“I wish I knew more of Papa’s character. I wasn’t really paying attention so much because I was only eight when he died.”
Quite often we have music playing in the car on road trips. Thankfully, we have outgrown the stage of Elmo’s World playing on a constant video loop to keep some backseat peace, and front seat sanity. Tonight however, on our way home from our Thanksgiving celebration with family, it was quiet. I don’t know what the rest of the family were thinking about, but my thoughts trailed to how much I still miss my dad’s presence at the table.
The way he played.
The way he prayed.
The way he loved his pumpkin pie, and leftover turkey sandwiches.
The way he would engage us in conversation, and ask us to share what we were thankful for…
“Hey Mom, what do you love about daddy?” Kai’s voice broke the silence.
“Like right now, what do you love about him? And, how is your marriage going?”
I smile, and share.
“And Daddy, what do you love about Mom?”
Cliodhna informs us that daddy said nine things about me, while I only said six about him.
“Oh, now it’s on!” I tease, and throw a few more out there.
Kai guided all of us through this “exercise” until each person had a chance to share what they loved about the one another. Cliodhna’s were sweet and honest. And when Kai was done sharing what he loved about each of us, I could only simply respond “Wow, Kai.”
Jay reached over and squeezed my hand as he listened to his son build him up.
He could never have known how much this was needed this very week.
The depth of his ability to embrace, and express his emotions never ceases to amaze us.
The way he encourages and invokes the same in others, a gift.
His capacity as a child, to see outside of himself, again, wow!
“ I think I’m going to do this with my wife and kids when I grow up.”
This “exercise” went on for an hour, and was followed by a talk about everyone’s love languages. And even a discussion on how each of us could do better in relationship with one another. “ Dad, you are an awesome father. I would love to have more deep heart talks with you where you can teach me about being a man.”
“ Cliodhna there is nothing you can improve upon, you are an awesome sister. And even though I pretend to not love your hugs and kisses (our physical touch girl!) I really do like them because I know it’s your way to express love to me”
When we were done, he then wanted to know how it made everyone feel. Be warned, this kid will go ferociously after your heart.
When we got home, Cliodhna asked for a piece of paper to write Mommy a note. Although it was well past bedtime, Daddy thankfully, allowed it.
When I finally headed to bed, there was a sweet note awaiting for me on my pillow. Someone was listening during the love languages discussion that mommy loves letters…
Hi mom, I have bin thinking of you all night.
I thought that you and me could be all alone, and kiss, and hug, and snuggle.
I love you mom forever and ever.
Dad and you are so cute together.
You’re the best mom ever in the hole wide world. You too dad.
I love you so much that I can’t stop bringing love to the family.
And she does indeed bring the love to our family!
As I unpacked all the moments of the day, I was struck by how much Kai is like his Papa. How time with him leaves you uplifted.
How he loves to lead others in heart talks.
How before you know it, you are in a counselling session you didn’t make an appointment for…
And, you know? It made me miss him a little less, and the void a little less immense,
just seeing that his legacy indeed lives on.
“Oh Kai, you didn’t have to pay attention to Papa’s character; you were purposely and wonderfully made by a God who knit that into your soul DNA.”