I feel like this topic comes up on the blog a lot – slowing down and making time for family. Maybe it is because I need more reminders than anyone else. Our life is busy, and I like it that way. But, sometimes my kids do not . They need days of snuggling and just playing on the floor with trucks and balls and making up silly songs and dances.
Don’t get me wrong – my mission in life is not to put them in every activity possible so I can “prune” them to be the men I hope they one day will be. I will leave that up to God.
Instead, I am the one trying to keep up the house, find my creative outlets in blogging and crafting, love them and make our family life as full and rich as possible. I fail often. Really, they NEED me to forget the laundry, deal with the floor being muddy, turn off my phone and computer and just focus on them. Completely on them. Not every day or every moment, but enough to fill up their little love tanks so they can happily go about their day.
I haven’t been able to sleep well for the past week or so. I am haunted by a million thoughts and emotions and motherly instincts after hearing about the tragic passing of sweet Axel Charrette, the 2 year old son of fellow blogger, Jen of Velo Mom. I am wrestling with how to sort out in my mind the why, but know also there is no answer to that question. It reminds me that these children are not mine, but instead on loan to me from God. I have been given (along with my husband) the daunting and glorious task of doing my very best to bring them up well in a not-so-perfect world. Every moment is precious and we can only protect them from so much.
I know that there are people that think we are crazy for doing some of the things we do with our kids (and then write about here.) The risk is there, the work is daunting and the kids rarely appreciate it as much as you hope they will (at least in the moment.) Things can happen, things DO happen, but I refuse to live in fear (though lately the temptation to do just that has been great.) I am torn between wanting to give my children room to spread their wings and hold on desperately tight so the world may not touch them and hurt them.
I love this quote that Jen has on her blog – it is so very fitting:
“Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials.” ~Meryl Streep
I never had the chance to meet Axel. In fact, I have never met Jen, her husband Randy or their other son Kalden. And yet, their lives have touched me, even before they were changed forever. They are inspiring because they are living life to the fullest. I like to believe that Axel is beautiful and joyful in Heaven and inspiring thousands of families to remember what really does matter most. He lived a full life of adventure and travel with his family, however short it was.
Tomorrow marks the Memorial for him in his hometown of Ridgway, CO. You will find countless other tributes throughout the outdoor blogging community in the next day or so. It is proof that his life (and death) has great meaning. I share this today because his life matters, and so does yours and the lives of your children.
I challenge you, in Axel’s memory, to love more, deeper and fuller. Plan the trip you have been putting off, do something you have never done before, get outside where there are no distractions, laugh, smile, hug and stop nagging. And stress less (this one is for me…) – most of it really doesn’t matter.
I encourage you to leave thoughts on this blog post. The conversation is good for all of us. Leave them as an outlet for yourself and feel free to leave plenty of love for the Charrette family – oh how they need it now!
Go – love on your kids, your spouse, your family. The world is waiting for you.
If you want to help, the Charrette family is accepting donations. UPDATE: We just got word from Jen of Velo Mom that all donations to the fund set up for Axel Charrette will be used to get kids on bikes (because biking was such a huge part of his life, and continues to be a big part of the Charrette family.) Please continue donating to such a beautiful thing after such tragedy.
Checks can be made out to:
Axel Charrette Fund
c/o Alpine Bank
119 Liddell Drive
Ridgway, CO 81432
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