As I buckled and kissed my girls yesterday before heading off to the playground, Iris, my 21-month old cried out, “JACK!” because big brother’s carseat sat empty in the middle. Jack was sleepy and would be staying home to rest with Daddy instead of joining us.
Iris didn’t know why he wasn’t there, but she yelled his name several times to show her concern about his absence. And it made me take pause. It made me think of all the families who lose a child and have glaring reminders like that empty carseat, or a baby who calls their name, to compound the lasting hollowness of that loss.
How deep that grief must be, seeing your child’s sweet teddy bear or blankie and wishing them back. Seeing their favorite storybook and wishing for that wiggly, warm little body cuddled in your lap just one more time.
But that won’t happen in our family, just like it won’t happen in yours… right? Despite the deadly diseases, distracted drivers, sky-high human trafficking stats in Dallas, and any number of other dangers lurking, we stay happily oblivious to the idea that our beautiful family could be affected in this way. And in a way that’s a good thing. And in a way, it’s a bad thing.
We can never know what tomorrow brings, or even what today might bring, and although we shouldn’t dwell on that, we should be realistically aware of how precious every single moment is.
A few months back, Iris (rambunctious as she is), dropped a Barbie doll from our balcony and knocked a piece of decor off the shelf below. It was an oversized hourglass I had put on display to remind myself of how quickly time goes by and to cherish every age.
As it lay there shattered on the floor, I saw a metaphor. Sometimes the hourglass of life is suddenly shattered, and you are completely out of time when you thought you had more.
We like the predictability of the sand flowing through the hourglass on its happy journey, but we seldom stop to think about how our lives and the ones of those we love would be affected in the event of our death or another we hold dear who is gone too soon.
In that moment, suddenly it all made sense. I couldn’t bring myself to throw away this metaphor, which had transformed in meaning in the most unexpectedly significant manner. So I leave it there as a reminder of the time we think we have, however quickly it passes, but is sometimes abruptly gone.
The future is unforeseeable.
This is why we take pictures. This is why we record moments. This is why. Because we understand how important these memories are, and how much we will want to relive them when the memories themselves are all we have left.
If you are not in pictures with your children, with your loved ones, get in those pictures. Even if it’s just a selfie with your phone. Even if you don’t feel pretty or attractive. They will not care how your body looked, or whether your hair was fixed. They will see you, and they will see love.
Maybe you’re going to lose weight and then get a professional family portrait done; that would be awesome. I would love to help you with that. But today. Today jump in photos. You can always delete them later when you have those better ones, but you can never get a second chance at them if the hourglass breaks.