I watched a Bruce Springsteen video as a coping mechanism and then dissolved into a puddle of tears because MY DAD INTRODUCED ME to the man who's music has had such a powerful influence on my life.
And so then I sat with it. And I made myself write it out. Because that's what I do when things hurt in the deepest places...I write it out.
Daddy is wonderful in a million and one ways. He's super smart. And very humble. He's a deep thinker. He's an introvert. He gets me. He sends the best texts. He uses emoticons and in this incredibly weird way, he communicates emotion through them that he, a self-described graduate of the John Wayne School of Manhood, hasn't really ever been able to before.
He is Graves Herrington's biggest fan. He literally loves that little boy like no one else (besides me and his papa and sister, of course) ever could. They have such a special bond. Because Mickey never had a son, he's all but claimed Graves. I remember when he was tiny, just old enough to sit and really play, he and Mickey rolled a ball back and forth for ten minutes. It was the happiest I had seen Graves ever. And it was maybe the happiest I had seen my dad. At some point during this little game, Cookie as Daddy if he wished he had had his own little boy. He looked at her, perplexed, and said "What? I've got one right here".
So many of his little nicknames originated with Mick. He's the one who originally said (when he was a few months old)-- "he's my Bud" and talked about how they'd be fishing buddies. Of course, that stuck. Then he started calling him "The Budinator", probably because he breaks every damn thing. He also calls Graves his "happy little guy" and it's such a perfect description of his infectious little personality.
The other week we went over to my parents' house. We had gone longer than usual without seeing them (a week and a half) and Minnie just ran to the kids and started hugging them and asking them a million questions. Daddy, in his quiet way, came over and put his arm around me and said "And how's my girl?".
The move is finally hitting him and I hate watching that. He's really been in a place of denial, to be frank, and it sucks to see him come to terms with it.
I am going to miss him terribly.
Momma is an amazing care-taker. She's an extremely hard worker. She's gracious and she's kind and she is the epitome of what a Southern woman should be. She's an excellent cook, seamstress, and gardener. She's dealt with loss and she's done so with unimaginable eloquence.
She is more than a grandmother to my children. I don't know what she is, but she's more. The day she told me that she loved them as much as she loved me and Cookie was one of my favorite days ever. She constantly lines herself up with my grandmother (her mother) Bump, who was in a very real way one of my best friends when she was here on Earth. And she gets scared she's not enough. But, I can't fathom our babies not growing into the same honest, beautiful, like-no-other relationship God gifted Cookie and I with in Bump. Except when I get scared. Scared that this move will ruin all that for them and the chance at that will be gone. I'm terrified and guilt-ridden thinking that I would deny three people such a blessing.
From a very young age, she's been a true confidante to me and Cookie. A lot of people don't have that with their parents, or don't have it until later in life. But we have that sort of unique relationship with her where we really can tell her anything. And it's been that way, really, since our teenage years.
Which brings me to this. She is, among other things, my mothering model. I've never said and I never will say she did everything right (she wouldn't want me to!), but she parented us in a way I cannot describe how much I admire and appreciate. She was the first one to sit and process things with me and I credit her so much with how well-managed my anxiety was. It could have been so, so much worse. She was also the kind of mother who embodied grace. You knew that what you told her might shock her, but there was never any concern about the status of the relationship or about her unconditional love and acceptance.
She's my biggest cheerleader, my sounding board, my main cookbook, my children's personal seamstress, my parenting helpline, and my safe place when I'm exhausted, defeated, and scared.
I am going to miss her terribly.
Trying to see the good-- there are phones, there are phones with VIDEO CHAT features, there are computers, and there are airplanes. I'm thankful to live in the time we do where living with the barrier, though excruciating, won't be impossible. But some days, that doesn't feel like enough.
And we're coming back. I have to remind myself that this is temporary. A year or two or three seems like a lot when every day my children are changing and growing (and making me more and more tired). But in the context of a lifetime, it appears more manageable.
To see a list of previous posts in the series, click here.