Kentucky Mom to Twins and More

Sunday, June 17, 2018

To my kids, on your first Father's Day without a father

Dear Brayden, Mia, Therese and Payton,

He didn't want to leave you.
He wished to stay an eternity with you. 

This wasn't in our plan. The plan that automatically pops in your head when you see two blue lines on a pregnancy test. The plan that is set in motion that day in the delivery room when you realize what the words 'elation', 'euphoria' and 'love' really mean. The plan you figure out after calculating how much to save each year so you can take your kids on vacation and just watch them play on the beach every summer 'til they’re 18.

There was a kink in our plan but I promise we'll get it straightened out. I know it's sucky and scary and rocky right now. I know I yell at you and I get frustrated a lot. He hated when I yelled. I'll try and do better. I know I'm tired and sometimes I cry in the car if Luke Bryan comes on the radio. It's because we've got a Luke Bryan concert story. I'll tell you about it when you're older. I know I get quiet when you tell me how much you wish daddy were here to play Legos with you. Don't stop telling me those things though, because I want to hear them. 

I miss him, too. The daddy that used to play, laugh, talk and joke with us. I don't want to forget him. Yesterday I couldn't remember for the life of me whether or not he liked Rice Krispie treats and that kills me. I know that your daddy loved Kool-Aid- especially grape Kool-Aid. He would sometimes order a Shirley Temple at fancy restaurants. I'd joke about how he acted like a child sometimes. He was a big, goofy kid, your daddy. I'm trying so hard to keep and grasp all these memories I have for you because I'm our only memory keeper now. I'm holding the memories of him for you- like the memory of how he nervously asked me to marry him atop the revolving restaurant overlooking the city all those years ago (as if I'd say no!?). Like the memory of his surprised face when he saw his firstborn child was a boy. Like the memory of the smiles he elicited from you kids making gestures and silly "faces" with his hand. Like the memory of his laughter on the boat. Like the memory of how much he enjoyed sitting outside having drinks on the river at LBYC, where I'll probably take you all for lunch today to honor that memory.


I found this book in the study. One of our friends gave it to your daddy before he died. It's a journal for someone to tell their life story as a memory for their loved ones. The pages prompt the writer to tell all about their childhood, adulthood, about beliefs, values and their memories young and old. The questions ask things like, "What advice about life would you like your family to remember?" "What do you consider to be your life's greatest gifts?" "What is the one thing you would never change about the way you've lived your life?" "Is there a poem, passage or quote that has been meaningful in your life?"

As if my heart needed shattering one more time, I turned the pages to see the book was completely empty. The pages are all blank.

The book came too late. He was too weak, too sad, too heartbroken to fill out these pages. I know he felt like it was going to be goodbye. He wasn't ready for goodbye. He didn't want to leave you. 

So I promise today, dear children, I will find the answers to all the questions about your daddy's life and I'll write it for you. I'll keep it for you. I'll talk to his family, I'll ask his friends. I'll go through every email or letter he ever sent me and I'll compile your daddy's life story. I'll finish writing his story. I'll give you all the memories I have. You'll always know that you had the greatest daddy ever. 

You'll always know he never wanted to leave you. And someday, I promise, you'll get to have an eternity with him.

This post was also published June 18, 2018 here at Today Parents. 






Thursday, June 14, 2018

Thanks to all the kick-ass fathers


This year will mark the first that my children don't have a father to celebrate Father's Day with.

His favorite place - on a boat, 2014

And they had a real kick-ass father, too. He was the one who went tubing with them off the end of the boat, crashing into the wake during those summer lake trips. He was the one who drove them for "special time" to get a treat or to buy a cool gadget or to hike at grandpa's farm. He was the one who made pancakes on Saturday mornings and wrestled on the floor with them before bedtime. He did all those 'fatherly' things right.


This Father's Day, four children in a small city in Kentucky will instead visit his grave and whisper their Happy Father's Day greetings toward the clouds. The Father's Day crafts and cards their teachers will have them make at school will all end up weighted down by rocks ontop of a silver headstone at a cemetery off Ky. 16.

These past several months have been a blur of emotion - a tidal wave of grief and sadness, anger and fear. There have been countless times my children have felt the stinging absence of their father during this time. I saw it in their sad eyes at Easter mass this year, as we sat in a pew behind a father holding his newborn son. I saw it when they noticed the little boy in front of us in line at Dunkin Donuts, who was holding his father's hand as they ordered munchkins and milk together.

With his mini-me at grandpa's farm, 2011
I saw it when the twins left for their father-daughter dance at school wishing daddy was taking them instead of their uncle (sorry Justin!). 

I see it in my little one's eyes some nights when she cries to be "normal" again and have her daddy back home. I see it when my son glances over to the sidelines during the soccer games-- yep, it's still just me here, buddy, and I'm sorry. But I can tell you with every piece of honesty in my being that he would have given anything to be here watching your game, too.

Now more than ever, I notice other fathers with their children. I study their interaction and painfully watch every touch, every smile, every word between fathers and their children. I envy it. I miss it. I wish it for my own children again. But as painful as it is to see and although it usually brings me to tears, I also celebrate it.

Adjusting to life with twins, 2010


These fathers-- who only by beautiful chance and luck get to be alive and well here with their children every day-- are doing a good job. Simply by being present. They are cheering them on at soccer games, they are devoting time to coaching their daughter's basketball team, they are treating their son to donuts on Saturday morning. They are giving piggyback rides and wrestling on the floor. They are laughing and loving on their kids every day.

So this Father's Day, I want to thank all those fathers out there who are doing it right. Thank you for loving them right. Thank you for spending time with the most precious commodity you have in life. Thank you for being a father and cherishing that role. Thanks for being a kick-ass father-- the kind who might be wishing from Heaven that he could be here doing it too.

This post was originally published June 13, 2018 here at That's Inappropriate Parents.