Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Father's Day was June 20th. It was the first one without Thomas and was a bit difficult. We'd just come home from vacation where I was able to rest my mind a bit or I might not have done even as well as I did.
I got up early to write Father's Day letters to my pastor and to my children's Godfather. There is just no card that I could get for either of them that would tell them how much they have meant to our family.I cried through the morning thinking of Thomas and of these two men and others who have embraced my children since Thomas' death. These two have always been there, but naturally have stepped up since Thomas died.
My children have the best Godparents they could have. Being a person of faith, I feel God put us in relationship with them knowing we would face a lot of challenges. The twists and turns of life that came with Thomas' physical challenges and his passing would have been impossible to navigate without that family by our side. They are the doting types and have embraced my children from the beginning. From the time I found out I was pregnant the first time around, I had the choice made and I have only been grateful for it. They have been there for my children and therefore been there for me. They've stepped forward that much more since Thomas died, but I knew they would. I believe Thomas knew they would.
But they aren't the only ones. I've seen throughout this horrid tragedy that though nothing can change it and no one can replace their father, that the male leaders in our church plan to embrace my children and mentor my son. From the time Thomas passed away, and my son showed he was alert enough to notice people, they began to interact with him. It was sort of this thing that just happened without a specific word spoken. Thomas mentored several boys who didn't have fathers. I had some moms approach me after the funeral to thank me for his time. Now I have one of those boys, but I am grateful for the support I'm getting. One man coaches several sports and said he'd coach Elijah one day if he chose baseball, football (God help me) or track.
Days we celebrate will come and go and this one did not go without some heartache. I went to church and was fine until a particular worship song was done. I don’t know what it is about this song, but the last time they did the song, the same thing happened. I ended up grabbing Elijah and running out. I sat with him in the room they have for nursing mothers until I was okay again. The rest of the service I was fine even though the message (being that it was Father's Day) was focused on exorting the men to step up and take their responsibilities more seriously because there are too many women having to be both mother and father.
My situation not being one either Thomas or I had a choice in was little comfort at the moment. I saved myself for marriage to avoid this situation, being a single parent to two babies. I'm not the only person in the world though and what my pastor said, sure is true enough and my pastor is of what he speaks. Before the message, they played a Father's Day video his children made and the adoration they so obviously have for him that shows all the time, came screaming from this video. I know he's been a daddy for me whenever I needed one. I can still remember telling them I was unexpectedly pregnant. I remember the gentleness I saw in his eyes and the kindness I heard in his voice as he reassured me God had a plan and things would work out. He didn't know it, but his reaction was one I so desparately needed and one I am holding on to even more now.
Their father would be here if he could. As I composed those two aforementioned letters, I cried thinking of my children, some were tears of sadness, but some of those were grateful tears. I'm very fortunate to have the children. I frequent an online young widow's group and so many of them did not get to have children before their spouse died.
After church we drove the hour to the cemetary. We hadn't been there since burying Thomas, so it brought out all the questions Ariana had again and I spent most of the time standing there explaining it to her. Not sure if I ever really can. She will likely just have to develop an understanding as she gets older. Thomas is buried in his hometown, so after that, we visited family. My father-in-law called while I was there and I talked to him and that was nice. He kept telling me he wouldn't forget me, that he'd be there for us, that if we needed anything to call and not to just sit wanting. He's on dialysis, so doesn't travel much. He has a portable machine which allowed him to come to Thomas' funeral, but he's home most of the time.
I stayed there an hour and a half, then we came home. I called my sister who helped me get up the courage to call our father. I hadn't spoken to him in 8 years. I last saw him in 2002 when my mother and I went to my brother's college graduation. We lost touch after that and neither my brother, sister nor I knew where he was or even if he was still alive. This entry would get too long if I detailed that conversation, but I got through it. He seems okay. What's odd? Thomas prayed for him every day. Every single day he prayed he'd resurface and we could resume our relationship. It was hard when I couldn't talk to Thomas about it. But it's far from the first time that's happened in the last 3 months.
I talked to my father about 90 minutes. I also let Ariana talk to him. The girl has never met a stranger. She talked to him like she'd known him all her life. Not a Father's Day I'll be forgetting I'd bet. Geez, 2010 is only half over.
Thank goodness for vacations. I literally busted my behind to pay for it and to earn enough vacation time to avoid missing a paycheck but it was worth it. The constant sound of the ocean, the change of scenery, the absence of work and the escape from the daily grind, just me and my babies...hard to top it. Cleared my head enough to wrap my brain around some things I'd been struggling with the last couple of months. But we also had a really good time. Taking them off on a trip like that alone, left me tired, but also pretty proud of us...and me. I promised Ariana it wouldn't be our last vacation. That was how I got her out of the hotel on checkout day, but I'll keep the promise for all of us.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
So, I'm going to do the best I can. Some days are better than others. Some days I can go to work, come home, cook diner, have great conversations with Ariana, bathe both children, shower and by 8:00, I'm sitting on Ariana's bed reading to both children. Then there are other days where after eating take out, we all pass out on my bed in the clothes we wore that day. Getting us settled here is going to take time and patience, and the right combination of acknowledging what we've been through, but continuing to develop at a good rate. I'm determined we'll get there. Thomas never crawled into a corner and neither will I. I won't run from this challenge. I'm just going to take a break...and I'm taking my babies with me.