When I started this blog before Julian was born, I figured it'd be a good way to pass around what's happening here for our family and friends far away. The more and more time passes, I realize that I think this blog is more for my own journal of our family so that we have something to look back on and remember it all. Although, thank God for digital photos, too. :) That said, I want to chronicle something that happened yesterday.
We went to breakfast at our favorite breakfast place, Le Pain Quotidien, in Clarendon. We try to get out there about once a month but this summer has been so busy I don't think we've been there since at least May, if not April. Anyways, we went and then after breakfast we decided to go to Roosevelt Island for a little nature walk before the hurricane hit. On our way to the island we were driving past Arlington Cemetery and since today would have been my dad's 59th birthday, I wanted to stop and visit with the family.
Julian and Dash had been there before but it was colder out and the fountain wasn't running. This time the fountain was running and they were ready to jump in! It didn't help that the day before we went to the Fountain at Fairfax Corner so they were fresh off of a public fountain frolicking. After explaining to them that this fountain is not appropriate for swimming, we walked over to my dad's location. Arlington National Cemetery is a beautiful cemetery and I am very pleased with how they maintain the space.
We got to my dad's spot and here is what happened:
Me: Julian, tomorrow would be grandpa's birthday. Do you want to sing to him? He would love it.
Julian: *points to grave stone* Is he in there?
Julian: But he can't come out and say "yay!"?
Me: No, he can't, but mommy and daddy will clap for you.
Julian proceeded to sing happy birthday to my father and, with tears, I clapped and hugged him. I haven't known how to explain to him and Dash that they can't meet my father. I never met my mother's father, either, as he passed away a year before I was born, but I never felt disconnected to him. Through my mom's stories of him I never felt the gaping hole that I'm sure my mother felt with his absence. I just assumed that my stories of my father would fill whatever hole or gap that my boys may feel without my father being here, but here I am and I realize that whatever story I tell them or whatever pictures I show them, I'll never quite be able to express just how beautiful a person he was, or just how much he meant to me.
I'd give anything in the whole world to have my father meet my family. I can only hope that by keeping him as a verbal part of our life, and by having somewhere concrete to visit that is 'my father's space' that the boys can see, they'll understand that while he may not be here, he's out there somewhere loving them as much as I do.