“Lying in the park on a beautiful day
Sunshine in the grass and the children play
Sirens passing, fire engine red
Someone’s house is burning down on a day like this.”
Dave Matthews Band. “Funny the Way It Is.” Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King. RCA. 2009. Audio CD.
I heard this song by the Dave Matthews Band when it was released around 2009. The contrast of life and death present throughout the song makes me think outside my own little world and regain a bigger perspective. I usually think about this song on September 11 every year and post it to Facebook because it seems to fit.
This time, the song has been on my mind since December 26, 2015, when I heard the news that a former classmate of John’s from middle school died suddenly. He was 16 years old.
This afternoon a precious mom buried her only child, and this evening I’ll be going to watch my 16-year old son in a wrestling match. “Funny the way it is.”
Source: SoDamnLucky27. “Dave Matthews Band, Funny the Way it Is.” YouTube. YouTube. 17 July, 2009. Web. 5 Jan. 2016.
I can’t believe today is March 11 (which reminds me I need to donate to the late Joey the Garden Cat’s “catpaign” – see the link to his Facebook page if you are interested) which means spring is almost here, the semester is about half over (yikes!), we’ve met our $4000 deductible, and I’ll be fifty in ten months and two days (gifts are encouraged).
The older I get, I find time seems to fly by faster than it used to. When my kids were toddlers, I remember thinking they would never be old enough for Kindergarten. Now my oldest is 21, and my youngest is 15 and a freshman (not for much longer) in high school.
How can I slow down the next three and a half years before he graduates?
When John was three, I heard a lady mention the quote, “The days are long and the years are short.” One of my favorite authors, Gretchen Rubin, also uses that quote often in her books and in social media. The quote is a great reminder that time is flying (I just heard a whoosh), and I need to catch my breath, slow down, and enjoy life.
One thing that helps me relax is watching my cat drink water from his bowl. He positions himself carefully behind the bowl, dips a paw in to check the freshness of the water, “combs” his fur, and then hunkers down for a drink. He stands so still, and only his tongue moves in and out of his mouth as he drinks. I wish I had video to post. It’s the cutest thing! I usually stop what I’m doing and just watch. Charlie is such a dainty drinker.
My mom told me a long time ago (I think I was 11) that I needed to stop and smell the flowers. Watching my cat drink water (don’t even get me started on how cute he is when he’s sleeping) is my equivalent of stopping to smell the roses.
Life is too short for stupid stuff. This thought popped into my head this morning when I found out about the deaths of three former neighbors – a mom, dad, and one of their twin sons. They were the first neighbors we met in Belton eight years ago. John played with the boys when they were younger and was on a swim team with the surviving son. Paul worked with the dad at Scott & White Health Care, and I chatted with the mom occasionally. Although we weren’t particularly close and lost touch after they moved to the Dallas area, I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach.
I have so many thoughts running through my head today. Life is too short. Life is especially too short for stupid stuff. I think of all the stupid little things that upset me, and I realize that I waste too much time worrying about small things: shopping carts left in the parking lot at the grocery store, Christmas music before Thanksgiving, swim parents who don’t work at meets, slow drivers, fast drivers, long lines, what people think about me, what I think about other people, general discontentment with our current location, and I could go on. But I won’t.
My family has faced death two times this year. My 23-year old cousin died in February from cystic fibrosis, and another cousin died unexpectedly from a heart attack on November 1. He was only 47 – my age. We grew up together. My heart breaks for these families who are navigating through life and this holiday season without their loved ones.
I’ve been doing some soul searching today. What can I do to be a better wife and mom? What am I doing to make the world a better place? What can I do differently to focus on the big picture instead of the stupid stuff?
Because life is too short.
Yesterday morning, we were almost ready to head out the door for church, and I noticed John’s attire – sweatpants, a swim team shirt, a jacket, and sneakers. He usually wears jeans or shorts, so the sweatpants threw me off a bit. I opened my mouth to tell him to change pants, and this thought immediately popped into my head – “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Because in the grand scheme of life and death, wearing sweatpants to church isn’t even a blip on the radar.