Small Things

Tonight I’m making a roast.

I work four nights a week. While the hellions are in school I edit Old Souls, which means the nights and weekends I do get to spend with the boys are typically quite busy. 68d87662123424c6b65f8fa98cdb0b02Meals are rushed. There is homework to contend with, chores to be doled out, and music lessons to practice between futsal, basketball, and physiotherapy appointments for the youngest hellion’s clubfoot, which has recently begun to turn back in as his quickly growing bones seem to be growing a little too quickly for his muscles to keep up.

*takes deep breath*

Sometimes I look at my family and marvel at how fast life moves.

My husband and I often pass like two ships in the night: occasionally able to enjoy each other’s company in the workings of everyday life, but usually high-fiving at the door for “shift change.” We exchange texts and calls throughout the day, highlighting all the pertinent information like what’s going on at work, or that one of hellions needs to be monitored a little more closely on his newly acquired social-media privileges, or a message from the principal about the middle one fighting at school.


Should have seen that one coming . . .

This is our life. It isn’t the neat and tidy undertaking I envisioned with that first positive pregnancy test: where my husband and I would be home to enjoy family meals at night, and my career would fit neatly into a 9-5 package. Sometimes I feel like I’m just treading water: my book will never be finished, I’m not devoting enough attention to my job, house, or marriage, and I’m a terrible mom.

I hear those feelings are normal these days.

Our life is messy, and oftentimes not ideal, but it works. Our family works. Our life works.

And it’s often only when tragedy strikes that we realize it.

On Friday March 8th, one of the oldest hellion’s good friends lost his mother in a horrific car accident on her way home from work.

I didn’t know her.

It was snowing. Her son was waiting at home. And instead of meeting his mother at the door, he was greeted by two police officers who took him to the hospital to meet his father.

Even though we weren’t friends, I have been affected by this woman’s passing in ways I could have never anticipated. It’s as if the world has been spinning like a top the last few years . . . and has suddenly come to a halt. It’s as if this moment stopped us to stare at the stars.road-3168803_1920

And all I can think of is this boy and his father.

And all I can think of is my own beloved hellions opening the door to find two police officers with terrible news.

Tonight, it’s supposed to snow again. The winds are going to blow. In fact, I can hear them now, railing against the front windows, growing in force. Tonight, we will be together, safe indoors with absolutely nowhere to go.

So tonight, I’m going to make a roast.



65 thoughts on “Small Things

  1. Reminders of our mortality often come as a shock, but always as a useful reminder to get our $h!t together just in case the worst happens to come a little closer to home. Soak up each and every hug you can… but have a plan for your family if someone departs a little early.

    Your banner image is beautiful, by the way.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think a lot of people can relate to this. I am amazed and frightened by how quickly the days, weeks, then months seem to go by. Fitting in quality time with the family is increasingly difficult, which makes no sense because that is what is most important in the end. How’s the old saying go? Stop the world, I wanna get off.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Dear J. A., Baloney! You are not a terrible Mom, and I hope you do know that! Life is not the way it is presented in Movies, TV, Books etc. It’s the down and dirty of everyday life – I think it’s called reality. I always hate movies that never show all of a person’s life. I remember those years and you are indeed wise to realize that they “Fly By”! Take lots and lots of photos and videos. You might even try some “guided journal entries to make” about their summer, their Christmas, Birthdays etc. that they can have to look back on when you give them back after they are married. I still review old assignments from high school on “Your Ideal Mate” etc.

    Make the time you have quality time not quantity. Modern media makes it easier to be in touch with kids without having to be there physically. Make sure you pass down a love or passion of yours to them if you can. Something that they will always identify with – Mom!

    Sorry to hear about your child’s friend’s Mom. It isn’t always as clear to us as it should be that we are really candles in the wind. Forgive me, My Dear for going On and On and On and On! But your piece took me back down Memory Lane.

    You might want to start capturing some time by using your cell phone as a dictation device? You can capture a lot of good things. It’s helped me.

    You might want to check out the poem – “A Flickering Soul” on my blog. One of our friends (retirement community) lost his wife and I was privileged to be able to recite this at her service. He said, it really spoke to his soul. So, perhaps you might think it worthy for the husband who just lost his wife?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. J.A., Just wanted to say Thank You so much for this post and the wonderful feelings and emotions expressed and what a seed of inspiration it was to me! Your post inspired me to write “Fly By” and I am deeply indebted to you for the seed that blossomed! If you don’t mind I would like to attribute inspirational credit to you and this post?? Please let me know? I can send you a copy, if you like.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you, J. A. for this reminder. I had a similar experience last week when a colleague shared her concern for one of her colleagues in the field who was in a very precarious life and death situation. We both became laser focused on the frailty and precariousness of life and how quickly things can change for better or worse. Thank you for sharing this so eloquently.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Good friend whom I’ve never met–
    We are connected by our love for our families and our certainty that we are doing it all wrong. From the vantage point of great age, and after spending 11 years as a parapro in both high school and elementary school, I have this observation to offer. Does your family feel loved? Do they know that no matter how busy you are, if they really, truly need you, you will drop everything to take care of them?
    I have seen a lot of children from a lot of different kinds of families, and the most significant thing in their lives is “Does someone love me?” For your children, and husband, the answer is very obviously, “Yes.”
    You have no choice but to “keep dancing as fast as you can,” but don’t be too hard on yourself about the rest. You love them, and they know it. Your doing well enough.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. This actually brought tears to my eyes. So often we focus on the unimportant truly believing its important when in fact we have neglected the most important things all together. Thank you for this. This is truly beautiful.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. My house is not a 9-5, my boys probably the same age as yours with the same struggles have known no different. I fully understand your feelings and the judgement we place on ourselves, but it works… most of the time.
    Similar to you it was a wake up call that made me focus on dinner…. it dosent matter if I’m on a 12 hour night or an afternoon shift, I have dinner sorted, I call while they are eating to hear the conversation I’m not there for and on the nights I’m home, I get them in the kitchen with me and we cook….
    don’t be too hard on yourself, shift workers tend to be the best jugglers of time 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Life is messy. Unless you have suffered a loss you really don’t understand how to live in the moment. For those of us who have had losses you truly understand tomorrow is never guaranteed. So you count your blessings and give thanks for another day. I’m making quiche.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Indeed, Ma’am, life goes on. The wheel turns, the snow ploughs, the roasts do so … and in the end it’s all about luck (and doing the best we can with the cards we’re dealt).

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Pingback: FLY BY | Poet's Corner

  12. Reblogged this on The Reluctant Poet and commented:
    Come read this great post about the pace of life and the functioning of our families into today’s fast paced life.

    J.A.’s post was the inspiration for my “Fly By” – I loved her line – Sometimes I look at my family and marvel at how fast life moves.
    Come see if you can relate???

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Family is important, I remember a few tragedies like that growing up. Since then I’ve tried to focus on the moments that we can be a family again together. I hope you and your family continues to stay safe, healthy and together.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I hate that it takes events such as that one to remind us of the importance of appreciating the time we have together while we have it. I know you didn’t know her, but my sympathies to you (your hellion and your hellion’s friend, especially).

    Liked by 4 people

  15. We moved states this last summer. My 5th grader had her circle of friends that was sad to leave. For the most part, a few we knew well and did activities with their families regularly. However, there were a couple we (the parents) didn’t know. Our family best friends, their daughter quickly became best friends with a girl named, Shelby. My daughter and she were never close, but again they all played together on the playground. After we left, I would see facebook posts of our old besties going out and doing things with their new besties. Shelby’s mom is a 4th grade teacher at the school we just left. Just 3 weeks ago, I got on Facebook and saw a post on my old besties time line that Shelby went home on Friday, went to sleep, and never woke up Saturday! She was only 11 years old. Although we didn’t know these people personally, it has touched all of us in ways we hadn’t thought it would. It was difficult to tell our daughter. And our heart aches for our bestie Stephanie, that was hanging out with Shelby quite frequently. These poor girls started 6th grade, first loosing my daughter to moving and then another to an unexplained death. Saying “see you later” on Friday after school, and Monday to not having her there. They have no idea why Shelby died and the family is currently going through genetic testing, etc. They have another 10 year old child. I can’t imagine the parents ever sleeping again until they have answers. So, I understand your post. It’s impossible to not think of your own family during times like these.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Pingback: The Unthinkable – Humble, but Humorous

  17. J.A. I look forward to your posts. I scour my feed, hoping that I’ve missed one and that it’s tucked into the folds, waiting for me. Now that you’ve shared how hectic your life can be, I will wait with more patience. Concerning this post, Life shakes us up sometimes to remind us not to take it for granted.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. It sounds like you are doing well. It takes a lot of work to raise a family. It’s only recently, the past 10 years, that I have become fortunate to work from home. This allows me to contribute more around the house even though our family is now grown and out of the house. You are doing well. Keep up the good work and be strong especially during adversity.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. What a touching story. Yes sometimes it is these sad events that make us stop and realize we often forget what is important. Thanks for writing this and stopping by and following my blog. Best to you!

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Oh my your life is perfect !!!is there such a thing as a perfect family well yes I Believe we are all perfect in our own way routines no routines dragging through the day or smooth sailing but no matter how we are as a family if your together and there’s love and your happy now that’s perfect 🙂 that poor kid who lost his mom my heartbreaks … in October my son lost a friend in a car accident on a rainy day and the parents are doing ok but barely so yeah every time my son 17 gets in his car to go to work school and it raining snowing , I take a deep breath and pray he makes it safely . Love your blog and thank you for following me.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I feel I almost know you J.A., and your ability to find perspective. Both my younger and elder brothers passed too soon, and my niece who works in a hospital shared a story with me last week.
    A father was awaiting the surgeon who could possibly save his sons life, and it seemed the time was long. Once there, the father criticized the Dr for the time span asking if it were your son, would have you dragged so? After the surgery, the Dr said his son would be fine now, any questions, please ask the nurse; and quickly departed. A minute later when the nurse arrived, the father again criticized the Dr, raging of his arrogance to not even explain the process, and then leaving.
    The nurse then said, when he received the page, he was at the funeral of his son who passed earlier in the week, due to an accident. He promised his wife and daughter he’d be right back to get them, so he had to leave immediately after your son’s surgery. We’re sorry.
    Stories like these make me cry, and with 300 million people in this country it happens far too often.
    Stay safe, and stay in love with your family. When safety is gone, the love of your family will not be.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. What a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing – I can definitely relate to this as I experienced it – not my mom, but my brother – I also understand the hectic schedules and fitting in family time – but it’s so important to stop & take in the moments – even the crazy ones!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. What a beautiful post! I completely understand where you’re coming from. Mother of two, trying to manage the fragments of a writing career, editing manuscript for what seems like ages and trying to do my best in life juggling all the in betweens. You find yourself complaining about this or that when suddenly you hear of unthinkable tragedy. You want to stop, pull everyone in close and breathe. Keep at it! Your post is proof enough you are doing a great job. You care enough to put it into focus.

    Liked by 1 person

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