I don’t remember everything I did on this day nine years ago, but these things I remember.
I remember dressing my daughters in their Halloween costumes. Alex was a bumble bee and Emma was a cat. I remember perfectly timing their tube feedings and medications so I could take them to the fall festival at their preschool. I remember lifting them out of their wheelchairs and propping them on the straw bales so they could have their photo taken like all the other children. I remember the way their therapists went out of their way to talk to them, give hugs, and pause for pictures. I remember my girls were happy. I remember I was happy, too.
In the last decade, my life has changed in more ways than I can count. Alex and Emma’s disease took them from us years ago and my husband and I are now parents to a spunky four year old girl. The logistics of our daily life look very different than they did back then, but some things remain. The things that matter haven’t changed. The things that matter are my people.
When life feels too hectic, I step back and ask myself, “Will this matter in 10 years?” Without fail, the moments I spend with the people I love are always the things that matter.
The routine tasks of life can become mundane and monotonous, but they still matter. Laundry matters because I rather like wearing clean socks and underwear. (I’m so high maintenance.) Grocery shopping matters because my family likes to eat food. (They’re so needy.) These things aren’t glamorous, but they matter. I do these things and I do them with purpose because they matter to my people, but I will not mistake every item on my wish list or to-do list as something that matters.
Shiny new cars are nice, but they don’t really matter. New shoes, expensive haircuts, and fancy new phones are great, but they don’t really matter. Throw pillows that compliment the living room rug? I like them, but they don’t really matter.
Planning that family camping trip? That matters. Juggling my work schedule to pick my kid up from school every day? That matters. Making time for a date night with my husband? That matters. Shuffling schedules to gather around the table with friends and family for dinner? That matters. Juggling medical and developmental needs so I could take my girls to the fall festival? That mattered.
Yes, my people will matter in 10 years. And 20 years and 40 years and 60 years. They matter today and they will matter later. I will never regret tending to the chores that provide a safe and healthy home for my family. I will never regret going out of my way to be there for loved ones. I will never regret slowing down to enjoy a moment with my people. Yes, that is what matters. These are the things I will remember and that makes me happy.
For more stories of living happily in the awkward middle of life, love, and parenting, follow Happy Like This by Mandy McCarty Harris.