|Photo by Travis Heying|
This is for my girls.
I have been finding myself very nostalgic lately. Not sure if it's the fact that I just had a baby, and hormones are still somewhat on overdrive. Or, if it's because my "big baby" will be turning five next month and is growing up all too quickly.
Since Brian's death, many dates and anniversaries are trigger points for heavy emotions. And most are dates that no one else would ever even think of...
Natalie's birthday has been a hard one. And as her 5th birthday approaches this year, I can't help but realize that she has spent as much time in her life without Brian, as she did with him.
It's funny the older she gets the more and more I see Brian through Natalie. Last night, after dance class, we went out to Braums for cheeseburgers. We rarely eat fast food, but I assumed she still liked cheeseburgers. When we sat down to eat, she proceeded to disassemble the sandwich and pick all of the cheese off. She informed me that she "no longer cares for cheese on her burger." Ok, I thought, no big deal...but then it occurred to me that as her taste buds have been becoming more and more refined she has become more and more like her father. No loner will eat ranch dressing (what 4 year old doesn't like ranch) or mayonnaise on anything, and prefers BBQ sauce over ketchup, and strawberry sauce on her ice cream over chocolate. Just like her dad. I don't know why it surprises me, she is half of him, and I know they are just small things. But it makes me smile, because those are things she never would have remembered.
The older she gets the more she amazes me. I can't believe that she will be starting kindergarten next year. I learned of her acceptance to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton yesterday. I can't wait to see her in her jumper and am so excited for all the joys that lie ahead in her school years. Then it dawned on me, as it always does, that Brian won't be here to watch her walk in on that first day. And this will only be the first of many "firsts" that he will miss. He won't be here to see her loose her first tooth, her first driving experience, her first date, graduation, ect. I could go on and on. And it makes me angry, sad and angry. I know people are only trying to make you feel better, when they say, "he will be there...he will see her.....he's always there, watching over you both." And don't get me wrong, I do believe that he is always here, watching over us. But it's not the same. Because he's NOT REALLY HERE.
But when it overwhelms me, I try to take a step back and think of all the blessings that Natalie and I have. What a blessing she is to me. And although I know that she and I have been robbed of so much, we are blessed with more. I am so thankful that Natalie is here, that she had the time she did with Brian. Thankful that she now has a father figure in Derek, whom she thinks of as a dad and he treats her as his own. Thankful that Natalie and Kate have each other, I always wanted a sister. And thankful that Natalie has no memory of September 28th, as where I can recall almost every minute of that day.
The other day, one of Natalie's friends was over and they were looking at the pictures in the hallway... there are several of Brian and I with Natalie as a baby. When Lauren asked Natalie "Who is that your mom is with? One of her friends?" Natalie replied "That's not her friend....that is MY DAD." And then she smiled and says "He's not here, but he watches me from heaven." They did not know I was in the other room, listening, holding back the tears. But all I could think is that I am so proud of her. I know that God has big plans for Natalie. And I find strength through her, everyday.