Looking at my beautiful little boy, I couldn’t help but tear up.

For a second, I needed to catch my breath. I created him. It really sank in.

The day itself was an event of unfortunate circumstances. Now, at almost dinnertime, we waited in the doctor’s office. Owen, my baby, was not well. I wasn’t yet ready to place money on it, but my sneaking suspicion was the flu.

As I continued to stare at him, I noted his innocence. He was still a child, but quickly growing up. Why did it take moments like this for me to realize just how lucky I was? Why did it take a sick boy for me to slow down and appreciate not only his beauty, but our time together?

My sneaking suspicion was right. Poor Owen tested positive for both strains. Now it was off to make phone calls to pharmacies. He needed medication and the rumor was that all the drug stores were sold out due to the flu epidemic.

The doctor assured me it was just protocol. I shed a few tears anyway. However, after everything my family had gone through I told myself all would be OK. We would survive anything.

Days later, it was my eight-year-old daughter’s turn to sit in the “sick” chair. I assumed she had picked up the flu from her brother. She didn’t. The doctor not only diagnosed her with norovirus, but needed a urine sample. I went pale and suddenly felt sick myself. I knew a hospital visit was in the offing.

I took a long stare at her. My beautiful, sweet little girl.

I just couldn’t go through this again.

She had to be OK.

A year before Julia was born, our Liam entered the world. He had a severe heart defect. After an intense surgery, he was doing quite well.

Until we got the call that would change our lives forever.

Liam died at nine days old.

I didn’t think I would survive the experience. As I found out about Liam’s illness during pregnancy, I didn’t think I would be able to handle having such a sick child.

However, losing him was the alternative we never saw coming.

How were we going to survive?

Somehow, we did.

Back in reality, I calmed down a bit. Julia had an issue that needed to be dealt with. I thought about my living children and the importance of enjoying every minute. I had been so stressed out lately and definitely not the best mom. Suddenly, I was immensely regretful.

Why couldn’t I appreciate what I already had?

In moments like these, nothing really matters except your children.

In the end, Julia was fine, albeit a little dehydrated. I promised that as soon as I got her home I would stop wasting the happy moments away.

The “happy moments” were the really simple ones.

Being together as a family was all we needed.

I know I am far from alone. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it is sometimes hard to keep up. Life is so hectic. As parents, we carry a lot of guilt. We want everything to be perfect for our kids.

I love my children more than words, but why did it take illnesses for us to slow and take a breather?

I am more than aware of their beauty, but why did it take doctors visits to realize just how breathtaking they were?

In the end, I was relieved. They recovered. However, I couldn’t let this happen again. I couldn’t take things for granted anymore.

While it is easier said than done, I am making an attempt. My budget doesn’t allow for a fancy family trip to Europe. We don’t have the funds for a family cruise.

Nevertheless, not an inking of that matters. I will keep it simple, like it should be.

Life is short and so precious.

I will make sure to engage them more when them come home.

I will make sure to always give that kiss goodnight.

I am not perfect, but I can try to be even better.

We all can.

Kathleen Sullivan

I am a freelance writer and full-time mom. My work has appeared on: The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Brain, Child Magazine, Mamalode xoJane, Parentco., Mommyish and Your Tango. I can also be found blogging at: http://www.threekidsonehusbandandabottleofwine.com/