Take time for those you love

Not long ago, a dear friend of mine in Helena received the call that none of us wants to get: his father had died suddenly in his sleep. At 55 years old, this man went to sleep and never woke up. My friend was devastated because he felt like he never had a chance to say goodbye.

This made me realize that we get so caught up in the day-to-day routine of go to work, come home, cook dinner and clean house that we never stop to spend time with the ones we love the most.

As a single mother, I completely understand hardship of trying to balance a career and being a great mom, but all too many times I let my life get in the way of my family.

When I pick my daughter up from daycare it never fails the minute I get back in the car, the phone starts ringing or I receive a flood of emails that, for whatever reason, I feel have to be answered at that very moment.

When we get home, I’m trying to cook dinner for her while still taking phone calls, picking up the house and starting laundry.

I don’t think I’ve ever stopped to realize that any moment I could be the one to go. Would my daughter know how much I love her? Would my parents know how much I appreciate them? Or would there be more people in the community that said “she was really great at her job?”

I’ve spent the past 10 years of my career in marketing and public relations trying to get to know people in the community and making sure they know the company I represent, but in the long run, what does that mean?

I’ve put forth so much effort and passion towards everything I do except taking time to show my family and those closest to me how I feel and the impact they have made in my life. Would it kill any of us to take a day off work just to take our kids somewhere fun or re-schedule a 5 p.m. meeting so we can have dinner with our parents?

I know that in this economy, we all feel like we have to go the extra mile at work so that someone else will not take our job. However, do we go the extra mile at home so that our kids and families remember us at all?

Kelli Keith is the director of marketing and development for the Easter Seals of Birmingham.