I learned a valuable lesson this past week. It wasn't an easy lesson to learn as it came during an eulogy made by the best friend, Mr. Bill Cox, of my best friend's dad, Mr. Bill Cornelius, who died on New Year's Eve from a massive heart attack at the young age of sixty-three. I actually learned a few things...
First of all, Bill pointed out that a best friend is someone who says two things when you call them in the middle of the night: When do you need me? and How can I help? Unfortunately I got to say those two things at seven in the morning on New Year's Day.
Another message I took away from his speech was that it doesn't matter if you like what you are doing. It matters that you have fun doing it together. You might not like doing laundry, mowing the grass, or golfing, but if you do the things you aren't very fond of with people you enjoy, everything can be fun. This is something I hope to keep in mind as Rick and I struggle to learn how to rebalance our lives now that we have two kids.
I also learned that you really do need to talk to your spouse or loved ones about what you want done with your remains. It isn't the most exciting conversation, but an important one all the same.
This week reinforced a rule we have in our house that we aren't allowed to leave without saying goodbye, and we don't go to bed without a kiss goodnight. I'm big on leaving things on a high note, just in case.
Listening to my friend Cadence and her sister Christie speak about what a great father Bill was, made me realize how important it is to have special things you do with your kids to make them know they are loved. Just spending quality, undistracted time with them will create special moments that they will remember you by. Bill frequently poked Cadence on Facebook and texted her while she awaited flights at the airport. Christie had fond memories mowing lawns together, something she loved to do with her dad. It doesn't take much.
One final lesson is the importance of focusing on your children's successes while forgetting their failures. I'm sure Bill told Cadence how proud he was of her and the successful photographer that she has become, but it was proven by many of his friends from his photography club coming up to her at the visitation saying, "So you're the wedding photographer in Minneapolis. He showed us all of your work."
Moral of the story: As a parent, you are important in so many ways. Try to be the best parent you can be because that's what matters most.