“Don’t sweat the small stuff.” ” Life is too short”. ” Be grateful for what you have. ”
We have all uttered these phrases at one time or another. But have we really taken the time to consider them, to live by them?
It normally takes a drastic or traumatic event to make people stop and take stake of their lives, and what is important. I would like to think that since Maclain was born, I have really taken stock of what is truly of value in my life. But the reality is that while I am probably more aware than most people of how precious life can be and how easy it is to take things for granted, I still get caught up in those trivial worries that take up way too much space in my life and my head.
I still worry profusely about how clean my house is, how successful my kids birthday parties are, how perfect the family Christmas card looks. I think way to much about what people think about me, whether my hair looks ok, and if my shoe collection is vast enough. I suppose that given all the real worries in my life with Maclain and his future, it is ok to direct my mind elsewhere with less productive thoughts. But are they side tracking me from spending my life focused on the right things?
When something bad happens I am again reminded very strongly about what is important. Truly, vastly, important.
I have been following a blog, written by a mom of a child with special needs, since 2007. I found it one night after Maclain had come home from the NICU while searching the internet for people who were experiencing the same as I was. Her name is Kate Leong, and she started blogging after her son Gavin was born, and had to be admitted to the hospital again because he became quite ill. What drew me to her initially was that Gavin was a surviving twin, and he too was dealing with challenges similiar to Maclain. At that point in my life, I devoured many blogs and online journals, but few stayed with me because life got too busy to spend hours at night reading them. This one however always kept me reading. Maybe not every day, but at least once a month I would check in to see how Gavin was doing, how Kate and her family were holding up, and to be inspired by the real words that she wrote. Her blog is positive, because she is positive, but it isn’t all sunshine and flowers. Kate writes about the beauty of her children, the triumphs that Gavin has made over his disabilities, the pride that fills her heart and the hopes and dreams she has. The name of her blog being so fitting. “Chasing Rainbows”. But she has also had many tragic losses in her life including the stillbirth of her daughter, and heartbreaking fertility problems. She has expressed her sadness at things Gavin couldn’t do, and described her fears when she would think about his future. But through it all, she kept me, and over a million other visitors captivated and hopeful.
On Monday Gavin died. He was 5 and a half years old.
He became ill a few days ago, and after suffering repeated cardiac arrests, and seizures, he was pronounced brain dead. And on Monday, he became the ultimate hero, when his parents had his organs harvested for transplant.
I have not stopped crying since I read the news of Gavin’s critical illness, and subsequent passing. As she has done every day since she started her blog, Kate has been posting daily since Gavin got sick..
The day that Gavin was pronounced brain dead, it was Kate’s birthday, and her greatest gift was that she got to hold him for what would be the last time. And I have not stopped thinking about that. This mother, who struggled to get pregnant with Gavin, and then spent the last 5+ years being his cheerleader, playmate, champion, caregiver, and devoted parent, would never hold her son again. How is that right? How can that be when so many people take so many things for granted?
I am reminded again what is important.
I spent extra time on Sunday just snuggling with Maclain on the floor. I took some time to explain to him all about the game of golf, and Tiger Woods, and why Daddy couldn’t turn the channel because the Masters was on. . I tickled him a little more than usual. I actually put his head in my hands and stared at him. Soaked in the wonder of my incredible miracle.
This is what is important
I tucked Chase in twice that night, and then told him I loved him an extra time yesterday. I let him sleep with me on Saturday night when he asked for a special night. Grateful that he wants that closeness with me, and feeling blessed that I have my older son healthy and happy. I watched him sleep for a bit last night, and smiled at how similiar he and Maclain are when they are at rest.
This is what is important.
I had dinner with my family last night, and then went to spend time laughing and sharing stories with some friends. Then I came home, and went to sleep in a warm bed, with a roof over my head, and my husband snoring beside me, and my children having sweet dreams in their rooms below mine.
This is what is important
God Bless you Gavin, and your parents and your loving little brother. Now go and chase those rainbows.