My girls are blessed with the best possible people on this earth that love and care for them. Grammy, Grandma, Aunties, Uncles, Guncles and 2 of the best cousins ever! But sometimes I feel as though they're missing out.
Not on love, affection or good role models as we have plenty of those, but someone else for them to love. Both (Wayne & I's) dads have passed away - long before these sweet girls were even a twinkle as they say. Wayne lost his Dad (who we refer to as Papa Norman) when he was only 11, and there are so many ways that he misses his dad and things he didn't learn from him. My dad passed away suddenly when I was in college, 3.5 hours from home. It was 17 years this past March and I still remember it like it was yesterday. I was devastated and scared and numb for what seemed like forever after he died. Later that year, I met Wayne and finally someone understood me - and not only did he understand me, he understood my little brother as well - win, win. I struggle with my emotions on a regular basis, and sometimes the littlest things, like a freakin' Hallmark commercial will make me sob. Any movie about fathers and daughters makes me a crying mess - I used to love Father of the Bride with Steve Martin, but cannot even fathom watching it now.
Back to our daughters....they are loved by just about everyone that they spend time with. They are sweet and goofy and respectful (most of the time, ahem) and genuinely the best thing we've ever done. But I witnessed something a few days ago that made me feel guilty. Guilty for something I cannot change or every explain to them. We have family in town for Thanksgiving, my sweet aunt and uncle from IL. My girls have very fond memories of spending time with them over their short lives - they are fun and kind and full of hilarious (or not so much) stories of me as a little girl. They teach my girls something new every time they see them and it's so nice to see them develop this sweet relationship with another generation.
They arrived this past Sunday and from the minute they entered the house, Little G followed my uncle around. If he went to the restroom, she stood outside until he was done. She asked to sit next to him at the table. She brought all of her books to him to read to her. And then she put her sweet head on his chest and laid down while he rubbed her back. I had to excuse myself. I was shocked at how that image upset me. Something so "everyday" that had the power to turn me into an emotional boob. What was even more upsetting was that in my head I kept thinking "it shouldn't be my uncle doing that, it should be her Papa or her Grampy doing that".
I have wonderful memories of quiet moments like those with both of my grandfathers. I lost one of them when I was quite young, but still hear from him every now and then in my dreams. My other grandfather I had longer than I had my own father and I remember so much laughter and silliness and knowledge shared at his table.
Ms. J was named after my dad, which has become tradition in my family. I wish she could know how much he would have loved her and how he would have spoiled her and enjoyed her. And for my Little G, he would have loved the fact that she looks just as I did when I was little, crazy hair and all and how she laughs with abandon and is fearless like my brother.
What do you tell your kids when it becomes obvious that someone is missing? For now we say that they are angels who watch over them. How do you share the sweetness of having a grandfather when they'll never know theirs? How can we talk to them about our fathers without scaring them about the idea of death? So many questions that I may be getting ahead of myself on, but I think I need to start figuring out some answers.