The "firsts" of everything come with anxiety and uncertainty. For me this one also came with purpose. And my purpose was not simply to "survive" it, but to be intentional about it. This was the first time I felt able to put some thought into one of these days.
In the weeks prior I spent some time in thought about what Aria and I could do, starting this year, to honor and remember her daddy. I thought of what I would have done for Brandon's first Father's Day, and how could that translate in some ways?
I probably would have made him sleep in and brought him breakfast in bed. We would have had a lazy morning then the three of us would have gone to the driving range together so daddy could hit a bucket of balls. In a couple of years we all would have had our own bucket to hit, with daddy critiquing our swings and giving us tips. He probably would have only hit a few balls himself, taking more joy in watching and helping his girls. We would then have a picnic lunch at a park and probably spent the rest of the evening with family for dinner.
But that's not our reality. And tears fell freely imagining what could have been.
Instead, I got to sleep in til 9 am (thank you Aria!) We had a lazy morning together, and during her morning nap I sat outside and painted 2 bird houses.
Brandon loved birds and would feed them with numerous feeders around the yard. He even had a heated bird bath for the winter so they could drink easily. He saw it a challenge to identify all the birds that came and find the particular kind of feed they preferred. So every year on Father's Day Aria and I will paint birdhouses and hang them in the back yard. Then, someday when she moves out she can take all of her painted birdhouses to her home to bring a little bit of daddy with her.
|My thumbprint heart birdhouse and Aria's hand smudge birdhouse.|
|Sharing Daddy's favorite burrito.|
|Just hanging out.|
I was hoping to take a walk on the paths of Fox Hollow Golf Course with Aria, however she wasn't really up for it by the time we left the cemetery, but maybe next year. So we headed home and played together.
All in all, it was. It's hard to say it was "nice". I mean, it was purposeful and meaningful. But it was missing something. It always will. And that sucks. There is no getting around it.
But I leave my hope in God. And I know that no matter what pain and loss we feel here, nothing will be lost in Heaven. Somehow, beyond my understanding, Brandon is not loosing his opportunity to be a father to Aria. And I will do everything possible for Aria to feel like she knows her daddy.
Not long ago, a friend of mine gave me a priceless gift. She has walked very closely with me through this experience and our friendship has blossomed in the past year since she moved back to Colorado. Due to frequent moves in the past few years she never got to know Brandon personally. However, she encouraged me with some beautiful insight that I have held close to my heart. She told me that if I talk about Brandon to Aria in any way like I talk about him to her, Aria will undoubtedly know exactly who her daddy was. From his silly nuances and annoying habits to his wise council and unwavering love. She will know him. All of him that I can give to her.
And I am grateful for that. I already talk constantly about him with her.
I joke; "Daddy would have told me to stop trying to pick the booger out of your nose and just leave you alone!"
I inform; "Daddy probably wouldn't like me allowing you to do that."
I say tearfully and longingly; "Daddy would have loved to see you do that, sweet girl."
It's important to me that all her associations with daddy are not sad. That's not how he would want his baby girl to know him. Linked with loss and pain. No. He was full of life, love and laughter. The loss is ours, not his. But someday, that loss will be no more. And that's what I live for.