Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day 2015

This Father's Day post is excruciating for me to write. 
In some ways I don't even want the men who I'm celebrating to read it quite yet.
Not yet, guys; maybe not today.  Today may be too hard.
I don't know where to start, which is somehow a first for me. 
I don't where to start except for to say that I have the greatest dad in the world.  And I mean it.  When celebrating strong father's; strong men-he is who I think of.  Today I cried in the Walgreens card aisle because there is just no way to put into words what I feel for him today and every day. 
 My dad is a rock.  He is steady. 
When looking back on my childhood I will remember one thing:  when things got hard in a marriage, our home, or just in life-
My dad stuck it out.
Not everyone can say the same thing.  And yet here I sit with my parents still married and a dad who has carried me, as an adult woman, in more ways than most dad's will ever have to rise up and carry their children. 
 Jeni, Jake and I have always been incredibly lucky for the kind of man our dad is.  He's the kind of man who is known, respected, appreciated.  He is the kind of man in our community whose word means something.  He's the kind of man that my kids will grow up and learn from.  He has strength, fortitude, integrity, valor, loyalty and patience. 
 My dad is also an incredible grandpa and always has been. 
But what kind of card can explain the kind of grandpa; the kind of father my dad chose to be for me in the last 5 years?
On this Father's Day my mind is overwhelmed by my Father in Heaven who has so orchestrated our lives.  I know it is true for more reasons than I'd ever be able to share, based on my faith and on my life experiences.  But I know so also because I have had my earthly father step in and rise up when other father's around me chose to bow out and walk away.  I have seen him take on other men's responsibility in order to see this job as a father through in the right ways; the Godly ways.  My relationship with my dad has been enriched by the loss of other relationships and for that, I am eternally grateful for it all.  Without my dad, these last 5 years would have been impossible to walk.  They would have literally been impossible to live through.
Today, on the first Father's Day without our baby, my heart is broken for my own dad. 
A man who stood at my right side, holding my leg during the birth of my last child. 
My dad was in the room with me when she took her first breath. 
My dad cut her cord. 
I looked at him and breathed a sigh of relief as he kissed my forehead and cried.
A few minutes later I handed her to him for the first time and my heart was never the same. 
And he was in the room with me as she took her last breath. 
I looked at him and breathed a sigh of relief as he kissed my forehead and cried. 
A few minutes later I handed her to him for the last time and my heart will never be the same. 
To say it.  To write it.  To think it and re-think it. 
I'm overwhelmed.
Mostly by the goodness of a God who set my girl into the hands of this loving man from the very beginning.  She was pure from the start; in a way that I hadn't even realized until the finish.  And maybe my dad doesn't realize it either, but on this day I want to remind him:
When our God put her here, He entrusted her to me.  But He did so through you.  You rose up, dad, when He called to you be strength for me.  You were a refuge in my dark days.  I know you'll continue to be.  Thank you just isn't enough. 
You are the greatest poopaw. 
You have never left our side.  Even as she left my arms for Heaven and our weary hearts could hardly survive, you were with me.  You just have never left me. 
Thank you for being the kind of example that Nora and Braden need.
A father and a grandfather who shows up, never leaves, sticks it out, sees it through.   
I am so proud to be your daughter.  So thankful that God chose you for me. 
You're exactly what I need and I hope to be the same for you. 
I love you oh so much, dad. 

This year Mother's Day was so painful for me. 
I knew in my gut that it would be the last I would celebrate with all three of my children on earth.  But I had no idea that I would feel so incredibly tormented over this Father's Day for the men in my life. 
 It's only been three weeks.
I can't imagine waking up today and not being able to hold, smell, and kiss the child that you fathered and took care of for half of her life. 
I quite literally can't fathom it.

But I have watched Chris every day since he walked into our lives in amazement at how he lives and loves.  Not just Mabel, but also Nora and Braden, each uniquely and each just how they need.
Initially I didn't know if I would fall in love again in this lifetime.
I had hoped to. 
I knew that I was deserving and that I had a lot of love that I could give to someone.  But having three small children, being a single homeschooling mom (at the time), and having an extremely disabled, terminally ill child made the criteria for dating me a little less appealing, or so I believed. 
But he didn't. 
Somewhere when I fell in love with him, he fell in love with her.
Their love affair with one another was not only initial but undeniable.  His presence, his energy; everything that I loved, craved and needed-she responded to as well and the two of them, right away became something I haven't ever quite seen before. 
I can't fully explain what was brought into our lives when he entered but what I can say is this:
On this Father's Day I celebrate him.
For loving her in all the ways she deserved to be loved on this earth, and for allowing his heart to be open to whatever life was going to bring, knowing that it would ultimately mean losing her. 

In the last two years of her life, Mabel had the right medications.  The kind that allowed her to really be comfortable.  There were still so many bad days but overall the goal for her life had changed from treatment to comfort and we embraced that.
He got the best half of her life.
And she, by far, got the best of him.
That is a gift I can never repay. 
On the bad days, he held her longer.
His voice calmed her jerking body.
He was patient, loving, gentle. 
He loved her in a way that every child deserves to be loved and demonstrated the kind of fullness that I believe God desires all of us to live out. 
But we are not all capable of that kind of love.  I'm just so thankful he is. 

I struggle so much today knowing what to write and how to word it.
Again, how can I articulate what transpires in our home each day? 
I am just thankful for a man who loves selflessly, teaches endlessly, and is a true partner to me.  In these ways I am grateful that my children will grow up in a home where they see respect, honor, and patience with one another being practiced and truly lived out.  But aside from one another, I pray they'll see it in our parenting of them as well.  And I hope they'll look back and be grateful. 
Nora and Braden have a dad. 
Chris hasn't ever tried to take his place.
He encourages that relationship and fosters the one that he has built with both kids.  It is wholly different and altogether special.  I am thankful and hope one day that the kids will be as well, to have so many people in their lives that love them. 

Today, because there aren't words for the very intimate details that we share about Mabel; her life or her death, I simply just want to say that I have never felt more lucky to know another human, let alone be in love with him.  He is an incredible leader, a protector, a peacekeeper, and ultimately a really great dad. 
He never set out to be one.  It wasn't in his life plan. 
But here they are and here he is and somehow it all makes sense.   

Thank you for loving her when it was hard.  Loving her when it was beautiful. 
Loving her on earth and now in Heaven. 
 Thank you for walking beside me this life; sometimes very twisted up, gritty, and downright hard.  But hand in hand we've been doing it really well and I just know that there are such beautiful days ahead.  I already believe these kids know just how lucky they are but I hope you know how deeply we love you. 
Thank you for surrendering your life to something greater and knowing that through it all, this will be worth it. 
Thank you for your steadiness.  Your patience.  Your faithfulness.  Your honesty.  Your integrity that goes beyond any I have ever seen.  Your laughter.  Your humility.  Your intelligence.
All qualities that I cannot wait for my children to recognize and admire in you the way that I do.
You were a great 'da' to our girl.  I know she's shining down on you today, babe.
Happiest Father's Day to the best man I know.
I love you oh so much. 
To all the fathers, step-fathers, men who share no DNA but share such deep love, grandpas, step-grandpas, 'uncles,' brothers, and mommies who are being daddy's too-
I hope today brings you together with the ones that you love and who are lucky enough to have you.  Or I hope you were celebrated this weekend in the ways you so deserve. 
"The righteous who walks in his integrity—blessed are his children after him!” -- Proverbs 20:7


THE FOUR OF US! said...

Amazing post.

Pam Butler said...

Love you Ramee. Beautiful post

Unknown said...

I am in tears reading this. You and your family have touched a place in my heart that I can't even express in words. Sending prayers and hugs your way 💛💛