You know how Allstate has the slogan "You're in good hands with Allstate"? Well, they also want to remind everyone about the Allstate Good Life.
I just turned 36 on the 24th of May. I know a lot of people will say that is very young, while other, like my children, will tell me that I am old. For me, I am glad that I have made it to see another year. Over the years I have seen many of my friends die at young very young ages. My best friend was killed in a car wreck at the age of 25, leaving behind 2 small children.
So eleven years later, as I turn 36, I think about how blessed I am to have been here for these 36 years. I have been married for 15 1/2 years, I have a step-daughter and son-in-law, a son that is 14 and a daughter that is 13. My family does not always get along, but we are family and we love each other.
After my best friend died, I really learned how to appreciate the small things in life. I don't live in a nasty house, but I don't stress if it is not perfect. I enjoy the good times with my family. I work on making memories and not worries. Now, that does not mean that we are always having fun; I do still have a full time job that I work, the kids go to school, my husband is a deputy sheriff, and I do still have the responsibilities of a household. But I try to not take my time with my family for granted.
Recently, my son went down to the river with a friend of his. They had been going down there for a while with no problems, but this time it had rained really hard for several days. I told my son to be home no later than 8:00 - he has a habit of being "on the way home" at the time I want him home. So at 8:30 I was really mad. Especially considering the fact that I called his phone, I texted him and he did not answer anything. The river is about a mile from my house, so I jumped in my van and took off. Thankfully, my husband installed the Life360 app on all of our phones - it is an app that will tell you where someone is. So when I get to the river I look on the Life360 map and go to the area that it shows he is at. I did not see him, but saw a truck with a man in it. Needless to say I wanted to ask the man if he had seen my son but I was afraid, so I turned and walked off. I went down towards the bridge and as I looked into the river a panic came over me. The current was so strong in the river that I was really afraid something had happened to my son. Now, my husband is a deputy sheriff but this particular week he was in class an hour and a half away...but thankfully I still have "friends" on the Sheriff's Department. I called a friend and she gave me her husband's number - he is on the Sheriff's Dept but I did not have his number. I was almost hyperventilating while I talked to both of them so they came down to help me find my son. I almost called 911 but I knew they would think I was crazy because he is a 14 year old boy that was only 30 minutes late getting home. During all this time all I could do was cry and pray & pray and cry. It was getting dark and the darker it got the more scared I got.
Let me go a little bit. It was a Wednesday night and we had been in revival all week. I was so extremely tired on Wednesday that I decided to stay home Wednesday night from church. The last time I was tired and "skipped" church on a Wednesday night, which was in January, my son (yes the same one) broke his foot and wound up in the hospital. I am pretty sure God is trying to tell me something.
Well, we looked and I was just about to call 911 when I look up and see this bicycle coming towards me. At first I thought it was the other boy but I saw that it was my son - the time was 9:15 p.m. After yelling at him that he was grounded for the rest of his life, I fell to the ground and cried and thanked God for bringing my son back to me. He told us that him and his friend went into the woods and could not find their way out. That is understandable but my question was "Where is your cell phone?" He had left it - right where we were looking for him - because he didn't want it to get wet. I wanted to kill him but I was so glad that he was alive that I couldn't even be mad any more.
I don't wish that feeling on anyone ever, but I tell you that something happening like that will cause more appreciation for your children. I know my son was upset after he saw that I was really afraid that he was dead somewhere in the river. He has told me more than ever that he loves me and I tell him.
I am thankful everyday that God gave me my children and I do not ever want to take for granted that I think I will always have them. I want to make the best of each and every day and enjoy my family as long as I can. I also found out just this weekend that I am going to be a grandma. I am so excited!! Ok, if you were paying attention you know that I just turned 36...I have a step-daughter and son in law that are making me a grandma! I plan to celebrate the Good Life that God has given me and I hope that you will do the same thing.