The Better Me Project—Day 1
Sometimes we become so comfortable and complacent in our everyday lives that we start to take things for granted. We assume that everything will always be the same as it is now, the good and sometimes the bad, and we become immune to what we have.
One night, I was lying in bed—in that hazy place between almost asleep and still sort of awake—and the childhood prayer that I used to recite came to mind. “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep”. I bolted awake, gripped with the most horrifying fear. What would happen if I actually should die before I wake? (Who came up with this prayer for kids, by the way???) I didn’t kiss hubby goodnight! Would it haunt him forever if I never woke up? Or what if it was the other way around and he died and I didn’t kiss him? I knew that would haunt me. How could I live with myself knowing that I had just assumed I would be able to kiss him in the morning, hug him in the morning? How would I feel if I denied myself (or him) that one last kiss?
Chances were, it wouldn’t be that night or even a night soon, but one day, one of us would be living without the other. (Unless of course we go out The Notebook style—movie, not the book). This thought made me sit up and start bawling right then and there in bed. Why was I NOT doing something so simple, such a small gesture of affection that one day I would actually not be able to do? When did we stop doing this? Why was I taking one of the most important people in my life for granted?
It’s my fault. After all, I go to bed first. I have to. If I don’t, the bedroom sounds like an helicopter landing pad once he comes in with all his snoring and moaning and groaning that he does (I really don’t know how the guys at the firehouse haven’t smothered him on his work nights yet). At some point in time in the past I must have crawled into bed and fell asleep without kissing him goodnight. I was probably too lazy to get up and find him, just like I’m too lazy to get up and take my make-up off some nights. One day turned into a week, which turned into a month, which now turned into years of not kissing my hubby goodnight. But unlike my make-up that’ll definitely be there in the morning (on my face and all over my pillow), he might not be.
That very night, after I got up and kissed hubby goodnight, of course, I made a vow to always kiss him goodnight. And I would try to remember to say I love you, to both him and the kids. And I would hug them when they left me…or at least try to (the kids are a little like cactus about hugging and general affection toward their parental figures in public).
This was the very first step in my “Better Me” project. Because I don’t want any regrets in my life. We may not know our future and we may be completely powerless to stop bad things from upending our present, but as long as we people know that we love them and care about them, we’ve done something right. Don’t take anything or anyone for granted. Little gestures to express affection are even more meaningful than grand gestures. My mother used to put little notes in my lunchbox on the first day of school every year. I looked for that, it gave me a little smile. One year, it just stopped. Sure, I knew she still loved me, but I missed the stupid little note. Why did the stupid little note have to stop? (I probably turned into an unbearable teenager at the time, but still…) We don’t stop loving people—why do we stop showing them that we do? Why did I stop telling my kids “I love you” when they leave for school or when I drop them off somewhere? Why do we get so comfortable with our lives that we become apathetic to the truly wonderful things we have? I’m fortunate to have a spouse that I love and kids that are pretty awesome (despite giving me an ulcer). Why don’t I realize that everyday???
Day 1—-Show people you love them and don’t forget.