Last night, when I made my nightly rounds to each child's bedroom before going to sleep, I found myself lingering longer than usual. Instead of quickly fixing Chiara's covers or snapping off the light on Olivia's fish tank or picking up the clothes that Noah had dropped on his floor, I just watched and listened and soaked up the innocence and beauty and wonder of the little lives entrusted to my care. And I imagined what Ross' parents were going through at that same moment, maybe looking at their own little boy in a hospital bed and wishing that their biggest worry was a messy bedroom or an overdue library book. It's amazing how a thought like that can put things into perspective and make you realize how fleeting life can be and how quickly it can change.
Sometimes, when I'm caught up in the day-to-day circus-like atmosphere of life at home with three busy and active children, it's easy to miss those brief shining moments that sparkle like diamonds amid the dullness of the daily drudgery: the hug from Noah for no particular reason while I'm in the middle of making dinner, the "I love you" whispered into my ear when Chiara climbs into bed in the morning to snuggle before the day begins, the smile on Olivia's face when I say I'm going to polish her nails or braid her hair or give her even just a few minutes of undivided girly-girl time. Back when Noah was younger, I would write down those special moments, as well as the funny things he would say and do, so that I could always go back and relive the moment, but now it seems I'm always too busy just trying to get through the day to sit down and ruminate on all the things that need recording. Even now, as I write this, Chiara is begging me to play with her, and I keep putting her off. Would I do that if I could see into the future?
At dinner last night, after grace, we told the kids about Ross and prayed together. Noah said, "I hope I never get cancer." The immediate parent reaction is to want to reassure, to say, "We'll never let that happen to you." But it happens to people when they least expect it, doesn't it, and we can't make it stop and we can't ward it off and we can't make promises that we don't know if we can keep. And so I told Noah, "We never know what life is going to hand us," and even as I said it I quietly prayed that we would never be asked to bear the cross that Ross' family is carrying right now.
Record the moments, even if only in the scrapbook of your heart, and tonight linger at a bedside and be thankful for what you have not been asked to bear.