If Only…

We live in a world of hurry. We want everything yesterday, five minutes is an eternity, waiting is should be outlawed and time is money. If only we could see the other side. The side where the thought of waiting leads something beautiful like the miraculous birth of a child or the moment when no amount of money could replace time with a dying loved one.

But we’re too much in a hurry. We’re too driven by our own needs for immediacy. Life can change in the blink of an eye and in those moments we question ‘why’, we are not prepared and we don’t understand yet we expect those instantaneous results in almost every other aspect of our lives…

The other day I ran into the post office to mail something. It was my day off and one of those 50-degree Michigan afternoons. I figured it wouldn’t be too busy and I could run in and out without having to lug my sleeping daughter in the car seat. I was first in line with one woman working and an elderly lady just finishing up. I figured this would be less than two minutes until the elderly woman after paying stayed to talk to the post office clerk. I almost lost my mind! There are people lined up behind me now. Do I just leave? Do I go up because she is finished? Do I tell the lady I’m in a hurry? I started tapping my foot I was so frustrated. It was only a few minutes but it felt like an eternity.

It wasn’t until I got into my car where my angel was still perfectly sleeping when it hit me. Maybe that is the only interaction this woman will have today. Maybe she enjoys her trips and talks at the post office because it’s the only time she can get out. Maybe she just wants to be heard. If only I could have been more understanding. If only I could have thought about her instead of myself.  If only…

I read this beautiful email forward my mom passed along and it bought me to tears. I hope you read it. If only we could have the love and compassion for life the way this little boy did. Can we? Can we all just stop being in such a hurry?

I don’t know. I truly don’t. We have been trained, maybe even a little brainwashed if you will, to rush and to be rushed. We have things like flash sales (buy me now before I’m gone!), instant coffee, fast food (the name alone says it all), rush delivery, and the fast lane (for driving purposes). We are bombarded with hurrying!

For most of my life I lived in a hurry. I didn’t have time or the patience. I rushed as often and as much as I could. I wish that I didn’t. Life is a learning experience and that’s one I’ve definitely changed. People felt my need to hurry. I hurt people in the process. I was constantly ‘rushing’ and never had the time.

If only I knew then what I know now. If only I could see how precious and beautiful waiting is. I waited for my husband. I waited through bad relationships and lots of broken hearts. I waited impatiently. And then, I gave it up to God and He gave me my husband. I thank God for him each day and for showing me the reason why I needed  to wait…it was for him. I waited 27 hours to meet my daughter. I waited that long to find out my baby was a she! I waited in pain and discomfort and at moments in fear, but the minute I saw her, I forgot about it all. She is everything to me and worth all of the waiting and more!

I bet any of you would wait patiently if you could see someone who is no longer here…someone who has left this life already. If you were told you have five minutes and all you have to do is wait you would. And you wouldn’t complain or huff and puff. You would be filled with joy of that moment to come. You might be overwhelmed with love and maybe even a little worry. But you would wait…wouldn’t you?

If only we could have that kind of patience with everything we do. If only we could stop being in such a hurry. Today I looked at pictures of my daughter when she was first born (pictured above) and thought to myself, ‘if only you were that little again’. If you’ve ever stayed up late and seen one of those infomercials to buy whatever it is they’re selling at the end the voiceover comes on and says “Why wait? Act now!” and then continues on with what you get for purchasing at that exact moment. So why wait? Why not?!

Life is full of unexpected and beautiful surprises. If only we could all just be in less of a hurry to experience them.

Maternity Leave…What the U.S. is Missing.

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According to an article by the Huffington Post, “When Australia passed a parental leave law in 2010, it left the U.S. as the only industrialized nation not to mandate paid leave for mothers of newborns. Most of the rest of the world has paid maternity leave policies, too; Lesotho, Swaziland and Papua New Guinea are the only other countries that do not. Many countries give new fathers paid time off as well or allow parents to share paid leave.

New parents in the U.S. are guaranteed their jobs for 12 weeks after the arrival of a new baby, thanks to the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993, but they do not have to be paid during that time and exemptions apply for small companies. Only about 16 percent of employers offer fully paid maternity leave and many families take on significant debt or turn to public assistance around the birth of a child.”maternity leave
Is it just me or is this completely crazy? Why at most places of work is pregnancy considered an ‘illness’ which requires you to use short term disability and get paid for only a portion of your time off (and that’s even if you have and qualified for short term disability!) or like many new moms, being off without any pay but your saved up vacation days?!

I don’t understand how in the ‘land of the free’ we can be so restricting when it comes to this. Yes, this leave is to spend time with our newborn child(ren) but that in itself is more of a job than any other 9 to 5 place of employment. You don’t get to clock in, take an hour lunch and clock out. Ha! You’re lucky if you any food in throughout the day. So yes, we are working…we are RAISING A CHILD. We are KEEPING A HUMAN BEING ALIVE. And we are doing it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week not 5 days a week, 8 hours a day (I realize others work more but I’m using the typical 40-hour work week). We are child care providers and we deserve to be paid during this time! We are not at home laying around on the couch, watching Real Housewives and shopping online all day. We are feeding, changing, monitoring, cleaning and doing everything that requires our complete and utter attention, care, responsibility and love for this new person in our family.

I am pretty sure that motherhood is said to be the most difficult and under appreciated job and this is a great video that proves it:

Another favorite of mine is also this one:

Employers in the United States…WAKE UP! Do you have a mom? Because I’m sure you do (living or deceased). And did that mom take care of you? I’m sure she did. She raised you when women stayed home and fulfilled their role as the housewives. Now women work and when we need to be home for the first precious weeks of our child’s lives, we deserve to be paid for that time we are away from our ‘other’ job.

I really hope in the near future things change with regards to maternity leave because the beautiful miracle of birth shouldn’t ever be considered an ‘illness’.