The sight of clothes carelessly scattered over the floor of my children’ rooms is often enough to get my blood pressure shooting up to lethal levels warranting a visit to the ER. Every pair of smelly socks that I unearth from under a sofa is usually a cue to open curtains on the most explosive show of fireworks ever displayed. One that would shame even the best Independence day celebrations in the country. The occasional ‘B’ among several ‘A’s on a child’s report card has been instrumental in me experiencing many fairytale-like fainting spells giving me a chance to test the strength of the smelling salts that I once bought over eBay. Feel free to pull up a chair because I can go on forever about all that my kids do or not do to push me to the brink of a cardiac arrest on any normal day. I am a perfectionist. Not by desire or design. I simply am one. Or I was until last year. A 15 year old child from our community took her last breath this week last year leaving us standing stunned at her funeral. She was a beautiful girl, so full of promises. She had enchanted many with her voice that flowed like a dream. She had played tennis with the grace and ease afforded by youth. She had brought home her share of good grades and she had laughed wildly with the abandon of a teenager. She would have sulked, rebelled and cried too. She could have been mine or yours. Today she is just a statistic. One more life carelessly snapped off before its time by Leukemia. What wouldn’t her parents do to see her clothes lying messily in her room today? What wouldn’t they give to see her walk through the front door one more time with a report card albeit a bad one? Where would they not go to retrieve her sweat drenched dirty socks? Walking back with a heavy heart on that fateful day, I realized that I had lost the desire to raise perfect, flawless children. I no longer wanted to see them grow up to be the future Bill Gates or Kalpana Chawla. I just wanted to see them grow up. It took the death of a child to make me understand this simple truth - our children are precious gifts that we quite so often forget to cherish and enjoy. While I wouldn't go as far as recommending that you give big hugs when your children next come home with a few ‘less than perfect’ grades (after all, you don't want to confuse the poor child ), I do ask that you take a minute out of this rat race that we call life and tell your child/children how much they mean to you. Do it today. Do it everyday. My heartfelt condolences to all the parents who have had to experience the excruciating pain of losing a child. May God give them the strength to survive this grief and find meaning in life.