Previously published in 2008.
I am watching The Christmas Shoes Movie and it is hitting home because it parallels my life at present. It's a story about how life and work can get in the way of what's important - family. When my kids were born I started scrapbooks for them, not only to remember their lives, but also so if something happened to me, they would know how much I loved them. I filled it with my dreams for them and my heart, then I stopped because life got in the way.
God has given me a wake up call tonight with The Christmas Shoes Movie. I'm crying so much that I have a lake of tears at the base of my neck.
The movie is about two families. The father of the first family is a successful lawyer who is too busy making money and buying things to show his affluence to spend time with family. He misses events, like his daughters school performance, and has grown away from his stay at home wife. The other family is also a single income family. The father owns a struggling automotive shop, yet he is always there for his wife and son.
Their lives are intertwined, however the lawyer doesn't know this. He doesn't know that the boy he helps buy a pair of shoes is the son of his wife's friend, who is dying. He is too occupied with work to see what is happening around him or to understand what his wife and daughter need.
This story has hit home for me and has strong parallels to my present life. My husband owns an automotive shop, I have a son the same age as the boy with the dying mother. My son is very thoughtful, empathetic, and sensitive to my feelings and happiness, just like the boy in the movie is to his mom.
I recently went back to work and have been focused on work, putting in long hours and travelling for weeks at a time. I sacrifice time with my family for my career, money, and me time. When I was working from home, I sacrificed my career, money, and me time to be with my kids. Since going back to work outside the home, I've missed parent teacher interviews, celebrations of learning, and assembly presentations. This week I'm out of town and debating on whether or not I should go back for my son's Christmas Concert Thursday night because I'd be missing a day of work on Friday.
I'm not going to tell my son that I'm coming. I want to surprise him. I can't wait to see him as the ballet dancing sheep. Then I'll be home for 2 whole weeks on vacation, I plan on spending as much time doing things like making puzzles, playing Barbies, playing Wii and snowboarding with them.
I also want to start up my scrapbooks again, to continue recording their lives and my love for them in the pages. Life is so short and if I'm not here to tell them how much I love them, how proud I am of them, and what my dreams for them are - I want the books to be able to tell them for me. I pray to God that I will be around to see my children grow and have children of their own. I pray to God as much as I can that he'd send angels to my children to surround them with their wings and protect them. I know I have no control over the future and what happens to us, so I pray that whatever happens, my children will feel I put them first.
Most of the time since then I've been home and worked from home in virtual office positions for web based companies. Still, I've missed school events and the occasional milestone due to work demands. I do make amends by spending time with them before and after. We've spent lots of one on one time together and now that they are teenagers, they really don't want me around too much.
I am lucky because they are self reliant and independent so, unless it's something they really can't do for themselves, I'm not needed. We have a special relationship and I am thankful for their understanding when I have to put work first. We are a team.
Shannon Peel is a Digital Marketing Specialist, writer, and novelist living in the Vancouver area of British Columbia. Follow her on social media where she writes about marketing, writing, novels, single life, divorce, parenting, and adventures with her Mini Cooper named Tori.