A wise person once told me this. I think Meghan was young, and in that two-year span where most of her time was spent screaming. I admit to wanting those days to end when I was in the middle of them. And, while I miss some of the cuddling, truth be told, I’m not sorry I wished THOSE days away.
It’s the rest of them.
From the time she stopped screaming, she’s been pretty cool to be around. And now I look at her eye to eye. While she’ll always be my baby, the years seem to be flying by.
This week I had to explain to her middle school that she would NOT be taking 9th grade math in 8th grade. For some people this makes a lot of sense. For us, not so much. I’m all about the foundation of math, and building without the 8th floor seems silly to me. Plus, really, there is nothing wrong with taking 8th grade math in 8th grade. What’s all the rush?
When Meghan was born she had seven great-grandparents. Two of them she never met in Puerto Rico, but still seven great-grandparents. Insane.
She also had 5 grandparents. That’s a lot of love.
But, I also remember clearly a colleague at work commenting, “That’s a lot of loss she’ll have to endure.”
I was indignant. Annoyed when she said it, because even though my conscious mind knew it to be true, I was not one to sit around and think about it.
We had Cowden’s Syndrome to digest. We had major league health and emotional issues to manage, and I couldn’t allow fear to envelop us.
I surrounded her with the grandparents and great-grandparents as often as I could. And every year that ticked by was a blessing, because she built her own memories and relationships with each one.
Then, in June 4 years ago, in 2012, we lost GGPa, Grandpa Al – Ken’s Dad. He was so much a part of our lives and our family. Ken embraced us as his own when he married Mom, and his family was no different. And Meghan and GGPa… well, she was his “Sapphire,” and they could certainly light up each other’s eyes.
In the fall of 2013, Grandpa Tom got sick. He was never ever sick. But, this time it looked very wrong. And it was. In about 3 months time, he was gone. Snatched away at 65. He had made such an effort to be around Meghan. He was so deliberately making up for lost time and I loved him for it. They had their own set of memories…
A few months later, in October of 2014 Great Grandma Gen headed up to meet the angels she missed for so many years…
And then in March of this year our beloved “Pop” was gone. Pop was larger than life. And even at 96, seemed almost invincible. Until he wasn’t. The ache is deep, and raw.
Five years ago I bought so many Father’s Day cards, people would laugh at me. Five years ago I remember telling Meghan how thankful I was to need to buy that many cards. Five years ago, I couldn’t have predicted…
So much has gone on in our lives on a medical front. If I count loosely I would say it’s been about 10 surgeries between us since that Cowden’s diagnosis in 2011. So often we feel like we are bouncing from one hospital or appointment to another. So often we are scheduling appointments instead of relaxation, surgeries instead of vacations.
But, we make a point to stop. To try. To focus. Yesterday was a tough day. The pain was a bit overwhelming at times. But, the gratitude runs deep, for the family we have. For Felix, the best husband and father we could have ever asked for.
Tonight there was wonder in Meghan’s eyes. She saw the first fireflies of summer after swim practice. They went out to get a closer look.
And I peeked out onto the back deck to catch a glimpse of my 5’8″ daughter on her father’s shoulders – to get a better picture of the sunset.
I smiled, in spite of myself. Tonight it’s not about the weeks ahead. Tonight it’s not about the next surgeries and appointments. Tonight, it’s about tonight. It’s about going to bed a little later so as not to miss the little things.
Tonight is about making memories. The little ones. The ones that matter. The ones you carry in your heart forever.
The Days are Long, but the Years are Short…
And we remain forever