Hug Your Kids

Sunday, September 18, 2011
I have days where my kids make me want to pull my hair out. I've been known to want to crack the wine open at 3:46 pm (a mere five minutes after the kids have stepped off the bus). We've all had days like this. We're parents, after all.

Last week while I was doing a normal perusal of Facebook, I noticed that a friend "liked" a page. The profile photo was of a little girl who looked similar to Harper, and the name of the page implied that the child was ill. This friend is an influential blogger and a friend. I wanted to know more about the page since she was liking it. I value her opinion, and I wanted to learn more.

Within minutes of reading about the subject of the page, a 5 year old little girl who was suffering massive, multiple brain tumors, I "liked" the page too. How could I not? The entire time I was reading the Wall and the Info of the page, I kept thinking this could be my little Harper. They are the same age. Plus, they resemble each other. Round faces, blond hair, sweet eyes. It was heartbreaking to read her story, her struggle. Instead of starting Kindergarten, she was in a hospital bed having chemotherapy. Her parents and her siblings were hopeful. They prayed each day for a miracle. They wanted what we all want: to watch our children grow, to see our children become the people we've always hoped they would be.

Days after liking the page, I logged on to Facebook and scanned the updates as I always do. People complained about the weather, their mothers-in-law, their bosses. And then there was the news: this little girl had lost her battle. She was gone. All hope was lost. Her parents, defeated and deflated, were trying to keep it together for the rest of their family.

I can't imagine what it is like to lose a child. The excruciating pain. The emptiness. The knowing that life will never be the same. How do you ever recover from something like that. How? And why? Why this little girl? Why this family?

I can't answer these questions. Life is unfair. And it is unexpected. What you have today may be gone tomorrow. It's not a cliche. It's life. A lesson I learned when my father passed away suddenly and unexpectedly 3 years ago.

What I did the day I learned of this little girl's passing surprised my kids. As they got off the bus, I hugged them furiously. Right there. On the shoulder of the road by the door of the bus. I couldn't let go. All I could think was what would I do without them? We devoted that night to them. I unplugged. We went out for dinner. We reveled in the girls. We listened intently to their tales (tall as they may be).

The Hubs and I know how blessed we are to have two healthy and thriving daughters. We also know that all that can change without warning.

If you are lucky enough to be with your children as you are reading this, go grab them and hug them. If you are not with them at this moment, hug them when they come home from school or from wherever they are.

And know just how lucky you are.

1 comment

Unknown said...

I have plenty of days where I want to rip my hair out. My son is two and a half and is in the midst of "terrible" twos. I sometimes feel like it's just mine who has the melt downs he does. But no matter what, I always hug him and tell him I love him. It's very true what we have today may be gone tomorrow. And I thank my lucky stars every day for my son. And sometimes it takes stories like that, that make us appreciate what we have. Thanks for sharing this!
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