once more and took a deep breath. I looked up at her from where I sat, holding Emma, and saw the raw pain in her eyes. She touched my shoulder fleetingly as she smiled down at Emma and then turned away. Clearly she needed to share this: that life can be so fragile, so fleeting, that we need to enjoy the moments we have because we never know when they may be over.

So here I am, sharing it with you. These moments fly by. It's not easy to enjoy them during the screaming, crying, whining and late stages of sleep deprivation, but childhood doesn't last. And nothing is forever.

Take a moment to think of this woman, one of many out in the world in the same position, who are waiting for the pain to fade. My thoughts are with her.

Then, squeeze your children, spouses, family or friends close tonight and remember to enjoy them. I will.



Anonymous said...

Enjoy them, nothing could be truer...but as they leave, there's the most curious bittersweet ache of selfishness that they're growing up and satisfaction that it seems a job's been well done.


Woman with a Hatchet said...

You are so very right. I expect I'll feel that same way through each stage they pass through.

Jennifer S said...

I'm so sad for that woman. How awful. My kids are getting an extra kiss or two tonight.

Susan said...

Thanks for sharing this. That kind of advice is always worth hearing.

Anonymous said...

When we hospital (both the high risk OB area and then the NICU), I used to go stand at the window of the well baby nursery and think about how lucky the parents of those babies were, yet I wasn't sure that they knew just how lucky they were. I wanted to tell them, but I never did for fear of ruining their moment with the baby. I'm not sure how I feel about it - is it better to share or is it better to keep it to yourself? Probably just depends on the situation I guess...

Woman with a Hatchet said...

It's hard to know how to share such an experience as yours. If you do, are you a buzz kill or are you helping to wake up the folks who are taking the health of their babies for granted (including me)? I got a lot out of reading your family's struggle. There were plenty of days when I squished mine a little closer after reading about your babies.

I'm so very glad they're home safe with you, but I'm certain that you must feel overjoyed.


Jenny, the Bloggess said...

I had to wake Hailey up to hug her after reading this.

Love it though. Obviously: http://blogs.chron.com/goodmombadmom/2008/05/bs_sunday.html

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. My daughter was born prematurely (she's 7 years old now, totally healthy with no long lasting effects).

When she was born, I only got to hold her for a moment before they took her away.

And the next time I saw her she was flat on her back on a warming tray, wired up like some sort of amateur home entertainment system, completely motionless.

I saw her and just burst into tears because in that moment, I thought she was going to die.

And though the immediacy of that moment has faded for me, whenever I get all annoyed with the irritating noises she's making on purpose, or the mess she's made on the floor, I try to bring myself back to the day she was born, to remind myself how lucky I truly am to have her.

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Thanks Jenny! I know, it's a pretty heavy post. Not all light and fluffy and filled with babies with voice-overs.

Manager Mom: I'm glad your daughter is fine now. It is hard to be mindful of the intense love we bear for our kids when sometimes (OK, possibly frequently for me this week.) we want to boot them. However, in the long run, they're incredible and we are very lucky to have them.

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