I think the scariest thing about being a parent is coming to terms with one thing: life does not go on forever.
Yeah, I said it. It's true. Just the thought of it incites so much anxiety in my heart I can hardly see straight. But sometimes, I'm thankful for the reminder of my own mortality.
Before you're a mom or dad, the only responsibility you have lies in yourself. Yes, you have family, a spouse, friends...but as much as you love them; there's nothing that can compare to the love you have for a child you created.
I remember growing up and losing loved ones; it's always heartbreaking and horrible...but when you're young, you just don't think it could be you. It's not invincibility, it's just that when you're young and free, dying is about the last thing on your mind.
Now, as a mom, I'm a little older and just a touch wiser...I know that I won't be on this earth forever. Neither will any one person that I love, my sweet baby included. It's the scariest thought a person can have.
I look at my daughter sometimes and wonder...will I always be there for her?
Will I be able to teach her how to write her name and how to tie her shoes? Will I have the chance to hug her close right before her daddy gives her away on her wedding day? How many kisses will I get to give her before time is up?
I don't know; just as no one else on this earth does. I oftentimes find myself in tears; counting the moments and realizing that every day that passes is one more that has come and gone that I can never get back again.
And then I'm reminded that yes, while it's possible that I might not even have another 5 minutes, I have every opportunity in the world to make the best memories with her that I can.
I'm not rich. I can't give her the world. I can't give her half the things in life that she deserves.
But I can be her mom. I can love her and kiss her and hold her. I can play with her and cuddle her and teach her all that I know. I can dance with her and laugh, play patty cake until my hands go numb. I can color with her, I can hold her hand...I can be here with her; because for the short time I may be here...she is mine and I am hers.
I'm thankful every day for another day to be her mother. To see her grow and flourish. To hear her giggle and watch her dream.
As parents, heck, as human beings in general, it's so easy to become overrun with chores, work, and life that we forget to take a moment to just appreciate that we're here at all.
So now, even when I know there are things that need to be done...when my daughter asks me to dance...or to color...or walk...or whatever whim she has...I stop what I'm doing and I do it.
No, I don't know how many moments I have left in this world. I don't know how many moments she has either; I know there is always a possibility I could outlive her, God forbid. Or my husband. Or my loved ones.
But I do know that I can make the most of the moments I have...because at the end of it all, it's not going to matter if I got all the laundry done or if I cleaned out my fridge...the things that matter are the impression I made on my daughter, the things I taught her and the love I showed her.
When all is said and done, it's not the amount of time you had...it's what you chose to do with it.