Father’s Day, a day that used to be so fun, full of joy, activities and celebration of the man that made our lives what they were. He worked very hard for us, so I could stay home with the boys, so the boys could be in sports and activities. He came home late almost every night, but tried to make it in time to kiss the boys goodnight before they went to bed. If he was needed at a practice, a game, an activity, to pick up or drop off, he dropped everything and was there. Many nights he worked late into the night at home so he could be present at games in the middle of the afternoon. He was not perfect, none of us are, but he was perfect to us.
These days are hard, the birthdays, the special anniversaries, but this one is different. Because the others are personal to us, this one is shared with the whole world. We can not get away from all the commercials on TV, or on the radio, all the displays in the stores, all the news stories. It hurts me, but it hurts more because it hurts the boys. I see their faces, I see their silence as these come up. They have no comment, they have nothing to say, they are just sitting there feeling sad and empty as they see everyone else celebrating Father’s Day. I know that not everyone celebrates, I know of too many just in our neighborhood who do not have daddies to celebrate with either. But in the boys’ mind, in what they mostly see around them, everyone has a daddy, all their friends have a daddy and they don’t.
The other day Jake came home and was very upset. It was something that happened while he was at school, I don’t know what, he didn’t elaborate, and I didn’t push it. But he came home asking me why he was emotionally challenged. At first I had no idea what he was talking about, I asked him what he meant, he said because he didn’t have a daddy but all the other kids did. These are the moments that you might as well stick a knife through my heart, it will hurt less.
Time does not heal everything, time does not make it all go away as if it never happened. This is part of our lives, it will forever be part of our lives. Aires will never be there for anything that happens in the boys’ lives, nothing at all. They know that, they know that he’s going to be missing for every major event. Jake wore his chain with Aires’ ashes for his 5th grade promotion. It’s as close as he could get to having daddy there with him, and he wanted him there so badly.
So, here we are, Father’s Day, it’s done, the boys are in bed. We made it through the day, as we always do. We celebrated Aires in every way possible. We built a Daddy Chair, it was supposed to go outside, but the boys wanted to keep it in the man cave so they can see it and use it all the time. We built a new grill so that we could grill again. Aires loved grilling, he made it a point to learn how to do it well, we grilled almost every weekend during the summer. As he didn’t come home until late most nights, we didn’t grill during the week, but on the weekend we grilled and we made sure to have enough for lots of leftovers. Last year our grill fell apart as I was using it, I got a new one, but we hadn’t built it yet. It felt right that we should do it today and use it for the first time.
As usual we did our balloon release with messages to daddy in heaven. This year even Rocky and Apollo participated. And both boys surprised me as they wanted to take care of dessert. Josh asked to learn how to make brownies (out of the box, I’m not going from scratch with him yet!), and then Jake asked to decorate them. They both felt very much involved, very much part of Father’s Day, to make the day about daddy, even if he was not here.
At the end of the day I told them about the butterfly. When I was walking the dogs first thing this morning, there was a black and white huge, beautiful butterfly that kept following us around. I looked at it several times, but just kept going. At one point, it flew real close to me, right in front of my face. I looked at it and said “Hi bud, Happy Father’s Day”, and after that the butterfly flew away. He wanted to make sure that I knew he was with us today, and I know he was. There was also a butterfly out on the porch when we were taking the new grill outside. I told them that daddy was proud of them for having built it.
This day is not easy, it never will be, but I want the boys to celebrate, I want them to remember daddy, to remember how fun and proud of them he was. I want them to start traditions that will continue as they get older and I will no longer be around, I want them to celebrate daddy for the rest of their lives on Father’s Day. Not just feel sad, not just wish he was here, but to be happy and remember the good days, the fun things we did, how he was present in their lives, how he loved them most of all, he loved them above everything and everyone else, those boys were the light in his eyes, the pride and joy in his heart.
I wish I could bring him back for them, but I can’t so I just try my best to keep him alive in their memories, in their lives, in all the small and big moments.
We love him, we miss him.