I didn’t expect today to be so hard. I knew Mother’s Day was going to be rough, and it really, really was, but I wasn’t expecting today to fill me with so many emotions. The loss of my Mom and the end of my marriage have impacted my family in ways I never expected.
This is the first Father’s Day without my Mom. This is my Dad’s first Father’s Day without the woman who made him a father, without the love of his life. I can see the pain in his eyes and hear the hurt in his voice. I knew it would be hard for him, but the pain of the loss of my Mom has permeated every part of all of our lives. Without her, it feels like we are missing the glue that held us all together. She was the sane voice to mine and my Dad’s crazy. She always knew what to say and what to do for things to work out for the best. She was not only his rock, but mine and the boys’ rock, also. She was the voice of reason to all my Dad’s crazy ideas and his greatest supporter. She was my biggest fan and the one person I knew always had my back. She was the boys’ first best friend and first advice giver. Our world seems so much smaller without her.
The end of my marriage has brought about some unexpected consequences. Without me to buffer their Dad’s actions and decisions, the boys have fully realized who he is and who he is not. This day no longer has the same meaning it used to for them. It has been a very painful past few years for them, and this year has been very eye opening. I don’t know what the future holds in their relationship with him, but I do know nothing about it will be easy or what it could have been. This breaks my heart because I can’t imagine having that kind of rift with my Dad.
So, while today is hard, I am incredibly thankful for all the ways it’s not hard. My Dad is healthy and good and such an incredible Dad and Grampy. I don’t know what we would do without him. He has not only been a wonderful Dad to me growing up, he’s also been great as we’ve become friends as we both get older. He has a willingness to grow and change as he learns and experiences new things, and I am so happy that he can example that willingness to grow to my boys. They are learning what being a man truly is about. It’s not the words that are said, it’s the actions that are shown. It’s not being tough, it’s being real and honest. It’s not hiding your emotions and feelings, but sharing them so that those coming up under you and beside you know that it’s ok to have those feelings. It’s not just saying you’re sorry, but changing your behaviors to show you’re sorry for the wrongs you have done. It’s about spending time with the people that love you, so they know they’re important and special to you. And most importantly, exampling the kind of love Christ has for us. The love that meets us where we are instead of expecting us to change first, love that doesn’t have to be earned but is freely given. Love with no strings attached. My Daddy gives that in abundance and I know my Mama taught him that. I am just so thankful he was willing to listen and learn.
Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there who strive to be better today than they were the day before, but especially to my Daddy.