She is standing in front of our flower garden, determined to have our unwilling pet a part of the picture. I stand behind the camera, instructing her to pose and smile. And her daddy is behind the lens, making sure that these photos become the treasured memories we want them to be. It is a moment in time, a snapshot in my mind, a beautiful memory.
That day was full of seemingly ordinary moments and emotions. Only in hindsight can I appreciate the true gift it was. A day where I dressed up my beautiful girl, where we captured her in photos forever, where she had fun with her dad at the carwash and ate ice-cream. We swam in the late summer afternoon, enjoying the last sunlight of the day. We didn’t know that the clock was ticking, slowly moving us towards a life altering tragedy. It was our last day of ignorant innocence.
We ate dinner, content with each other’s company. She refused to eat the food I made, sharing giggles with her dad at my attempt. I am admittedly sometimes too adventurous a cook. I put her to bed, sighing at the prospect of some me-time.
The day was filled with all the usual joys, frustrations and emotions of motherhood. I got angry with her, I struggled with my own feelings of depression, I was tired, I was happy, I was laughing and I went to bed. Blink…It was an extraordinary ordinary day.
What would I have done differently have I known that this day was our last day of our life as Before? Nothing. I wouldn’t change a thing in the circumstances, the emotions and the normalcy of it.
I would however have liked to live more in the real moments of that day. To be presently aware. To stop planning for tomorrow and the year ahead and just embrace the fragility of that day.
This is the lesson I take with me. Tomorrow holds no guarantees. Ordinary days are extraordinary gifts. Our yesterdays are gone. What you have now, at this moment, can change in an instant. Life is fragile, love is eternal, and only the present is real.