We all have full schedules.
In my house, the kids’ days are packed with summer activities. Camps, jobs, social lives, catching up on fun reading and Netflix. These might not sound like priorities to an adult, but they are to the kids.
Brian and I are making the time to schlep them hither and yon; trying to spend as much time with the home-for-the-summer kids as possible, but the rest of our lives don’t stop just because no one gets on a school bus every morning.
Jobs need to be done just like in the winter. The family and home needs are just like they are in the winter (although now my garden is taking over the neighborhood.)
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
Only one of my kids, the youngest, has told me he was bored. He probably won’t do that again. The older two know better. (See: My garden is taking over the neighborhood.) Yes, everyone, even the un-bored, pitches in. It’s part of being a family but the parents still have a supervisory, quality-control role.
This past week I was drawn to the windows. Not to clean them, oh no, I wanted to be outside but looming work deadlines kept me in and I was whining about the extra projects I had been excited to take on, until…summer.
And when am I going to find time to see “Wonder Woman?”
And then I cried.
The first came as an email.
The second came as a Facebook message.
Two women, my age, were gone.
The first was a dear friend from church. We shared the same birth year, clothing style, hair color and curls. We had taught Sunday school together; I adored and watched her children become adults. I always coveted her eyeglasses. She was smart and big-hearted and, if I’m being honest, she intimidated me just enough that of all the stupid things I say to people — she heard the most. She would give me a look of shock, immediately followed by a smile and a laugh at me (the best possible outcome, we’re talking a high level of stupid here.)
Last year she and I went for the same medical test at about the same time and got very different results.
The second was the mother of my daughter’s best friend. They had lived around the corner from us and, while we weren’t close, the very sweet relationship of our kids was a bonding agent. We never talked much, but I remember being delighted to meet the mom of such a gentle-souled son.
This is the part where Typical Susan would say the sorrowful news of both these women leaving this earth put my priorities straight.
This is the part where Typical Susan would reveal the lesson about looking at the big picture and cherishing time with people we love and care about because we don’t know when those days will end.
But those are all lessons I have learned over and over; lessons I know I will keep learning and refining anew.
The one thing I that I realized this time? We all stress, we sometimes whine and wish life were a little different, and we hate to admit it but even though life ends for one person, it keeps going for everyone else.
But those are now lives with cherished memories in an empty hole.
Your house is like mine; your life is like mine. Maybe the details look different but these basics are shared:
We’re all juggling full schedules.
We all have people we care about.
When those two tragically meet, we pause the former for the latter; we pause the typical and realize that our full lives are a little less full than we had thought just moments before.