Friday, September 19, 2014

What a Week It's Been...

Well, it's been a week.  A week of unexpected and unwelcome sadness.  A week of busyness, at work, at home, and everywhere in between.  It's been a week of a cranky 10 month old, who has turned into a toddler seemingly overnight.  Dorothy, we're not in Kansas anymore.

Earlier this week, I blogged about the evil beast that is Cancer.  I chose to do so after reading an article about pediatric cancer patients, also keeping in mind that September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month.  At the time I had no idea that just mere hours later, the world would lose another beautiful, strong, wonderful woman to Cancer, my friend Kelly.  I have known Kelly and her family for many years now- I worked with Kelly's husband Dave at my previous job, and Kelly ended up working at the same hospital system where I work years later.  As happens all too often in life, our lives got busy.  Kelly and Dave were busy with their 2 daughters and 2 dogs.  We were busy with our new bundle of joy as well as work and traveling to and from Pittsburgh as often as we could.  Weeks, months, years passed by us in the blink of an eye.  Dave and I would message on Facebook or text periodically, but not nearly as often as we should have.  And then it happened.  Kelly got sick.  Again.  She had defeated the evil beast that is Cancer a decade prior.  But it was back... and this time with a vengeance.  The doctors tried to remove the cancer, but to no avail.  She started chemo, but it was so hard on her already weak body, and the cancer was just too aggressive.  I woke up Tuesday morning to find out that heaven had gained another angel, as her daughter put it.  I was devastated.  She was too damn young, and she had too much life to live.  Her family laid her to rest yesterday.  It was a beautiful fall day, sunny, cool, blue sky as far as the eye could see.  It was a fittingly beautiful day for laying a beautiful soul to rest.  I went to the viewing to pay my respects, and I felt as though I was in the twilight zone.  How was this even possible?  Her diagnosis had come just 2 short months ago.  It was too fast, too soon, and my heart broke for her family, her husband and her 2 daughters.

They say to live your life to the fullest.  To love like it's your last day on Earth.  Sentiments that are so true but that get lost in the minutiae our daily lives.  I found myself guilty of this, even in the midst of mourning my friend who was taken too soon.  I found myself stressing over work and meetings and deadlines and government regulations.  I found myself frustrated (yet amused) at my sweet 10 month old daughter who has now began demonstrating her independence, her willfulness, her defiance.  I found myself worrying over the stove top being a mess, or the fact that the bathrooms haven't been cleaned in a month.  I found myself hurt over an anonymous letter that we received in the mail, reprimanding us (me) for leaving small garden sized American flags on the driveway outside our garage.  And yet, at the very same time, my friend was mourning the loss of his wife, her daughters experiencing their first days without their mother.  How could I let myself think this way?  Why couldn't I train my brain to stop sweating the small stuff?

I read a blog article earlier this week, pleading with mothers to stop trying to be perfect.  Immediately I identified with the article.  I do strive to be perfect, in everything I do.  In being a mother, a wife, an employee, a daughter, and a human being.  I want my family to have only the best of me.  I want to be the best employee I can be, because I love my job and I am grateful for the opportunities I've been given.  The blog made so much sense, that it's impossible to be perfect all the time.  And yet, I still find myself stressing about house cleaning.  About cleaning out closets and finding the time to put out the fall clothes now that it's gotten chilly.  Did I completely miss the point of that article?  It's not that I missed the point, it's just that striving for perfection is who I am.  My takeaway from reading it was not to stop trying to be perfect, but to be kinder to myself on the days when perfection just isn't a reality.  And let's face it, with two parents working full time, a 15 year old, a 10 month old, and one wacky rescue doggie, the times for perfection are slim to none.  Hence the dirty stove top and messy bathrooms.  

So this weekend, as I always do, I am going to strive for perfection.  I am going to try my hardest to get those freaking bathrooms clean, to try to find a few minutes to scrub the stove.  But you know what else I'm going to do?  I'm going to go for walks with my family.  I'm going to go apple picking on Sunday, and I'm going to treat myself to ice cream sometime.  Because while I will always strive for perfection, some days I'm going to have to look for my perfection not in the cleanliness of my house, but in the smiles of my daughter, in the time spent with family.  If that isn't perfection, I don't know what is.

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Link to aforementioned blog post: Dear Mom Who's Trying to Do It All

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