“Mom, was I only 8 whenever Dad died?”
That question came out of left field earlier this week, as Ben and I travelled from school to home. His brother, at football practice for another hour or so, was absent from the car. It was just the two of us.
“Yes, Benny, you were. That was a little over three years ago.”
“Well, Mom, that just really sucks…”
“I know, Ben. And unfortunately it will suck every day for the rest of your life. You and your brother don’t have your dad physically alongside you anymore. But you know he’s with you, don’t you?”
“Yeah, Mom. But it still sucks.”
Then, not a day later, Andrew (AJ), out of the blue exclaims, “I just wish I could hug Dad one more time.”
I know, boys, I know.
As great as we’re doing (and we are, thank you very much, God), we still have these moments. We always will.
My dad’s been gone for 10 1/2 years. I miss him every day. But I was lucky to have him for almost 41 years.
In comparison, AJ and Ben were merely 9 and 8 when Mark died.
I gave up on asking God “Why?” years ago. Some answers are just not here for us to find, this side of heaven.
There’s a greater plan for my boys, one that God is orchestrating.
The day their dad died, for all practical purposes, a big chunk of their childhoods died along with him.
With no way to prevent it, I decided, instead, to embrace it.
Our family motto? 100% transparency. In everything I do for the family. That’s how we roll.
No question or problem or issue is off the table. I made that commitment to them shortly after their daddy died. Come to me, you can ask me anything. No judging. No repercussions. No uneasy shifting in my chair when the tough questions arise.
I will tell you the truth. And, if you ask something that I don’t know, we’ll search for the answer together, as a team.
They feel comfortable with this arrangement. Believe me, as the teenage years come down the pike, I’m getting more questions and inquiries every day.
Forced to grow up in July of 2011, AJ and Ben have wisdom and experience beyond their biological years.
Their faith, their empathy, their love for me and for each other (whether they admit it or not!) amazes me. Thinking on a whole different plane than most kids their ages, they seem to be settling in to a comfortable routine with school and extracurricular activities.
I told folks, after Mark died, they had a good start. It was my job not to screw them up. And I really wasn’t joking when I said that.
By the grace of God, I’m not…at least not today 🙂
And at moments like this, on the day before what would have been their Dad’s 59th birthday, I remind myself to be thankful. We are healthy, we are happy, and we are living well.
It’s how their dad rolled.
Three lives well-lived. It’s the best way to honor their daddy. I know he’s proud.
Thank you, God, for healing. For sweet memories. And for the privilege of being Mom to AJ and Ben.
p.s. Please help me out, God, when we get to the questions about puberty. Amen