"Are you OK, Mommy?" Zoe's face is flushed from her bath and glistens with drops of water. Her eyes follow mine while she waits for me to answer. While wrapping the towel behind her, I pull her face to mine, our noses touch and I steal a kiss. She is still watching me, waiting, and yet when I look again, I am stuck in time. I see her lips with her little girl pout from long ago and her hair in gentle waves, when it barely used to brush her shoulders, before the trendy middle school style of straight and long (how she wears it now), before she began to look... so grown up.
"Are you mad, maybe?" she asks, lifting her concerned face. Quickly, I assess. I haven't raised my voice; I haven't rushed her. I go down my checklist of rules I have especially made for this child of mine. Rule #1, no rushing... because after all, how do you rush your child that uses a walker and wheelchair? This girl of mine, who taught me how to slow down and savor life, still waits for her answer. So I gather her into me, my cheek brushing her soft skin as I breathe in the comfort of her strawberry scent, and the answer to her question comes swiftly with my sigh, I am very tired. It is my quietness that concerns her. I have just done too much today. My body aches and in the final hours of my night, I am too tired to think or to talk. The Fitbit on my wrist buzzed and blinked before dinner, telling me I walked 16,000+ steps, that I met my goal... but did I really meet my goal?
Because if I were to die today, what would my eulogy say? Arianna Huffington, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post, creates a passionate quest to re-examine our lives and perception of success in her new book, Thrive: The Third Metric To Redefining Success And Creating A Life Of Well Being, Wisdom and Wonder. "We are all responsible for writing our own eulogies," she reminds us. So, what would my eulogy say? Would it celebrate the four-mile walk, the phone calls and errands crossed off my to-do list, clutter-free kitchen counters, clean floors, the work I completed or the professional goals I met? What would my family remember most? If I died today, would my teen remember the time we have spent talking at breakfast, the way I have tried to really listen and encourage her, the time I have spent helping her with her hair? Will my husband think about our easy kisses and conversations, and Zoe... will she smile about the games we have played, books we read or the way I have climbed into her bed to snuggle?