Our Story Begins:
Changes And Why We Need Them
Things change. It’s inevitable. I know that.
Yet those changes aren’t always as evident until you stumble on something from before those changes.
The picture up there is from a stack of pictures that I found while looking for photos for a project. It was taken by my late wife, who decided it was too cute to have my daughter nearly asleep on my head. It’s also clear because, quite frankly, it’s blurry. My wife was a terrible photographer sometimes, even though she took photography classes from a Pulitzer winning photographer. The day is clear in my head, it was when the AKSARBEN race track in Omaha, Nebraska held a balloon lighting. Tons of hot air balloons made my daughter’s eyes and mouth go wide. The track is now gone, the event that was held is gone with it. It comes from an era when I had one child and it was happier times early in our marriage.
I also found an old video clip of my son, a stick in the shape of a letter “y” in his hands, walking down and around our previous house. He said it was like magic, he found water, and pointed at the sprinkler control panel in the ground. It was totally cute.
That video was taken just a couple months before his mom passed away. At this point, my wife was not behind the camera. Things had changed, a lot. By this point my wife had gone through horrible depression. Medication had taken some of the edge off, but she was hurting. She also had chronic pain in her knees. Her relationship with her kids was loving, but there were times it was just hard.
It’s those things that the photo and the video don’t show that hurt. My initial reaction to the video was just how tiny, cute, and imaginative the little boy in that video is. He had Spongebob Crocs on his feet and a shirt with a guitar on it. He was outside running around. It was after seeing the date, just a few months before his mom’s passing that hits you in the gut. This tiny, wonderful little boy is oblivious to the fact that in a few weeks his world will change forever. Same with the little girl in that picture, she has no idea that she has a mere, what, ten years with the woman taking the photo?
Sometimes my daughter makes comments about the things she had to learn from others because she didn’t have a mom to show her. It’s never meant in malice or as a slam toward me, it’s just her telling her own story. But it still hurts. I know it’s true and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about the fact that, just maybe, there’s more I should do. I should interact more with parents at school or took an active role in the issues my daughter had. I taught her some things: I was the one showed her and her sister how to shave their legs. I bought tampons and maxi pads without embarrassment.
As for her brother, the imagination has not left him, he’s still very creative. Yet the delight and skip in his step is diminished. Some of it is puberty, sure. Much of it, though, is the diminished female presence in his household, too. He loved his mom, even though they often clashed.
And yet . . . as much as things have changed, as much is as missing in our home . . . things are good.
And sometimes that’s the hardest part. Moving ahead knowing that you’re doing well without her may be the hardest thing my kids have had to discover is a lot easier than we ever wanted it to be.
But they’re thriving. How could any father be unhappy with that outcome?
How about you? How do you feel about change?