As Long as I'm Living

As Long as I'm Living

You only live once.

When I was a little girl, my mother would read me this story each night as she would tuck me into bed. The story was about a mother watching her baby grow older, and walk through the different stages of life. And no matter how difficult and obnoxious he acted at certain times in his life, every night she would come into his room while he was asleep, rock him back and forth and sing, “I love you forever, I love you for always, as long as I’m living my baby, you’ll be.” At the end of the book, the mother is too old and frail to sing to his son. So instead, he picks his mother up and sings her the very same song she would sing to him.

And although I would make my mom read me this story all the time, it would make her cry, each and every time. I remember reaching the end of the book and already expecting to look over at her tear- streamed face. I do not think that as a little four year old I was able to comprehend the true depth and meaning of the story, and what exactly was making my mom so emotional.

However, it is only in light of recent events that I was finally able to understand the underlying melancholy theme of the bedtime story, and why my mom would squeeze me extra tightly after reading it each time.

“As long as I’m loving, my baby you’ll be.” Nothing in life is forever. And the mere fact that we do not have full control over the course of our own lives is extremely frightening. Here is a story of a mother putting the most precious thing in her life to sleep. She gives everything she has to this child and deals with so much; from the long, sleepless nights, to the illogical, toddler tantrums. No matter how hard he makes life for her sometimes, she would do anything for this little soul, sleeping peacefully in her arms. But at the end of the day, there is only so much she can do, as she is not the only one in control of what’s to come in life.

We all pray that life will take its course, and in the end, it will all culminate naturally. We dream about our future husbands, children, and grandchildren- fantasizing about the joy and light our futures will bring us. But sadly, there are so many who are not given the privilege to even go this far. It’s as if they are taken out of a game they were not yet ready to end. We don’t know why it all happens, but the pain that we’re left with is excruciating.

Sometimes I think about all of the people who were ripped away from their loved ones too soon. I wonder if they too would read this story to their children each night, and promise to be by their side, “As long as [they’re] living.” I wonder if they would pray to only be separated at the right time. But what happens when the time just comes too soon?

These thoughts are painful, and I do not in any way believe that we should go through life with the sound of a biological clock ticking in our ears. However, I do think that sometimes we need to remember that we only live once, not matter how short that time may be.

Too often I find myself waiting for tomorrow. I complain that I’m too young, and wish to be older.. for my life to be settled, and for everything to be perfect. But I’m only realizing now that that life is not guaranteed to me. The only thing I am certain of is right now. The present. This very second. So what will I do with it? Well, for one I should learn to enjoy it. Because from what it seems like, life doesn’t get any easier. With each phase comes different challenges, and I’ll just have to learn to get through them.

Therefore, I’ve decided to make a list. At the end of each day, as I’m getting into bed I’m going to list three things that made me smile that day. They can be as minuscule as seeing someone who made me happy, or hearing a certain song that brought back good memories. Whatever it was, it’ll be put onto paper, so that whenever I feel upset, or eager to be at a different place in life, I’ll review my list to remind myself of how much I have at that very moment.

And one day, if I’m fortunate enough to hold my own, sleeping baby after a long day, I’ll be able to read through my list and remember that each day brings light, and I must cease it for “as long as I’m living.”

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Dear Mom, From Your Daughter In College

Here are all the things our phone calls aren't long enough to say.

Dear Mom,

Do you remember when I was three and we would play together? It was the age of princesses and carpet that was actually lava, and you were the prettiest woman in the whole wide world. Do you remember when I was in high school and the world seemed too big and scary? You would know exactly when to take me on a mother-daughter date and have me laughing about anything and everything, and you were the smartest woman in the whole wide world. Now, I'm buried in homework and deadlines hours away from you and we don't get to talk as much you want, but you're still the prettiest, smartest woman in the whole wide world.

I'm sorry that I don't call you as much as I should, and you know a lot of what goes on in my world via posts and pictures. Our schedules just seem to never line up so we can have the three-hour conversations about everything like I want to. I know we don't agree on absolutely everything, but I cherish every piece of advice you give me, even though it probably seems like I'm hardly listening. I know that sometimes we get on each other's nerves, but thank you for putting up with me for all of these years. Thank you for listening to me cry, complain, question things and go on and on about how everything in college is. I know I don't come home as much as I used to, but I think about you all the time. After all, you're my first friend, and therefore, my best friend.

Thank you for celebrating my successes with me, and not downing me too hard for my failures. Thank you for knowing what mistakes I shouldn't make, but letting me make them anyway because you want me to live my life and be my own person. Thank you for knowing when to ask about the boy I've been talking about, and when to stop without any questions. Thank you for letting me be my crazy, weird, sometimes know-it-all self.

Thank you for sitting back and watching me spread my wings and fly. There is no way I could have known how to grow into the woman I am today if I hadn't watched you while I was growing up so I would know what kind of person I should aspire to be. Thank you for being the first (and the best) role model I ever had. You continue to inspire and amaze me every day with all that you do, and all that you are.

I don't know how I got so lucky to have a person in my life like you, but I thank the Lord every night for blessing me with the smartest, prettiest person to be my best friend, my role model, my confidant, my person and most importantly, my mother.


Your daughter

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Hello, 20, I Can't Wait To See What You Offer Me

The past 19 years were a blessing and I cannot wait to see what 20 has in store for me.


Turning twenty is nothing special. My birthday was just another day, but, when I look back on the past nineteen years of my life, I see how special everything is.

In the past year alone, I have seen the most growth in myself. I found a better sense of who I am and who I want to be. I surrounded myself with better people and stepped away from toxic people. I pushed myself to try new things and trust in God more.

I remember being a little girl, fishing with my dad, playing with Barbies and being read bedtime stories every night.

I remember looking in the mirror as a little girl and picturing myself looking like my mom as a teenager and an adult.

When I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said I wanted to be a ballerina, play hockey and make wine. Then in high school, I was asked what college I wanted to go to. In college, I am asked what I am majoring in. Now, I am asked what I am going to do after college and my friends and I are talking about retirement plans and weddings.

I have come so far from my dreams as a little girl, but the end goal is still the same: be happy.

When we are little, we hold our parents' hands in the parking lot, we go to them when we have a bad dream and we run to their arms when we have had a bad day. Now, I am nearly completely on my own.

My mom doesn't wake me up in the morning, so if I sleep through my alarm, I am screwed. My parents aren't holding my hands anymore so if I get lost or trip, I have to pick myself up and find my own way. When I have a long day and it just seems like everything is falling apart, I have to get myself together.

We rush to grow up and be on our own.

Then we get bills and we get fired from our job and we run out of clean clothes to wear and the dishes pile up and we realize that growing up isn't all we dreamed it would be. I know that no matter how old I am, I will still call my parents asking for help and I will still sit in my mom's lap. Because I am learning that adults don't know what they are doing, they just aren't afraid to ask questions.

There are a lot of people that start asking me what I will do after school, where I want to live, when I will get married and when I will have kids. I promise myself not to rush further into adulthood. I want to enjoy each day without worrying about tomorrow or the next 10 years. I will appreciate living in a dorm, stressing out over exams and eating copious amounts of ramen because the stressors I will face in the next 10 years will make me miss these moments.

So, when I blow out the candles on my birthday, I wish for happiness, not only for myself but for my friends and family.

I wish for strength because the next few years are not going to be easy. I wish for guidance, because I know I can't do it on my own. I wish for more laughs, more smiles, more puppy kisses and more memories.

I hope that 20 is the best year yet and I can't wait to see how much I change in the next year.

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