This morning, a little girl died after participating at the same dance competition where my daughter was dancing. She was only 7-years-old and suffered from Asthma which ultimately killed her. Neither my daughter nor I ever met her (at least not that I know of), but her passing triggered a number of insights on my part and conversations between my daughter and I.
- For the first time in her life, my 9-year-old realized that children really do die. I think this is something she knew in an abstract kind of way, but for a girl like her, who loves to dance and wasn’t “sick” to die – this was something she had never considered.
Mama insight – I think I was slapped with the same realization. This is something that always happens to someone else’s kid and it happens somewhere else – until it doesn’t and it occurs in your world, even peripherally.
- This was a reminder for me not to sweat the small stuff. It’s funny, Charlie called me from dance class tonight to tell me she had forgotten her spelling assignment at school which meant she couldn’t fully complete her homework. We’ve really been working on her independence lately and (a few days ago) I would have been annoyed she wasn’t being responsible in bringing her homework home. We talked through how she could problem-solve the situation and get the assignment done, even if it might be a day late. She was so relieved I “wasn’t mad”.
Mama insight – OK, give the kid a break once in a while. It is important to get homework done and be responsible, but none of these things are “end of the world” kind of things.
- It is important to be doing things you enjoy. There will always be responsibilities and “have-tos” that we need to do every day, but it is always important to do the things we love as well. This little girl died way too young, but I am hoping the fact that she was doing something she loves will give some small comfort to her family.
Mama insight – make room for fun. Play, have fun, be silly, enjoy each other. Sometimes we get so caught up in the things we have to do (or think we have to do) that we leave no room in our lives for plain old fun. You never know when your (or your loved one’s) last day might be. Don’t keep putting things off – you might not get a chance.
It shouldn’t take someone’s premature loss to make me re-assess the way I am living my life and how I interact with my child, but I am hoping I can make something positive out of this. They are collecting money to try to help the family pay for her funeral expenses – no family saves money for this (college, maybe, but never a funeral). If you are so inclined and are able, please check out their site and help them out (http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/raniyah-simmons-funeral-expenses/297314), but even if you aren’t able, please take a moment and consider her loss and whether it might cause you to make some changes in your own life.