I have struggled with how to begin this for a long time. It seems I can never find the right way to formulate the words. Then it hit me in the place most things hit me, while I was mowing the yard. Even with the drone of the lawn mower the rest of the world becomes silent to me and that is when my mind takes over. Tell the story, you know the one you always tell. Yes that was it, I needed to start with that story because it says a lot in just a few words. It seems no matter what I am trying to convey it always relates back to a memory I have with my family. So that is how I am going to start and maybe the next time it will come a little easier. I hope it does and I hope it will speak to someone else, either through a laugh or a tear.
My kids never got to meet my mother, neither did my wife. All they have are the stories that come from the mind of an eternal 12 year old. My mother saw me turn 12, and then a month later she left this world. So it was a great moment for me to share my memories when my oldest son, at that time four years old, brought the picture I had of my mom to me and asked who she was. I explained that was my mommy, who died when I was young. This confused him somewhat because he knew he had a grandma and a grammy. So I tried as best I could to explain in his terms how the woman in the picture was the one who had me, but got sick and died when I was younger. I could tell he began to understand because he would ask questions about how I went to live with grammy and grampy. I shared with him as best I could what had happened and I could see he was thinking very deeply. Silence from my son doesn’t mean you have stumped him, it means he is processing what you have given him and is about to hit you with the mother of all questions.
Instead of a question, which I was already trying to figure out an answer for, he made a statement that made me cry. Not a sorrowful cry, these were tears of understanding. I take no shame in shedding tears, I do have emotions and they should be shown. My son said “Daddy, your mommy is here with you always” and he placed his hand over my heart. He looked deep into my eyes with all the conviction a four year old can have in the situation, smiled, and ran off to play. After a few moments of shock I looked at my wife, and I could see we both had the same sense of awe in what he said. Perhaps he didn’t understand all of what I said to him, but he knew that mommys and daddys are there in you heart no matter what.
I have always known that my mother was there with me, taking in every moment whether there in person or not, but to have my son tell me that drove it home. Sometimes we rush through life from one activity to another, and lose those moments to show how much we care. Other times we tell life to take a hike and just spend the time enjoying things as a family so that we have memories to last forever. What stands out though is not those moments but everything combined, a clear line from one to the next where we always are together being a family. From those memories you will have moments that always stand out, but the whole thing combined shapes our lives forever.
I can go on and on, but I need to take a break and take in another moment with my family. I will be back soon to add to the story, but for now go and let your loved ones touch your heart.