There have been times in my life that I have been reminded, as we all are, that family comes first. I read articles and heard stories when I was younger that really stuck with me. I vowed to do whatever I could to make sure that I wouldn’t spend the end of my days wishing desperately that I had done things differently. Of course, things happen in life, and I do have other obligations, but my goal is to prioritize my loved ones, and make sure they know how important they are to me. I want to spend as much time as I possibly can with the people who mean the most to me. I’m not completely happy with how much time that is, but I’m fairly happy with how I make use of the time I do get to be with them.
This all comes with a price, but I feel it is well worth it. For example, I was extremely lucky to be a stay-at-home parent for nine years, but then I found myself in the middle of a divorce. It took me a few years to get a full time job, because of the years I had spent without a paycheck. Especially since I am now unable to spend every day with my children, I am very happy that I was able to be there for them full time for those years in the past. The debt I accrued is being tackled as much as possible now, and will likely be knocked out much faster after my kids have grown. I can focus more on my career and making money later. Money can wait. Children can’t. They’re all growing up, and it won’t be many more years that they’ll be living here. I will never be sorry that I focused on my children even if I never “make up” the loss in income (in the past, present, and future).
It’s not just children (which not everyone has). It’s also other family members. For example, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, even close friends… Like many others, I have had some people taken from my life too early – much sooner than I could have imagined. Not only do I want to make sure to spend the time with extended family while I have the opportunity, but I want my children to have time with them as well. They will enjoy the experiences, plus they will develop the desirable habit of prioritizing people.
I’m already reaping the rewards of this philosophy and lifestyle. It’s difficult to put into words the joy I get from being surrounded by the love of these wonderful people who mean so much to me. I also notice the way it affects my children. I have heard so many negative things about children, particularly teenagers. I’ve seen it, too, mainly when I was working as a substitute teacher for two years. My children have definitely challenged me at times, but I must admit that the relationship that we have is more than just ‘acceptable’. My children, in all honesty, are really good people. They not only keep out of trouble, but they actually don’t mind spending time with me. Sadly, I’ve heard some parents making derogatory comments about their children. Mine aren’t perfect, but I don’t talk about them in a negative way. Not only is that not my style, but I really don’t have any complaints about them. I think it’s the opposite of a catch 22. I cherish them, and they are more likely to be better behaved because of it – which makes me want to spend time with them even more. In addition, I expect that they’ll make more of an effort to spend time with me once they’re out on their own in the future, too. Even when they can’t visit, I’ll have so many beautiful memories to think about. This has also manifested itself in my marriage. I don’t disparage my husband, and he doesn’t disparage me. We’re very close, and very happy together.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.