Home > Family, Love, Parenting, Reflections > the lost year

the lost year

Sorting through old paperwork last month, I found a letter I’d received after being rear-ended. My eyes drifted toward the date. Was it January that I was rear-ended, or maybe February?

I was stunned to find that the accident had happened in September. That would have been when my oldest son was newly back to school, which I should have remembered.

Why didn’t I remember? Because I barely even noticed his school year.

I was learning about the world–about politics and history, and how colonialism didn’t disappear so much as change form; unwittingly, I’d participated. 

I was horrified, outraged, heartbroken, and more to discover virtually everything I’d ever believed was wrong. I lost myself in trying to understand all the mistakes I’d made, and how lives have been lost due to the misunderstanding of even the best-intentioned people.

I lost sight of my sons, my husband, my friends, and all manner of things that have traditionally brought me joy. I simply stopped seeing them.

That’s what that bill’s date revealed to me: how much I’d lost in a year of favoring my learning over my love.

A week or two ago, my older son curled up with me on the couch. We talked about school and all was as ordinary as if I hadn’t lost a year of such moments. I took a moment to thank God that such wrongdoings can be rectified, and commit to ensuring I never again lose so much as a month, let alone an entire year. (Sometimes, emergencies may necessitate a week or two away.)

Last night, I watched my two little boys hop-race around the house. I laughed and told them I love to watch them play.

I turned to my husband and asked, “I gave up this for a year, for Twitter?”

“Uh-huh,” he confirmed, giving me his well honed bet-you’re-sorry look.

I’m glad he was so patient, and that my sons felt my love even when I was only barely present. But these are gifts to cherish, not squander, and I mean to cherish them. 

Books can fill me with knowledge, but only such knowledge as is useless without love.

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  1. Deb
    September 6, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    But you also showed your boys that even mom’s need to learn and grow. A trade-off yes, but they see a stronger woman/mom from it, I hope 🙂

    • September 8, 2017 at 5:35 am

      Thanks so much for these lovely words. One of the things I’ve appreciated most about my mom since she’s been gone is her candor–how she was forthcoming about her imperfections, and (moods aside!) was vocal about expecting us to have our own. Thanks to that, I’m sometimes able to move from self flagellation to realizing my own candor about my imperfection is a gift to my own sons. Hopefully they’ll see it while I’m still around, but even if it, I trust they’ll find this when they most need it. ❤️ & happy weekend wishes

  2. September 7, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    All of life is learning. And all of life is striving for some balance. What your boys will learn from you is that it’s ok to make mistakes, and there is no shame in owning them.

    • September 8, 2017 at 5:37 am

      Between you and Deb, I’m not ashamed to say I did a little comment-related crying. Thanks. ❤️ Belatedly, thanks for your recommendation (some time ago) of Ehrenreich’s Bright-Sided. I only got around to reading it a month or two ago, but it contained so much wisdom it eased my heart to find. ♥️

  1. October 13, 2017 at 4:21 pm

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