And in an instant the next blog post has changed. A broken bowl spins on the floor, the high-pitched din it makes slowly fading, until it is gone. An angry child sees the consequences of carelessness that comes from anger. From not concentrating on the task at hand. This reminds me of all the other things in life, that change in an instant.
Last year, we were preparing for a championship sports weekend with one of our kids. Proud parents. All, or most, seemed right in our world. Yet in an instant, we are in a hospital emergency room. There will be no championships for us. The rest of the spring, summer, year, will be a trial in strength. It will change our priorities. It will remind us of what matters.
In August, just after returning to their winter home, my father has a stroke. He has been the healthier one. In an instant, he is not. My mother is scheduled for neck surgery, so I leave my husband and kids to care for my parents for five weeks. That’s what we do. We honor thy mother and father.
Years ago, May of 1998 to be exact, I was a mother with a two-year old son, but in an instant, I was a mother with Crohn’s Disease, and a two-year old son. That instant, that diagnosis, of course was just that. It is just a moment I remember well. Too well. And that day in August 2002, the instant that I got my life back. When that foul, damaged, organ was removed from my body. When I started learning how amazing life really is.
The night my husband asked me what I thought about moving to China, was the instant I realized that I was braver than I ever gave myself credit for. The instant I realized that I was meant to be a world traveler. I wanted the adventure. I wanted to live in the moment. It was the moment I realized that too many people die without doing the things they would have really liked to, hampered by fear of the unknown.
The instant that I discovered that living and traveling abroad, has changed me at my very core. That I will never be the same person I was when we left, but more. That I will constantly dream of other places in the world. Where we can go, when we can go, or go back. And the realization that the possibility of that, can disappear in an instant. Nothing is guaranteed.
My oldest turned 18 a little over a year ago, and I suddenly realize that he is “officially” an adult. We all know that this is relative. There is plenty more learning and maturing that will happen. But in an instant, I no longer have control of many aspects of his life. His medical records and decisions. His school records and grades. I can’t call in for him when he is sick. I have to hope that we have raised him well enough to do the right thing, or that he will ask us for advice.
Those moments, because they happen now and then, when you hear of a tragedy. When you remember that your mother, father, siblings, husband, children, and friends, are not going to be here forever. That they, or you, could be gone tomorrow. When the phone rings at an unusual hour, and your heart jumps into your throat. That your family could be broken, in an instant.
These “instants” happen throughout our life. Some are wonderful. Marriage, baby, adoption. Travel, new job, new house. Some are pretty good. Raise, good grade, great game. Some are disheartening. Sickness, job loss, broken pipe. Some are devastating. All of these instances put together, make us who we are. They remind us of the important things, and help us put events into perspective. They are a reality check. Because you just never know what could happen…..in an instant.