Last night, I found myself lying on an air mattress in my daughter’s room waiting for her to decide when it was time for bed. The room was dark, except for a Winnie-the-Pooh nightlight and the little green dot glowing off of the baby monitor. She rolled around in the crib, she rolled around on the floor, and then she rolled around on top of me. She climbed up my legs and fell over the other side, popping back up to climb some more. She was happy. She was smiling. She did not want to sleep.
While normally it can be a little frustrating, last night I did not look at it that way. One of the times that she rolled on me, she sat on my chest and instantly knocked the wind out of me. I had been outside all day and had smoked quite a few cigarettes. Her literal blow to my chest was the final metaphorical blow to my constant promises to quit smoking. If there was any frustration, it stemmed from the damage that smoking had already done that I could not erase.
The following are things that I thought of in that instant that left me in horror, ultimately making me more determined to quit. Maybe, if you are a parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent, etc. that could help you. Just sit in a room, in the dark. Breathe and relax. Clear your mind and begin to imagine the following as they apply to you:
-All firsts from birth to preschool
-First day of school
-First 100 on a test
-First time she/he gets excited about Santa/the Easter Bunny/the Tooth Fairy
-First piece of school artwork
-First day of high school
-First driving lesson
-First open house for college
-High School graduation
-First day of college
-First broken heart
-Every subsequent broken heart
-Finding the right one
-And so on, and so on, and so on…
There are so many things in between that pertain to each person individually. Cultural firsts, religious firsts, etc. And I included broken hearts because that is what I felt the most strongly about. I don’t want to be six feet underground with a missing lung while my daughter cries into a pillow about her first break-up. I want her to cry into the same bosom she sat on (and repeatedly bounced on) last night.
I sincerely have met my match. I can’t NOT be there for all of these things. What makes it harder is that for people like me, there is not necessarily anywhere that I could watch over her from. So I have to treat it like death is death, what’s done is done. And I don’t want to be done yet. I want to relive these things in my grandchildren. I want to live.
The frustration of what damage I have already done does not outweigh the determination to beat smoking and save myself now, once and for all. I can’t take back what I have already done, but I can sure as hell change it and try to fix it. It won’t be over night (although the more I think about the above list, the more I feel it should be). It will take me, a smoker of twelve years, a bit of adjusting. I am human and it is not the easiest habit to break. I can’t stress that enough. I am not sitting here screaming “PUT THAT CIGARETTE DOWN NOW!” or “I AM BETTER THAN EVERYONE BECAUSE I THOUGHT OF THESE THINGS!” I know other people think of these things and are just as human as I am. I just thought that by sharing, those people would know that they are not alone. It is always good to know that you are not the only one thinking these things and you aren’t morbid or strange because of it. You are simply so filled with love you couldn’t imagine being anywhere but beside your child/grandchild/niece/nephew/cousin/friend sharing it.
Love is the anti-cigarette. Go love, and start doing it fearlessly.