Thirteen years ago, I accidentally fell in love with a goofy, handsome camp counselor. Luckily, he loved me back and before we knew it, we were setting off into the sunset of marriage. We found our happily ever after. Our one and only true love. He loved me and I loved him. Nothing would get in our way of a lifetime of happiness. It really was that simple for us.
Early into our relationship, we decided to forget the “dating rules” and make up our own. Dates were long walks in nature; late night phone calls; hikes and bike rides. We had very few fancy dates, but none of them stick out in my memory. However, the things we talked about on our walks, burn deep into my brain, even years later. The simpler the better. We accepted the gift of our time together.
Years later, I woke up and found myself living halfway across the country with the same man, but all of a sudden, we had two kids. Simplicity was still our motto, more because of economics; but I treasure it all the same. Family fun nights consisted of picnics on the beach, walks to the park; and flying kites through the air. Road trips to cities with snacks and books also fill my memory.
Years later, I still see the movies in my head of our simple couples dates, as well as our simple family outings. I see smiles and laughter, along with a few tears. We took the time to be a family; to ignore the “you shoulds” of our generation: “You should sign your kids up for sports.” “You should make sure your kids are well rounded.” “You should have your kids in music lessons and sports.” “You should make sure every minute of time is organized.”
We believed our kids would be fine, but life is for living NOW. The time is today. Maybe we saw it coming, maybe we had some strange foresight to know that we needed to take the time as a family now, because tomorrow is not guaranteed. I will never regret keeping our lives simple, before cancer came and took our family's future away.