Monday, June 27, 2011

Here comes, there goes Father's Day and every thing in between then and now

So Lisa S. comes into my office weeks ago and asks me for the link to my blog.  She said she enjoyed reading it but lost the link, could I please give it to her.  Ummm. Yes, of course.  But, ummm, you haven’t missed anything because I don’t remember the last time I posted something.  That interaction has been in the back of my mind ever since.  I have started, and then abandoned, many posts since.  The latest, about Father’s Day, was titled “So here comes Father’s Day.” Obviously the day has come and gone so the title is now “Here comes, there goes, Father’s Day and everything in between then and now.”  That should catch me up. J 

I am going to work backward in this post.  Starting with “everything in between.”  So, since Father’s Day, summer has been in full swing.  My glorious Mondays off from work are just not the same with the kids home.  Ron has offered me the key to his house for “Summer Mondays” so I can have some peace and quiet.  I knew my house was loud but didn’t realize how loud until I sat on the couch in Ron’s house and heard the clock ticking away.  I can’t remember the last time I actually sat and heard a clock ticking away.  But sitting here writing that I think … how wonderful is that??  My kids are having fun.  They have friends over.  My front door is constantly opening with the arrival of another friend.  I feed them lunch, sort of, dinner – most definitely, and sometimes breakfast (usually they are on their own.) But, just the thought of them going on with life, creating lifetime memories with friends – that in itself, makes me happy.  It is what I would have imagined life would have been like if things didn’t turn out the way they did.  With the hand they were dealt, things could be so much different.  I am thankful that they have seemed to take what was dealt and just rolled with it.  Yes, we have always been a pretty laid back family, roll with the punches kind of brood, but, well, you just never know.  I will never be the parent that says “Not my kid!”  because you just never know. 

So, Father’s Day.  I suppose each of us (the kids and I) have our own vision of what it is and what it was.  As their mother I think I think too much.  For weeks before the day I was constantly thinking about how they feel, how can I make the day better for them?  Are they thinking of their dad, essentially a good thing? Or, are they thinking how it sucks that everyone gets to celebrate and it is just another reminder of what they have lost?  My kids don’t talk much about it unless I force them to.  Actually, Cal talks with me all the time about it.  The other three, not so much.   I know in time they will.  I am envisioning a time when the kids are all grown up, with families of their own, and we are sitting around at Thanksgiving, after a few bottles of wine, and they just let loose.  They tell me everything I did wrong and hopefully a few things I did right.  Either way, I will love them just the same.  As Oprah said “I did the best I could.  When I knew better, I did better.”  This is as much a learning process for me as it is for my kids.  I think this is pretty universal for all moms.  Our biggest worry is our kids.  Are they going to grow up and be OK?  Is what I am doing now going to have a positive influence on their life as an adult?  I don’t think it matters what the circumstances are, all moms (and dads) just want their kids to be “okay” when they grow up.  Meaning, no lingering negative effects from childhood … what we, as parents, did wrong or could have done better.  The only challenge is that I think my learning curve has to be much smaller so that I can stay ahead of the kids and what they are feeling and going through.   
Going back a few weeks before Father’s Day….

So here comes father’s day…

I would have to say that Father’s Day, September 8th and October 7th are the most difficult for me.  Not because of the way I feel about those days but because of the uncertain-ness of the way my kids feel about those days.  How do you celebrate Father’s day when you are a young kid and don’t have a dad around?  What is the best way to recognize and celebrate your dad’s birthday if he is not here to celebrate with you?  And, do you mourn or celebrate life on the anniversary of their death?

I am so blessed to have both of my parents alive so I don’t know what it is like to lose a parent.  I can only think though, as an adult, losing your mom or dad, however painful, is not the same as losing either one when you are 5, 10, 12, and 13.  There are so many missed memories when you lose your mom or dad as a kid, so young.  As the surviving parent of such a situation, I feel an overwhelming need to make sure and have a driving need to keep the memory alive, move forward, remember and not forget and at the same time remember how blessed we are with what we have.

My kids seem to be well adjusted.  They are doing great in school.  They are active with sports, academics and community service.  They have an amazing group of friends.  They seem happy.  Sometimes I wonder if it is just me that looks at the dates on the calendar and assigns them a level of significance.  I seem to be the only one who brings up … “so what do you want to do on Father’s Day?” or “It’s Daddy’s birthday, what do you want to do?”  One side of me thinks that it is my job to bring it up and if I didn’t I would hear years from now, as we are all sitting around a table, me old and gray, and them chasing their own kids around, saying “mom never mentioned Dad.”  Or if I bring it up too much I will hear “We were fine until Mom kept bringing everything up and made us think about every holiday, every memory.”  Who knows what the correct balance is?  Certainly not me.  I guess this is the perfect time for a shout out to my cousins Heide and Christian and ask … what the hey??? What do you wish adults would have done differently when your mom was sick and passed away?  I know as a kid when it all happened, I was confused and had no idea what was going on and I was only a niece.  I can’t even fathom what it was like as a child whose mom/dad was no longer there.  Or, now that I am older, the adult, the parent … Uncle Peter, what do I do?  What should I do, say or not do and say?”  I am going to bet on the fact that there is no correct answer to that question.  Every situation is different.

And now… a week or so after Father’s Day…going into July…summer in full swing,  LC has transitioned into high school without missing a beat.  Cal is ready for second grade. I am not sure second grade is ready for him.  B is looking into colleges and O has taken in stride the fact that her best friends are not going to be with her for Junior high.  All this seems normal and exactly what would have happened if their dad were here or not.  I know he would be proud of them.  They are amazing kids. 

My first thought is…wow…this is so long.  Thank you for staying with me to this point.  Second thought…this is so much information that I should be good for at least a few more weeks, a month, before I blog again. 

And finally, I have found that some people really, for some reason, like to have a shout out.  So, here goes the shout outs…for those who have been waiting for it and for those who are taken totally by surprise …

Lisa S. – Thank you for giving me the motivation to continue to write the next post
Sue V.H. – For your bravery and love – you are amazing!
Terry T. and Nancy  – for not judging, knowing life gets busy, and for keeping in touch!
Lunch Bunch – my lunch half hour/hour is just not the same without you.
Tami/Bern/Kari/Terri/Bern – original peeps – “nuff said.
Mai – I miss you!

I am thankful for the countless people in my life who have kept me and my family in their prayers.   Hope and Faith.  That is all you need.