Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lost Momentum

Child's offering
A few weeks ago, I finished giving my three-year-old granddaughter a bath when I sat down on the bed to help her get dressed. As she faced me she crinkled her button nose and pointed at my midsection asking, "What is that?" Confused, I asked her to clarify what she was pointing at. The little bugger proceeded to make a rolling motion with her hands, pointed at my stomach, smiled REALLY big and wide then gleefully shrieked, "YOU HAVE A BABY IN YOUR TUMMY!" That was the first day of my daily runs AND it was exactly what I needed to kick my butt out of my funk. 

Earlier this year I made a vow to be more present with my family, remember each of their birthdays (cousins, nieces, nephews included) attend MOST of the family parties, and visit my sick aunt and uncles. I was doing pretty well, I thought, spending quality time with my parents, sister, kids, nieces, and nephews. 

First, let me define what family means to me. It isn't exclusive to parents, siblings, kids, grandkid. No, "family" encompasses my twelve cousins, their significant others, AND all of their offspring. Growing up, my cousins were akin to siblings and in adulthood we have become close friends. Of course, every family has their quirks and mine wasn't exempt.  Despite my busyness I made an effort to visit my Auntie Tessie (my godmother) after she came home from the hospital and then again when she was hospitalized weeks later. She had battled kidney disease for many years, having so many close calls, but never failed to come home. 

I was so consumed with my dad's health issues that on May 2nd when I received the text that Auntie Tessie was in the hospital again I truly believed it was another routine stay for her. We all poured into the hospital after our work day and she passed away later that night surrounded by family that packed into her ICU room like sardines. Shock and disbelief overrode our grief. Although she was sick we expected her to come home like she's done hundreds of times over the years. 

I silently wrestled with my own demons in the lost momentum of good intentions and unspoken words. Twice I visited her this year but not once did I truly say "I love you, thank you for all you've done for me." Was my presence enough? She was the youngest of my dad's five siblings and her death has left a deep fissure in our lives. Her deep faith in God leaves no doubt as to where she is residing but her absence feels like a phantom limb. 

Death spotlighted the fear of losing my own parents and illuminated my failure in living the platitude--"don't take your loved ones for granted." Watching my now orphaned cousins sail through the waters of grief preparing for their mom's funeral rendered me helpless. No amount of words, food, or company could wipe the sorrow from their faces, yet they moved onward while I remained stagnant, retreating from the world and its well-meaning comfort. My fever for writing vanished, my thrice-weekly exercise regimen was forgotten, the daily forays into blog reading was avoided, and texts/e-mails from friends were left unanswered. I found solace only in my family. It didn't help that I couldn't attend my aunt's funeral due to a wedding I was hired to photograph and therein lay another irretrievable moment to say goodbye. 

Do I continue to live each day as if it were my last? No, I fail every single time but I do make an attempt to live each day as if it were my parents' last. I threw away the remnants of unforgiveness toward my dad and bite my tongue when we are at odds with each other. I am not trying to wear the "good daughter's" shoes but doing what I know is right and not letting time or pride or anger or resentment fuel another lost momentum of good intentions. What little free time I have is spent with my family, whether it be my sister, children, grandchild, parents, brother, his wife, and his five children. And the countless family parties that I am obligated to attend is no longer a burden but a reminder that I am blessed with a bastion of familial love. 

After Rylee pointed out my ever-expanding midsection I have since resumed my running and changed my thrice-weekly regimen to daily running therapy. A bonus to this therapy is having Ray accompany me which provides us with OUR time together. My runs have realigned my focus and drive, igniting my writing fever and clearing my head of the static funk I've been mired in. My longing for material things has dissipated and adhering to a tight budget ceased to be a soulful lament. I can buy the latest gadgets but I cannot purchase quality time with my family. 

"A man can own the world but be poor for the lack of love. A man can own nothing and yet be wealthy in relationships." ~Max Lucado