Every Spring I feel you here along with the cartoonish green hills and cotton ball clouds glued onto the monochromatic blue skies by the sticky fingers of a preschooler. Four years of Springs, every one a new path through the hills.
I want to run to you this year, as if you could give me wisdom. I want to hear your words reminding me that I will be okay. That I can do this. I want to have conversations with you about my life, now—reminisce with you about the ups and downs of our life together. Look back and laugh about how it all seemed so big and important and hard sometimes, but with that knowledge we came to have from growing through it together—from never giving up. I want to land in that spot where I can expose all of my feelings (ugly and raw, beautiful and tender) without fear. I want to remember those times with someone.
I miss that.
I miss that barn that we built that is still standing inside of me.
I sit with my tangled feelings. I fill notebooks, sketchpads, and grow calluses on my fingers finding the rhythm of my breath in the curves and lines. I am learning to be quiet, to listen, to sit. I am learning to create peace for myself.
In the morning sun I find the quiet, when the house is asleep or empty. You know it used to be the night hours that were mine, but things shift with teenagers I suppose. So I find my place. I create my happy, quiet where I can hear myself, and I give thanks for all that I do have, all that you provided for us, and I hope that I am doing my very best to honor what we planned—I think I am, but I wish I could ask you.
This one, she’s already looking at colleges. In fact, I think she’s picked one. We always said she knew what she wanted, and that hasn’t changed. I don’t think she’ll ever stop being Daddy’s girl. She got her permit and already drives like a pro. You’d be proud. I have to work hard not to give her the world, I know you would have failed miserably. But just like you, she works hard for everything she has.
You would be amazed at the independence, calm, and maturity your son exhibits. He serves on more committees than anyone in their right mind should—and he does it by choice. He’s methodical about the things that matter to him, and continues to hide a plethora of skills and knowledge just as he did when he was little. He’s not running off to a four-year college to start, but if you knew how much tuition had gone up, I’m pretty sure you’d be on board with that decision. And he’s got a great friend and male role model there to his side. I couldn’t have chosen a better partner for myself or our family.
A heart is not an easy thing to open when it’s lost so much, and I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am that I jumped in and opened mine. Just as it took effort for us to develop and grow together from ages 19-40, I know it will take work to build this new barn. But both times I have been blessed with the most important part—my person, whom I love to the core. So, bumps, humps, empty nests, and all the rest, I miss you and wish I could share all the good, the changes, and the challenges I face because you knew me so well that I feel like you’d be the person who could shed more insight and support than anyone. I cannot lie and say that it’s not difficult to go without that piece of my life in place. I leaned hard on you for that kind of support for a very long time. It’s difficult doing life without you.