The above picture is what physically remains of my grandpa, your great grandpa. He passed away last month as peacefully as anyone could hope with your Ba (Grandpa) by his side. He was cremated and packed neatly in that box for burial. At the funeral I commented to your father that it was strange to think that all that was left on earth of someone who was just living, now fits in that box. However, I was wrong.
Your Great Grandpa might have had his physical presence with us diminished, but he is still here. He is here in the way that your Grandpa is so extremely generous. The way he values family over money and loves all sorts of sports.
He is still here in the fact that somehow his pet Dachshund still lives with your Nana and Ba. He always owned one of them for as long as I can remember.
He is here in me – in the way I love to take walks on beautiful days and enjoy sitting around a campfire like I did with him when I was much younger.
He is here in you – the blue eyes, the goofy personality.
I hope that as you grow and live your life you will realize that who you are, and your impact here on the earth will reach beyond your life and beyond your death. Your ashes can be packed and put on a shelf or in the ground, but your life and the choices you made, the family you did or didn’t raise, the people you touched with your actions, they will all live on. Your life is bigger – so much bigger – than your physical existence. Don’t be limited by the box, because you certainly don’t have to be.
This post is to you Grandpa and all the living you still have left to do in the hearts of those who love you!
This past year your father and I have had to consistently ask ourselves what things in our life have the most value. We certainly aren’t made of money and when bills pile up, namely those student loans that allowed us to experience some great years that helped to shape who we would become–both in and out of the classroom–it is often easy to start adding $ signs to find value in the things around us. If that wasn’t enough, the media, internet, advertising, and just about every piece of printed material out there is in one way or another telling us to place value in life’s monetary gains and “status symbols”.
I won’t lie, a Corvette would be nice, and probably have at least some temporary value to me. However, every time we sit down and really talk about it, your father and I consistently find that the most valuable things–the things WE want to invest in– have no dollar value attached to them. The things we find most valuable to us always tends to be our faith in God, our positive relationship with each other, YOU and being active participants in your life our pets (and yes they DO require a dollar commitment), satisfaction withour jobs, and also our relationship with friends and family.
Before I start sounding like a feel-good family TV show (or maybe I’m too late for that), let me tell you that keeping the VERY valuable things the center of our focus isn’t always easy. THey aren’t valuable in a measurable way that perhaps an expensive piece of jewelry or set of new top of the line golf clubs are. However, their value is measured in the way these things make us feel, the way they keep our hearts living passionately, the way that they give us constant peace of mind.
Whenever I contemplate getting a higher paying job — that would allow us some “valuable”items – I realize that it would take me away form you and also away from a job that I have now that I really love. No amount of money could make me feel as good as spending a day with you–and working at a job where I feel I really have a chance to make a difference in the world.
My rambling is about done. What I’m trying to say is to always make sure when you consider what is valuable to you — look deeper than the attached % sign. WE all love new “things” — and I’m not telling you to never splurge. Just always remember that value can be measured in laughter, hugs, kisses, hear warming (and a few heart-wrenching) moments — it can be measured in time with a good companion and in so many ways that dollar signs can never add up to.
Life is messy…literally and figuratively. The sooner you accept the mess the sooner you learn to handle it. I don’t want you to live in a slob like state. Do your dishes, wash your clothes, tidy up your home for sure. However, you need to realize that sometimes in order to truly live you have to get a little messy.
Relationships don’t always make sense and fairy tale endings can happen but not usually in the wonderful linear method our story books tell us about. Jobs can be tense and school can be too! Things will happen that are outside of your control. Things that break your heart like the loss of a loved one, and things that vault you to new highs such as achieving a goal you have been striving towards for a very long time. If you spend all of your time trying to “tidy up” your life and control every element of it, you will be stressed and weary well before your years. I hope you learn at a young age that sometimes things happen, things that we don’t deserve, things that we can’t control–but we can control how we react to them. That’s the key. Accepting the mess and doing our best.
I love the age that you are at right now. When you make a mess, it is as if you are oblivious that the mess even exists. You simply alter what your doing to adapt to it..and any mess you can’t clean up or work around you just ignore. You have no anxiety or OCD regarding the messes you make and it makes you live and play without restraint. I hope you know how fabulous you are when you live without fear of the mess and how easy all the messes are to clean up, even if they take a little time.
Here you are painting at 15 months..you didn’t mind your hands looked like a priceless Picasso…and I would be lying if I said your stomach wasn’t painted to match 🙂
(Note: The next 45 days or there about are pieces of advice from an article by Regina Brett. The Article can be read here. I first heard her advice over 2 years ago and it was a base inspiration for this blog. I am simply taking her advice and applying it. Thanks for the good advice Regina–I’m glad you aren’t really 90.)
Life Isn’t Fair, But It’s Still Good.
Could that be any more true? You will probably hear me say “Life isn’t fair..” plenty of times in the coming years. I just hope I always remember to add on the “But it’s still good” part.
Life isn’t fair when you get sick with a horrible cold two days before your wedding–but it’s still good when you get married to your best friend.
Life isn’t fair when you total your car on your way to a volunteer project — but it’s still good when you realize you were able to walk away.
Life isn’t fair when your dog and best friend since the third grade dies unexpectedly — but it’s still good when you have more than one shoulder to cry on.
Life isn’t fair when your friends get to do something that your parent’s make you stay home from — but it’s still good when your best friend stays back with you ..because that is what best friends do.
Life isn’t fair when you have to work three part time jobs to help cover the basic expenses while still making time for family — but it’s still good when your sweet little girl gets to wrap her arms around you whenever she wants and plants sweet wet kisses all over your cheeks.
Please understand that life isn’t fair (or always ideal) but if you look at things just right..you will see that it is still good and let me tell you something girl–you’ve got it really good.