If I should die before I wake

December and January always lend themselves to a great deal of introspection, at least for me they do.  But this January in particular has seemed to lend itself to much more in depth consideration. I’ve realized in the last year that we have passed a milestone in parenting. I’m at the place where I am no longer simply caring for my children. I’m now actively training them to be their own people, to – wait for it – be on their own in the world. It’s coming faster than even I like to consider. In five and a half years I will have three grown children. It’s literally mind boggling that this can be so, but it is. The days where every moment of life was consumed by my girls’ needs is no more. If I’m going to get through this transition, it’s time for me to start thinking about who I want to be when I’m not the hands-on mom and full time teacher. There is life after the kids leave (there is life when they are home as well, and I am enjoying every bit of it–except the parts where I tell them to stop sniping or I will destroy them with duct tape and cherry bombs), and there is limited time while I still have their (semi) undivided attention. There’s no time to waste.
I’ve been enjoying a very succinct book, 20,000 Days and Counting in which the author talks at length about living life with a sense of urgency, because, this may be news to you, I’m dying.  Take a deep breath, you’re dying too.  It’s ok. It really does happen to all of us.  That is essentially the author’s point, we’re all dying, but very few of us have the courage to look that truth in the face and plan our lives accordingly. What I hope is that I have another forty years, at the very least, to look forward to, but what I know is that I truly might not wake up tomorrow.  Making peace with that isn’t necessarily fun or comfortable. One of the gifts I received from cancer was the irrefutable fact of my mortality. I look at every moment since that day, May 9th, 1996, as a gift. In reality, every moment before that was a gift as well, but since then I’ve tried to recognize life for what it is: fragile, uncertain, invaluable, precious, beautiful and either used or squandered.
I don’t want to be one who squanders.
So here I am, on the cusp of this whole new experience. I don’t want to miss even a second of these precious few years, and I don’t want to invest so heavily in this time that I have nothing left for what follows. These are the thoughts that wind through my days in these first weeks of the year. I’m creating a life plan which is certain to fill many posts to come as I navigate these waters between teen and adult.  I’m not ready, and yet, I don’t believe I could do anything else to be more ready than I am.
Ready or not, here it comes. I intend to enjoy every moment.

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2 thoughts on “If I should die before I wake

  1. how did i miss this yesterday??? i love this, dear dana. love love love it.

    yes, i too am dying. i have been at peace with that for a long time. i don’t think i’m at peace with anyone else dying, though.

    you? nope. not allowed.

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