The Gift of an Ordinary Day

Posted on Posted in DrDownload

It is my friend, the wise native American, Ellen Noland who reminds me that the most important thing is to pay attention. Why? “Because there are no ordinary moments.” I know it’s sounds crazy, but…

In the world of kids’ health and wellness, I am constantly amazed by how full our children’s lives are.  I should try harder to appreciate the things that they manage and to give them more credit:  organizing school work with a planner in second grade, making the varsity team freshman year, juggling so many interests and activities. Their lives can be very stressful.

I am stressing and fussing at my own children for failing to plan ahead, and for expecting parents to swoop in and fix the I’ve-gotta-be-there-at-the-same-time-she has-to-be-here dilemma when the phone rings. And the news is unbelievable.  The Anthem Marathon in Virginia Beach is over, and just beyond the finish line the teen collapsed.  A sixteen year old runner, my beautiful swimmer-runner-athlete patient.  DOA.  Dead on arrival.  This cannot be.

And yet it is.  I look around at my own children, and I know that they are wondering how this news has so quickly and completely consumed their physician mother.  And when I will stop reaching for them.  It is not likely to be any time soon.

She is the seventh name in my journal of Angels I Have Known.  In my faith tradition, seven is a number that symbolizes all there is… fullness and plenty… completion.  Please let it be that seven names over these twenty-four years will be all that I am asked to write in the Angel Book.  I offer this short prayer, and I walk around in a state of grief because I am a mother, and we are all the same in this.  There is no sense to be made from this loss, only the need to grieve and with time, to celebrate this child’s beautiful life.  She lived full of energy and enthusiasm… and at times, despair and sadness.  We are all the same in this, too.

I need to hang on to something that will be the knot at the end of this rope of a day, and I go back to the words of Katrina Kenison, whose book is The Gift of an Ordinary Day.  She reminds me what I know, what every mother must know and remember and rediscover in the daily tasks we do: We have only today with our children.  Her words remind me, and I do remember.  I can never go back to relive a single day as a mother.  I must do it the best that I am able the first time.

“It’s easy to take it all for granted…

“All the flowers bloom in their own time…

“This time of parents and children, all living together under one roof isn’t the whole story after all.  It’s just one chapter.”


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