I sat on the edge of my bed, robe barely on, just-out-of-the-shower, sobbing. My grandpa was slipping away and I needed to move quickly to see him for what I imagined would be the last time. I got ready and hurried Sweet V to ready herself so we could make the hour drive to my grandparents’ house.
That was the moment I realized that I had let life go by and disappear into the visits I meant to take, the cards I meant to send and the phone calls I meant to make.
One more second, turned one more minute, turned one more hour, turned one more day, turned one more week, turned one more month, turned one more year.
But it’s not all bad. I have poured my life into my home. Sweet V keeps me on my toes and needs her mommy to guide and love her. I’ve pursued my marriage relentlessly in hopes of great change. I’ve encouraged The Bonus to keep striving to reach his God-given potential and not let apathy reign in his life.
And after that, I have nurtured my friendships and focused on my career, strolled the aisles of target, attended a yoga class or two, just for me. Balancing life is time consuming. It’s exhausting. But it’s not an excuse to neglect the other people I love and who love me. The precious people just outside the walls of my home.
I’ve spent my entire life in a broken and blended family suffering the consequences of divorce and divide. These situations are tricky to navigate. No…they are hard.
So hard, that I have taken the path of least resistance. The easy road. I’ve made the choices that are convenient and comfortable because maintaining relationships is hard work. But this is the work that is the most important in life and reaps the biggest rewards.
Whenever I confide in someone that I feel guilty that I haven’t made time for a large part of my family, I am met with the response of the phone rings both ways. Cars drive in both directions. People who care about you will make time for you. It’s what we say to let our friend off of the hook. I let my train of life stop at Justification Station and I continue on the easy path telling myself that I will get to it eventually.
But you see for me, there is no grudge I am holding. There is no astronomical airfare. There is no 12 hour drive. It is just my own apathy, a little bit of selfishness, a little bit of lack of planning, and a whole lot of I still have time to check it off the list. It’s an area of life I control by just not controlling it.
And I sit here in my chair by the fire with a sadness and regret for all of the days I let
It’s too late to spend more time with my grandpa.
But it isn’t too late to connect with the ones who loved him as much as I did. It’s not too late to connect with my siblings and cousins and aunts and uncles and parents and grandparents still here. It’s not too late to strengthen bonds with the people I love.
I said goodbye to my precious grandpa, but I said hello to loved ones I have missed. I said hello to a better attitude. I said hello to the reminder that I will never regret packing Sweet V up and driving an hour or more to spend time with people we love over Netflix, laundry, and lesson planning. I don’t want a funeral to be where I reconnect.
Never again do I want a second to slip into a year.
Home is where the heart is, as the saying goes. Well, my heart is all over Michigan. No matter the address, I can help make that house a love filled home. High five for home.
Who do you need to forgive? What grudge do you need to let go? Who do you need to connect to and prioritize your time for? Don’t wait. Don’t justify. Don’t analyze. Just connect.