It started early and ended late. In between…
Tears from a 2 1/2 year old boy who fears every time daddy walks out the door he might not come back- just like his Papa.
Toasted sourdough with nutty, natural peanut butter, honey drizzled in squiggle shapes, creamy coffee washing it down.
Familiar sunscreen smells on face and arms in preparation for Olivia’s park birthday.
Proud moment squeals. “Mama, I did it.” Ty grabs my hand and gestures toward the completed alphabet floor puzzle.
Let’s go! Hands clean up Legos, puzzle pieces, coloring books and crayons, they grab water bottles and climb into the car.
Blue sky, breezy late morn welcomes first birthday festivities with a pink O-L-I-V-I-A banner, flower-colored balloons dancing near potted daisies.
Chinese chicken salad and sandwiches, ice tea and lemonade. Flower-shaped pb&j, snap-pea snacks, garden carrots, apple juice for young mouths anticipating cupcakes topped with orange, yellow, blue and pink frosting swirls.
Paint-your-own terracotta pot; scents mixed with paintbrush dabs, earth and seeds.
“Mama, hold me,” Ty wails, now nearing five hours of atypical clingy-ness, demanding attention while pulling my heartstrings. Why today? Words from a friend I haven’t seen since dad died: “I’m so sorry about your dad! When I had my miscarriage, the worst was when people didn’t acknowledge or say anything. How are you?
Hands held, we pray a blessing over the sweet birthday girl. Ty still at my hip, Galel’s father’s hand on my back and Donna’s arm on my shoulder, I feel safe, and find my own tears dropping to the floor.
Shoulders sunned, we drive to mom’s while boys snore in the backseat, Bryan and I unwind about the party, Ty’s day-long meltdown, the joy at celebrating life, the sorrow at missing dad. We pull up to see dad’s much-loved red sports car sold to a new owner- a physical reminder of dad’s absence and I breathe in sharp.
Grilled shrimp mandarin salad, big chunks of avocado and spicy vinaigrette. Margaritas on the rocks- the glass cold and clanky.
Spring in full bloom, wafts of roses, jasmine and cut grass mix with chlorine pool splashes from Tanner’s nearby cannonball.
“Papa’s shoes!” the boys squeal as Mimi gifts them each a pair of dad’s- the same ones they hid every time he’d visit. An unforgettable gesture, no doubt hours of dress-up and play ahead.
My turn- a meltdown in the kitchen, my grief overwhelmed at dad’s beloved car sold, another reminder at this permanent change. Tears of disappointment, wishing he was swimming with the boys and joining our dinnertime conversation, sadness at seeing his shoes on the boy’s feet, knowing he will not run down the hall in search of their hiding spots. Thumbing through his CD collection and stopping at Celine Dion and Neil Diamond’s greatest hits. Wracking sobs. More tears. Empty poured out. Embracing mom, I cling to her presence.
So thankful we only have to take one at a time.
Praying for strength, peace, joy, and grace for whatever tomorrow brings.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ~ Matthew 6:33, 34