When I was in Junior High I loved reading Erma Bombeck’s newspaper columns, articles in various magazines such as Redbook and McCall’s, and her novels: The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank, and If Life Is A Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing In The Pits?. Her sense of humor about family life resonated with me, even at a young age. She was able to find humor in just about anything.
Erma died in 1996 from cancer. When she was diagnosed she wrote this:
IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER – by Erma Bombeck
I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for a day.
I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.
I would have talked less and listened more.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.
I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, ‘Later…Now go get washed up for dinner.’ There would have been more ‘I love you’s, more I’m sorry’s’.
But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute; look at it and really see it; live it and never give it back. STOP SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF!
Don’t worry about who doesn’t like you, who has more, or who’s doing what. Instead, let’s cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us.
I often wonder why it’s easier to see the importance of these things when we’re approaching death, and less likely to while we’re living in the moment. Erma leaves us with some good advice.