Tonight I lay with my dear little Olive as she went to sleep. After singing some songs and having a little chat, she turned to me and said, "Mummy. You stopped crying when we went to kindy. You were very brave, good girl Mummy."
I smiled, and said, "thank you, darling."
My girl asked, "Why did you keep crying Mummy?"
I paused, pondering how to deliver the heart breaking news in kid terms. "I was crying because Grandma is sick again, babe. And one day she is going to die. That makes Mummy very very sad."
Olive's bottom lip quivered and a short, sharp sob erupted from her mouth. "I don't want Grandma to die, Mummy!"
My heart ached, and I didn't really know how to continue the conversation. I am always honest with my kids, and I think we shouldn't be afraid of death. So I tried my best to explain this, to my 3 year old daughter - "I know, baby. I don't want Grandma to die either. It's really really sad to think about but you must remember that everyone dies. When it's someone's time, it happens. One day I will die, and one day you will too."
She had tears streaming down her soft cheeks and she said, "I don't want to die Mummy".
This short exchange with my youngest child, who I thought was far too young to understand a situation such as this, has put a little crack in my heart.
Yesterday we received the devastating news that my Mum's brain tumour has grown back. The doctor has told her that without treatment, she has about 12 months left to live her life.
Do you know how fast a year passes? I do. Every year I have a list of things I want to achieve in the next 12 months and I often put them off because of mundane day-to-day crap.
I intend to catch up with people and to save money and to better my health.
I have plans in my head of places to take the kids, holidays to arrange and take with my husband.
I make mental notes to spend more time with my brothers and sisters.
I make lists of things to work towards and things to eliminate.
And more often than not, all of these notes and lists sit around and never get crossed off.
Imagine being told you have just 12 months to do all of those things you wanted to do. It's not enough time.
There's still so much Mum needs to be here for. We aren't done with her yet! She needs to be here to deliver any future grandbabies. She needs to deliver her grandbabies' babies. There's still weddings for her to attend, and parties - 21st's, 30th's, 40th's....her own 60th. We still have so much laughing to do. I still need her to help me with parenting my own babies. We still have holidays to take, and disagreements to have. We still need to take the piss out of her when she does 'old people' things. There are still a million and one hugs we need to give her. There are still so many unsaid, 'I love you's'. There are still recipes to share, lunches to be had. So many sleepovers for the grandies to have. I still want to have sleepovers! So many thank you's to tell her, for the life, love, support, encouragement and faith she has given me and my brothers and sisters.
Only once you are given some sort of timeframe, do you realise all of this. And realise that we need to make each day count. Because all of those little things - when it comes down to it - are the big things. They are what matters. It's not the things we buy, or the hours we spend at work. It's not how we look, or whether we have the latest phone. It's not the car we drive, or the house we live in. It's the moments spent with people we love.
Make each day count. Don't waste time with people who make you feel negative about yourself. Tell people you love them. Say yes to that party - the memories will be with you forever. Spend time learning things from people who can teach you. Give your babies that extra cuddle, even when they're pushing it at bedtime!