Mama’s standing behind her boss baby, steadying and straightening her on the balance beam. Another mama’s wearing baby one while trying to take a photo of curly-haired baby two who’s not having a second of sitting still. Girls smile in delight, jumping and falling in synchrony on the trampoline. Two push a third in a contraption that looks like a hamster wheel. Boys jump on ropes, flying to and fro. Tiny one tries a somersault, but can’t seem to make it over an eight-inch triangle of foam. And then there’s my baby on the bar. She hangs, then pushes herself high. Does a flip, then another before she dismounts. I know what she’s trying to do. She wants to be like the big girl gymnasts she’s seen on YouTube and Netflix, the girls who fly over bars without a hitch or a fall, the girls who are real, true gymnasts.
We’re all trying to GET this right. We’re all trying to DO this right. We all want to BE our best, SHOW our best, LIVE our very best life.
And that gets me thinking, that gets me remembering the cashier in the grocery store years ago. She talked of her kids, how she “enjoyed every moment.” She gushed as spoke of her love, her adoration for her littles, through ALL the years. And all I remember thinking in response to that gushing, loving, enjoying-every-moment mom was that I was doing my best. All I could DO was DO my best. I was doing my best.
And that gets me thinking, that gets me remembering all the ways I’ve TRIED to live and enjoy EVERY moment the past eight months since my husband’s diagnosis of stage four metastatic uveal melanoma. But the truth is, I can’t write a sappy letter that’ll go viral and tell you all the ways you need to love and live and gush on your life every single moment of every single day. Because in the past eight months, I’ve learned that’s not humanly possible. A lovely, lively, gushy post about LIVING in the moment and LOVING every moment of your life wouldn’t be authentic coming from me. Perhaps I’m overly in touch with reality, but I refuse to perpetuate the lie. Living and loving EVERY SINGLE MOMENT of life to the FULLEST is not possible, people. What is possible is to TRY our best, to BE available, to LISTEN, to ENJOY moments and be present when we’re mentally, emotionally and spiritually able, and to DO our best, but realize we’re human, too.
I am doing my best. I am TRYING to enjoy every moment as much as humanly possible. I’m trying to look at my husband a little longer. I’m trying to listen a little harder. I am trying to hold his hand when I might not’ve otherwise. I am trying to stay positive, and I’m trying to be intentional about having meaningful AND fun conversations on our way to and from treatment. I’m trying to make our household a place he wants to come home to, and I’ve done a pretty darn good job of making our bedroom a haven for when he’s in bed longer than any of us would like. I’ve tried to savor the tiniest of moments – the sound of his voice, the way he hugs our littlest when she’s loving him so hard, the way he tells our 13 year old he’s proud of her, how he loves the way she she loves to get her nails done, the way he checks in on our son when he’s playing video games and is too busy to provide a meaningful response. I take note of how it feels to be a family of five, to have this opportunity to be whole, to live as ONE family unit for this moment in time.
I am doing my best. I am trying my best to be the best mom I can be. I am trying to be sensitive. I am trying to give the kids space. I am trying to meet their physical needs, their emotional needs, their mental, social and spiritual needs. I’m trying to pray before as many meals as possible, but I don’t want them all to be canned prayers, so I’m trying to make sure we throw in hand and heart-spun prayers, too. I am trying to love our kids in new and fresh ways because I don’t know what the future holds, and I want the very best life for each one of them. I’m encouraging daddy-daughter and father-son dates because I want our kids to have special moments with dad. But I want them to live normal lives and have normal childhood memories, too, so I’m transporting them to cheer, gymnastics and movies with friends. I’m arranging play dates and signing up for open gymnastics. I’m allowing sleepovers with friends more than I should, and I’m letting our teenager walk or ride bike to the grocery store to get more popcorn chicken than is necessary for any human being. I’m not enjoying every single moment, but I am trying my best. I am DOING my very best. I am living life to the very best of my ability.
I don’t know if I’ve made all the right decisions or taken all the right turns these past eight months. But I will always be able to say I did my best.
That is all ANY of us can say for certain.
I did my best.
You don’t have to love every minute of your life. You don’t have to savor and gush over every single moment. In fact, I promise you it’s impossible. We are humans. Fallen, imperfect human beings. We cannot possibly enjoy, live and love every single moment of every single day.
You only have to do your best, give your best, live your best, my love. You only have to sit in grace, dwell in whatever moment you’re given – good or bad, good AND bad – and give thanks. God doesn’t promise us a trouble-free life. He promises grace for today. That is enough, my friend. It has to be.