There is a song out about "if I die young." I'm not a fan of the song- mostly because I don't think I've even listened to it all the way through.
But it planted a seed. I was standing on my deck on Sunday night and I was enjoying fireworks off in the distance. It was a professional display done as part of a symphony show at a nearby museum/park.
As I stood there, watching fireworks, I started to think about how excited I get about certain things and how those things don't seem to mean nearly as much to Jeff. Not because there is something wrong with him- we just get excited about different things.
So if something should happen to me, I thought it would be good to write down some of those little things that I want my kids to cherish as they grow up. It's not a complete list by any means.
Fireworks. I was once told that fireworks displays are blown up for holidays because we are supposed to remember the great battles in our country's history. The booms of the fireworks represent cannons and gun fire and the bright flashes represent the flash of the artillery. I don't know if there is anything historically accurate to that or not but it crosses my mind every time I watch fireworks. Personally, I just love the colors and the sparkles and the magic of bright bursts of color in the night sky. I want my kids to always have a sense of awe and beauty when they see fireworks.
Rainbows. I get really excited when I see a rainbow. Not like the whacked out dudes in circulating You Tube videos. But it's that sense of awe and wonder at something so naturally beautiful and special. When my kids see a rainbow, I want them to remember to take a moment, to pause and just enjoy beauty and nature.
Sushi. It's not limited to just sushi. For me, going out for sushi means time with friends, time to connect. Sushi isn't typically a meal that I rush through or eat alone. I want my children to have special meals or events that connect them to their friends and family. Maybe it's sushi, maybe it's fondue. I want them to be open to unique food celebrations and experiences.
Other cultures. Along that same line, I want my kids to grow up outside of the bubble. Of course I want them to be safe and protected. But I also want them to see the beauty in other cultures and lifestyles. I want them to see that people are people and that diversity opens up your world in amazing ways.
Volunteer work. While I may do a lot to donate to causes important to me, I don't do as much volunteer work as I used to and I sometimes regret that. However, I also know that I'm doing the work I'm intended to do at this time in my life. I want my kids to know that food pantries, humane societies, and foster care are all things that are important to me in terms of causes that I feel passionate about. I want them to find their own passions but I also want them to know what is close to my own heart.
Books. Read. Read to my kids. Read around my kids. I want my kids to read for pleasure. I want my kids to love to read. I want my kids to find escape and knowledge and creativity through books. Make sure they read Narnia and Harry Potter and Anne of Green Gables and Lord of the Flies and Frankenstein and The Handmaid's Tale and anything written by Judy Blume or Charlaine Harris or Jennifer Weiner or Jodi Piccoult.
Friends and family, I'm counting on you. Promise me that if something happens to me, promise me that these are just a few of the things that are part of me that you will help pass along to my kids. These are things that will help them to know who I was, who I am, if they grow up without me.