Written by: Jackie Glodensburg
I unwillingly woke up at 5:20 AM this morning to the noise of the alarm clock buzzer. Wanting desperately to get just 10 more minutes of shut eye, I succumbed to the fact that responsibilities were waiting, and that I had no choice but to get up.
I rolled out of bed to make breakfast and pack lunches for the children, while also preparing myself for work. And all they kept saying was: “do I really have to eat this mom? Do I have to go to school? Why can’t I just take a day off?”
But after raising kids for 13 years, I already know what noise I should expect this morning. So those complaints fell on deaf ears.
Tired, groggy, and in no mood to be up before sunrise, we made our way to the school bus stop and said our goodbyes.
Afterwards, I headed on over to my job as an administrative assistant. After 6 years you would think my skills would be appreciated in the form of a raise, or just a simple praise. But no.
I sit at a desk for seven hours trying to keep this company together, while everyone around me doesn’t seem to give a damn.
I am relieved when the 5:00 PM hour strikes, as I happily walk out the door and get back in my car to go see my child’s soccer practice. It is one of the only highlights of my day that brings a smile, as I watch my not-so-little girls embracing their childhood while they still can.
An hour later we arrive back home, and sit down to enjoy some dinner. This is always the wildcard moment. What will tonight’s stories at the table bring?
Sometimes conversations center around the stories from our past: “Do you remember that time on the playground when we little kids, mom? When we pushed you on the swing so hard and you fell off…laughing hysterically?”
And then other times, it’s nothing but complaints: “Ugh – chicken cutlets again Mom? Why can’t we just go out for dinner? You really need to learn how to cook these better.”
Dinner ends, and the day soon winds to a close. Tonight we closed the evening with a family board game just before bed, as we often like to do during the week.
Eventually I wish them all a good night’s sleep, and thought to myself: “what now?”
It’s already past 10:00, and I’m tired. I decide to make my way to the cozy bed that is calling my name, and will now resume the peaceful sleep I have been craving since 5:20 this morning.
But it will be short lived. Because in just seven hours, the alarm clock will go off again. And yet again, I will begin another routine day that I have grown to hate, further solidifying an existence that seems meaningless.
As grown adults we may feel like we are living a mundane life. We do our routines, and we go to bed. Maybe once in a blue moon we’ll get a night out. Or maybe once every few years we’ll take that exotic family vacation together.
But otherwise, we’re just there.
We feel bored. We feel like everyone around us is having a blast and living it up, while we just idle silently and take up breathing space.
We see the celebrities on TV, or the neighbors who just installed that new pool, or the friends who post pictures on social media of their trip to Hawaii, and we think to ourselves: “why can’t I have a life like that?”
“Why can’t I live a life of meaning?”
Well…what if I said your life is NOT meaningless? What if I said you are already a celebrity in your own right, and that your life is just as important as everyone else around you?
See what most of us fail to realize is that we don’t need fame to live a life of greatness. Because the fancy car, the fat bank account, the million dollar home…they mean nothing.
You want to know what means something? The fact that you can wake up each morning and make breakfast for your children. Because thousands of couples have been struggling for years just trying to conceive. And millions more have lost their kids to a disease they never saw coming.
You know what else means something? That you can support your family in the first place. Because there are millions of people who can’t.
Sure, it may not be the job of your dreams. But it helps keep a roof over your head and food on the table.
That very home is where you have already created some of the most important memories in your life. And that very table is where you soon share your favorite family stories over dinner tonight. Memories that no one else will experience in the same way.
You know what else means something? That you have an opportunity to watch your children grow up. As you see them earn that goal on the soccer field, or listen to them play a solo in the marching band, you no doubt smile inside.
Because subconsciously you are archiving this moment in your memory banks, knowing it will become another milestone that you will be forever proud of. Perhaps you even give yourself a pat on the pack for helping your children practice all those years, and for keeping them on track when they faltered.
You know what else means something? The fact that you find the good moments, and embrace them. You are tired. Yet you still find the energy to share some laughs at the dinner table, or to provide some advice when your children need it.
You have had a very draining day. The kids did nothing but complain all day. And yet you are willing to stay up just a little longer to play those board games, putting the past behind you…and creating a positive memory for your children right before their dreams take over for the night.
And finally, you know what else really means something? The fact that you haven’t given up, and likely never will.
Because yes – parenting is not easy. There are days when you just want to throw in the towel. There are days you fight with your spouse because the two of you can’t agree on the proper way to raise your children. And there are days when you want to run away back to the playground. Where your only stresses in life were finding the right color crayons for the perfect drawing.
But you never give up. You keep getting up every morning to make their breakfast and to take them to school. You make time for them after work, you help them with homework, and prepare them a nice dinner.
All the while knowing that it’s probably under-appreciated, and that their next complaint is right around the corner.
You see, life may feel meaningless in the shadow of those around you. But it really isn’t. You don’t need fame to make new memories, and you don’t need 5,000 social media followers to feel important.
Because as a parent, your life is already full of meaning. As a leader of your family, you are creating new stories every day. You are a beacon of experience that your children aspire to, and you are an encyclopedia of wisdom they open when they need it the most.
So I ask you: what are the most meaningful moments in your life?