Making the most of every moment

Life As I Know It
By Nicole Daughhetee

Most of the readers who have followed my column during my writing tenure at the Courier know that I have an extremely unique family unit.

I am the only child of a single mother. The dynamic of our living situation forced the bond that we share as mother and daughter. As I have entered into adulthood, the close-knit nature of our relationship is one born out of choice. Our living arrangement was born out of financial necessity.

There are certainly moments when it is difficult living with a 69-year-old woman who is, at this point, rather stuck in her ways; likewise, I’m sure there are times when my mother would love to have five minutes of peace and quiet, which is rare living in a household with an outspoken daughter and two granddaughters who inherited my spunk and creativity times 10.

Truth be told, I am blessed to have the mother God gave me; I have girlfriends whose mothers are virtually absent in their lives, and I know it makes them sad. I don’t envy them this, and even though there are times when my mom gets on my last good nerve, I wouldn’t trade her or the relationship we have for anything.

When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, I was hit with the reality that someday my mother will not be around. Considering her health, I often fear that time might be sooner than the later I would prefer. The knowledge that our days on earth are limited enables me to make a very conscious choice about how I spend them: Despite all the chaos of everyday life, I can squeeze the most quality time into and out of every day with the people I love; or I can take for granted that I am guaranteed a tomorrow, so I can “get to it” later.

I choose the former — to make the most out of each and every day knowing that while it isn’t likely, there exists the possibility that someone I love might not be here tomorrow, and the opportunities to tell them I love them or to thank them for everything they do and who they are would be forever lost — in this earthly realm at least.

Dear readers, I will be the first person to admit that perfect I am not. Believe me, I am not sitting up in some ivory tower preaching down at anyone. That isn’t my style. I do, however, feel the call or conviction to share with others the wisdom I glean — far too often the hard way — if it might save someone else the agony of making mistakes similar to my own.

As soon as you are finished reading this column, put your paper down and make the effort to tell your parent, child or spouse how much you love them and how much they mean to you. Make a phone call or send an e-mail (or, dare I say, a hand-written letter) to a friend or sibling letting them know you’re thinking of them and that they matter.

Sure there are moments when life gets hectic and all of the demands of our busy lives will get the better of us, but as my best friend and love always says: “The longer you don’t quit, the better you get.” Practice makes perfect. I can’t imagine anything more worthy of practice than telling our loved ones how much their presence in our lives is valued.