Life Lesson: DO NOT WAIT

Updated: Feb 3

As I have started reflecting and sharing the wild ride of ALS, I thought I would share a life lesson that I walked away with that changed my outlook on everything. DO NOT WAIT. Do not wait for that vacation. Do not wait for next summer. Do not wait for a sunnier day. Do not wait until retirement.

Because what if those do not happen? What if the sun does not shine tomorrow? What if you do not get to see me next summer?

A daily struggle of adulthood and parenthood, especially when you feel like a kid at heart and will never accept the fact that you are now in your thirties because I was seriously in college like yesterday. Sometimes I still cannot believe that I am six years into parenthood because it blows my mind when I look around the room and realize that I am an adult. I still wait for someone to come and tell me what is for dinner nightly, and then I remember that I am the one in charge of that.

It is so easy to get stuck in the day-to-day. You wake up and go through the motions and hope to survive until bedtime, and at the end of the day, hope you did not mess your children up too much that day to do everything over again tomorrow. Same story, different day as Ton would say.

My parents worked their butts off to give my brother and me a fantastic childhood and life growing up. They worked split shifts, barely saw each other, barely slept, but they knew that the time would come that they would get to relax together. “When we retire,” they would often say to each other as they would daydream about trips, home renovations, a life without alarm clocks, and schedules.

When we retire…

But wait…what if you do not get that? What if the rug is swept underneath you, and everything is turned upside down before you get to retire? What happens then?

About a year after my dad was diagnosed, we had a caregiver set up, a schedule all planned out, and Ton was doing well. Type A me loved that there was a plan; we understood where we were at in his stage of progression; it was “doable.” Anthony would visit on Tuesdays; Thor and I would stay on Wednesdays, and we enjoyed knowing we had a day out of the week that was set to see each other.

Bryan was offered a trip to Texas for work for a week, and I could join. As a parent, your first thought is your children, and my immediate response was there was no way I would be able to leave Thor for a week. I sat back for a second and thought about my parents and everything they planned on doing once their children were raised or everything we did when I was young that I do not remember. DO NOT WAIT. I told myself that Thor would not remember both of us being away for the week, but as a couple, we would. Our marriage might not forget that we did not take the time as Bryan and Sabrina and only stayed Dad and Mom.

Anyone who knows my in-laws knows that Thor loves being there, he is beyond spoiled, and a week there is like the most fantastic vacation. Anthony and I talked and agreed I should go on the trip, that Ton would be okay, that he had the help he needed, that he would be okay and that it was one visit. He agreed that if for any reason that he felt that I needed to be home, he would tell me, and I would be on the next flight back home. Anthony and I had to start an open line of communication that we would rather regret being somewhere than not being there and too much information was better than none.

We were Bryan and Sabrina. That trip was back in September of 2017, and I still remember how good it was to be away that week for the soul—sleeping in a week without knowing what time it was or what day it was. Bryan and I were able to have dinners together without worrying about a kid’s menu, what time or how long a meal was taking, staying for an extra drink to catch up and laugh. I needed that a lot more than I realized before I boarded that flight.

It is so easy to push things off, to wait until time feels right, to wait until some magical moment for all your dreams to come true. But what if the greatest secret to happiness is that we were the ones in control? We stopped waiting for the right time; we made the magic, we allowed our dreams to become a reality…what if that is what life is really, what is it about?

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