Today I feel more joyful than I have ever felt in my entire life. I’ve always known that my time is limited, but now I have a better idea of how limited it really is so I am not taking a single moment for granted. Sure I want more quality time, but the truth is we don’t always get what we want.
Today I am spending a lot of quality time with Mark and my kids. My grandsons amaze and delight me so much with their quick wit, intelligence and kindness and they take my hand whenever they can to make sure I don’t fall. My extended family and friends are so kind as well. And recently I have had some of the most beautiful and intimate conversations that I’ve ever had, which makes me happy.
The best part of this limited time frame is that I have time to tell people I love them. My brother Mick died of a heart attack in his sleep and didn’t get the opportunity that I’m getting. I have time to organize my life the way I want and spend time with Mark and my kids and to prepare for the end. We all hug a little more tightly and a little bit longer these days and don’t complain about much and I feel lucky for all of it.
We’re all given the gift of time and it’s precious and I don’t want to waste a single moment. I hope you don’t either.
A few days after Mark and I got married we loaded up our newly purchased, used, full size van with wedding gifts and a few pieces of borrowed furniture and prepared to drive back home to Baltimore. After a tearful goodbye to our families, we took off early in the morning and planned on driving the full 12 hours to Baltimore in one day.
After a long day of driving it started to get dark and Mark, who had driven the whole way, started to get sleepy and asked me to drive. I said I would and got behind the wheel and started to drive while Mark slept. I drove for a while and started feeling sleepy myself to the point that I could no longer keep my eyes open so I stopped on the side of the road. A little while after I stopped, Mark woke up and I told him I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer so he agreed to drive again. He got in the driver’s seats and pulled out onto the highway and looked at the odometer to see that I had only driven 12 miles.
I swear it felt like 100.
My dad always loved baseball and taught my siblings and I to play at a young age. We would play for hours with our neighborhood friends and had a great baseball field in Carol Pothoff LeMieux’s backyard. Most of my family members were mediocre players like me, but my sister Deb could hit the softball out of the park she was so good. My brother Mick had an amazing arm and could throw a ball from deep left field to home plate perfectly.
Our lives get so busy with raising children, working and meeting new friends that we sometimes don’t get to see some of our friends from when we were younger or before we had kids. As I look back on my life I think about the great life we had even before our kids came and I smile.
Some special friends, Pat Peterson and Mari DeRose Hammond, joined together to host a softball reunion at Northside Pub a few weeks ago. A bunch of girls and their husbands gathered together to reminisce about our awesome softball days.
We started our softball career at Mullally Field as the Central Auto Body Team with Mr. and Mrs. Loomis being our generous sponsors. Later on in our softball career, Tom and Pat Peterson generously sponsored our team which was called The Filly Farm. Tom is a veterinarian and raced horses, which is how we came up with the name. Skip Reed, kneeling in the picture above, coached our team.
We were a pretty good team and one time we made it to the state finals which took place in the Upper Peninsula. We ended up taking 5th place in the state that year and we had a blast.
During that time I met so many wonderful people and still have lasting relationships with great memories. Thank you Pat and Mari for getting us all together for a softball reunion. It was a very special day for me.
Having our grandkids at our house for the whole month of July has been so much fun, but also very busy. In addition to tubing on the lake and going to the candy store and spending time at the beach, Cole and Peyton are taking sailing lessons at the Muskegon Yacht Club and they’re loving it. They are learning the techniques of sailing and all about the terminology that is unfamiliar to most of us. I think one of the most important lessons they are learning is teamwork because two people have to work the boat together. Teamwork is such an important lesson in life for all of us.
As I sit at home and watch everything that is going on around me, sometimes I feel helpless but mostly I am in awe of how our family is working together as a team to care for Cole and Peyton. Mark is keeping order to our home by cooking and cleaning and doing the boys’ laundry. Corey is making sure the boys have everything ready for sailing lessons every morning. He wakes them up, makes sure they are fed and have lifejackets and towels and sunscreen and he gets them to and from their lesson. Kelly, Chris and Bryan are all working 40 or more hours per week at their jobs and are still helping to provide fun for their nephews.
The reason I am writing this is because it reminds me of our busy lives many years ago having four active kids to raise. As I reflect back to those wonderful times, Mark and I did not raise our kids alone, we had so much help and support from others. We were encouraged by other parents in so many ways, whether it be a ride to or from an activity or just telling us something nice about what one of our kids said or did. Being a parent is tough, but when I think about it we were lucky to be supported by grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, friends, neighbors, teachers, principals, coaches and priests. Mark and I couldn’t raise our kids alone because it takes a village to raise a child and we were lucky enough to have an awesome village surrounding us.
I remember when Chad was in 5th grade and new to St. Michael’s Elementary. He was playing his first season of basketball and I was amazed at the support the parents showed him, our family and the other players on the team. I could tell right away that the parents weren’t just about their own children, they encouraged each individual player on the team. Mark and I experienced this beautiful act of selflessness with all of our kids and we felt truly lucky to have it.
Thank you for helping us raise our family.
I’m so lucky to be surrounded by so many wonderful people. Everyday I’m in awe of the beautiful email messages, texts and phone calls from friends and family wanting to know how I’m feeling and people stopping by to show their support.
A few weeks ago one of my nephews sent all of my kids and I a beautiful message on Facebook that I would like to share because it made me so proud for so many reasons.
Dear Chad, Kelly, Corey and Bryan,
As I sit and reminisce on the way things used to be and the way I wish things were, time and time again you Lamberts come to mind.
“Love your family. Spend time, be kind and serve one another. Make no room for regrets. Tomorrow is not promised and today is short.”
I read this quote and think of you guys. The bond you have with one another is amazing. The memories I have of all of you and the stories I hear tell me that each and every one of you will have little to no regrets in life and attempt to live life to the fullest. Not everyone can say that, me included. Your family will make anyone who knows you question their level of happiness. You all have made an enormous impact on my life and know I love each and every one of you. Know that you are all in our thoughts and prayers.
I wish there were words to describe how much I love you and how much you mean to me. My life would not be same had you not been a part of it. I often think of the morning my dad passed and you were the first person I saw. Besides my mom I couldn’t have asked for a better person to be by my side. I don’t believe I’ve thanked you for that and it’s better late than never. So thank you. And thank you for always being there for me and being such an amazing person and an awesome aunt. Yet sometimes hard to believe, I believe things happen for a reason and God would never give us things we could not handle. And there’s not a woman stronger to handle what you have to handle.
You’re amazing. Again there are no words to describe the love that I have for my sweet angel of an Aunt Rosemary but I sure wish there were. I love you very much and you’re in my prayers.
I receive these beautiful messages every single day and I so wish I could share each and every one of them because they all truly mean a lot to me.
A simple thank you just doesn’t seem like enough.