Life is short. Truly, we have no idea how much time we have left to make our impact. A few weeks ago, a mother of four lost her life in an awful auto accident on her way to work — the same place I drive to every weekday. And if you have been plugged into any news outlet this last week, you without a doubt heard about the terrible passing of NBA star Kobe Bryant.
Both of these incidents hit me specifically hard and yet I knew neither of them personally. In fact, I have been team Michael Jordan my whole life, always putting Kobe under him. But, that was irrelevant when I heard Kobe died. It wasn’t about losing a superstar, it was about a father leaving behind his daughters and that sweet lady who left behind her sons.
As a mother, that is one of my biggest fears — leaving my babies behind. Yes, I know as a Christian mother, being welcomed into heaven is a glorious goal that I hope to achieve one day, but, you know, not until I am ready. As country singer Kenny Chesney put it, “everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to go now.”
Me included. And yet, tragedies like these really put life and how I am spending my time into perspective. Time is the one thing that makes us all equal. Surely Kobe would have given everything in his bank account for one more day with his family. But even all the money in the world cannot buy back time.
And as a full-time working mama, I feel like that is especially hard to swallow. There is a ton of guilt and second-guessing about time spent away from my family. Hours ticking by in the office while my kids are in someone else’s care can become overwhelming. And for what? A paycheck that I cannot take to the other side!
Thoughts have flooded my mind about all the time I could be spending working with Maylie perfecting shoelace tying or getting Reagan to write letters facing the right direction. Surely, my kids could be master toy picker-uppers and math whizzes if I had more time to spend working with them.
But I am also a firm believer in time making the heart grow fonder. Ask any stay-at-home mom (or me after a few days off), and you will see how quickly the quantity of time together can degrade quality. Easy lessons become annoyances, and messes become arguments.
Having a passion and pursuing it outside the home allows for every second spent together to be more special — or at least, that is what I am telling myself to justify my decision to work. But, truly, because I know I do not have as much time to spend with my kids daily, I pour everything into the seconds, minutes and hours that we do get.
Maybe one day I will regret not taking more time off in these younger years, but I can pretty much guarantee that if I was home every day with my girls then they wouldn’t be welcomed almost every night into our bed to cuddle — especially knowing full well that any sort of solid sleep is not going to happen.
And I probably wouldn’t try so hard to plan as many family fun days — crafts, cooking, day getaways — on the weekends. Or secretly love when Maylie doesn’t have her reading homework done when I get home from work so she gets to read to me that night. I am not sure that our playlist would be up over 70 songs that we know almost all the words to and can sing at the top of our lungs in the car on the way home from practice or dance to as a family on a Saturday night in the living room.
If all my time was devoted to them, would I really take the time to drive home lessons of forgiveness, friendship and doing their best thinking? Or would I get lost in all the time we have together?
Time is a funny thing like that. Sometimes, I long for the moment to just stop so I can soak it in, and other times I cannot wait for bedtime. Having too much time can cause me to take it for granted, and yet there never seems to be enough.
All I can do is pour love into my babies every chance I get with the allotted time I have with them. Only God knows when He will call me home. It is up to me to make sure I have given it all when I run out of time.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.