One of my favorite quotes comes from John Greenleaf Whittier.
For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: "It might have been"
I watched a video many years ago of my wedding reception. People came through my line, and I hugged and loved on many friends and family. My grandpa came through, and unbeknown to me at the time, I shook his hand and turned away from him looking for the next person in line.
I cried watching this clip.
My Grandpa was not a hugely affectionate person. He had a stern personality, but I never wanted to lose him without his not knowing how much I truly loved him.
I made it up to him before died.
I visited more often.
I hugged and kissed him each time I saw him after that.
But what if I hadn't seen that video?
At one point in my life I had 3 young children, ages 6, 3 and a newborn. Life had boiled down to a series of tasks. Laundry, dishes (with no dishwasher), vacuum, baths, diapers, mow, dishes (again), garden, dinner, etc.
I just wanted an hour to myself to sew or whatever.
I wished they would be old enough to entertain themselves for an hour.
Well... I wished, and my wish came true.
They were toddlers no more.
Fast forward 14 years.
I have a 3 year old, and I see remnants of the toddlers that I once took for granted.
Every day that passes I breathe her in.
I smell her hair.
I tickle her face.
We read books.
I hold her in the shower.
We sit on the heater and watch movies.
Sometimes my laundry gets to wait while I love on her.
Dinner sometimes gets to be made from a box so we can play blocks.
I do my best to make up those moments with my kids... but its a bit more difficult with a bunch of teenage boys. But we cook, play games, and spend time together that would have gone unnoticed had I not had a 3 year old to remind me what I took for granted.
I mourn the days that I lost with my little ones because I was too caught up in "being productive".
I won't let "what might have been" haunt me.
I've been trying to intervene.
To find things that I might regret someday and make a difference now.
I'm sure there are things I'm not aware of... I'll tackle those as they come.