I do not normally personalize my articles, however, I have experienced deep emotions this past week that have made me sit back and do a great deal of reflecting.

A high school friend of mine lost his 14-year-old daughter in a tragic accident last weekend. In the blink of an eye his entire life changed. It is so important to realize how very precious life is before it is too late.

I am not saying it’s not important to make sure your kids learn how to take care of themselves or that they don’t need to learn manners or how to do their own laundry. I am not saying it is not okay to get annoyed with your teen’s backtalk or disrespectful behavior. But what I am saying is to take the time to think about what is important and what you can let slide; why you should put down your phones and play a game with your kids, watch a Youtube video with them, run around outside with them, get to know their passions, fears and even every day “angst.” You might not know the right things to say or how to handle certain situations and that’s okay. The main idea is to be PRESENT for your kids and for yourself and know that every moment is precious.

My friend and his daughter lived life like that. There are no words to take away his pain but hopefully his tragedy can be a lesson to others to cherish what you have and make the most of every day and moment you have with your children. It certainly has with me. Being a parent is definitely not easy, but the reward you reap from knowing you did your best and raised another human being to go out into the world to then do the same with their own children is priceless.