by Tiffany Rudd & Ashley Sullenger
I recently sat trying to write a Parenting Tip post about enjoying motherhood. Being a mom is not easy. Children come with a lot of hard work, tantrums, sibling fights, constant demands and not always a lot of appreciation. But, I believe one of the most important things we can do as parents is to pause throughout the day and enjoy our children. Every time I stop running long enough to spend time with each of my children or even just really look at them, gratitude for my blessings washes over me. I'm reminded of how lucky I am to be a mom, to be their mom.
As I sat pondering this tip, the Sullenger family kept coming to mind. I started reading Ashley's blog in 2010 when their beautiful daughter was in an accident. Ashley has been such an example of strength and faith through trial. I am trying to be more like her and I will often read past posts from her blog on those days when I need reminded to enjoy the moments I have with my children. I am so incredibly grateful Ashley was willing to share a guest post with us today. I'm sure you'll learn from her as much as I have.
Memories. We all have them, and are constantly making new ones. We tend to focus on the positive ones, and push the negative ones aside. Whether our memories are good or bad, what if suddenly we weren't able to make new ones? What if all we had left were the memories we once took for granted?
July 2010, Preslee, my 18 month daughter, fell into a canal while my husband and I were on a date. She was air lifted to Primary Children's Medical Center in SLC, UT where she fought for her life. I would have never dreamed the last memory I would have with my child would be holding her in my arms while she took her last breath.
Primary Children's Medical Center July 2010
Suddenly I found myself childless, grasping on to the only thing I had left, which were memories.
Now, 19 months later, many of those memories are beginning to fade.
I am so incredibly grateful for everything I did to document Preslee's life. Last year we were blessed with another child, a little boy, we named Ledger. Even if I never lose my son, I realize there will come a day that I will miss my daily routine of being a mom. I now try to preserve any memory I can with Ledger and my husband. Here are a few things that I've come to understand.
Family pictures with Ledger 2011
I love writing, I probably write more than the average person, but I now record a lot more. My blog is incredibly important to me and I love that I can look back and read about Preslee's precious life. I also have a private blog, where I record the more personal things dealing with our family and all of Ledger's milestones. (I'm pretty sure not everyone cares about them as much as his proud mama does) I combine both blogs to create a book using Blurb, which I absolutely love.
One thing I've learned is to work on it more than once a year, if not, it can become extremely overwhelming to put together. Whether it's writing on a blog or in a journal, I understand the importance of documenting our experiences.
I've learned to save all the pictures I take, even the ones that don't seem "blog worthy." My favorite pictures I have of my daughter are the candid ones that depict who she really was. Always save the original, even after you edit it.
This site gives some great tips on organizing and backing up your photos.
When talking to a friend who lost her husband, she suggested to switch off who stands behind the video camera. She explained the same person usually tends to videotape, so they rarely appear in the videos. When I went back and watched ours, I realized that I'm in very few. I now hand the camera over to my husband more often.
This may sound strange, but for me, gratitude and memories are strongly tied together. My strongest memories throughout the years, are when I was the most content and happy with where I was in life.
It's easy to constantly focus on the future, especially when raising children. But, after losing Preslee, I've come to understand every single day is a gift, and I have no idea how many days I have left with the people I love. I now focus on the present, hoping to always make the most of it.
I now encourage you to do the same. Get out your camera more often, make time to write, and be grateful for what you have been given. Cherish the moments you get to spend with family and friends, and appreciate the experiences you share with them.
Because I now understand, very few things last forever.