Family time for us is simple these days. We, my husband and I, try to focus on making the day fun for our son. We will typically wake up together as a family, of course Dominic being our alarm clock. And like most parents, we quickly figure out who is going to make the coffee. We love the mornings when Dominic comes into our bed with his milk cup and watches Sesame Street. Usually, he sits and watchs as we try to get a few more much needed minutes of rest before we really begin the day. Then off to the business of breakfast, general household chores and playing, until nap time. While he naps, Thad and I will usually try to get ready for the day, plan our outing and relax and enjoy some quiet time together. When Dominic gets up we are super charged that we are going to have some fun with him.
Now here is the twist. Family days for us aren't always playdates and bouncy places. There are days like today. Today we went to lunch and then to the cemetery. As we got out of the car and walk to the restuarant, I have a moment of realization... this is my life. We are going to spend family day at a cemetery. We walked in the brisk air. Thad carrying Dominic and I walking beside them with my arm around Thad and latched on Dominic's leg. Ahh, my boys. And I think about how different today would be if Gabriella had made it. Would I be carrying an infant carrier? Would we even be out? It is how life is without your child? I am so proud of my family. All of us, even though we weren't together. We joyfully went into lunch and had a great meal and really enjoyed each other's company.
Next we were off to the cemetery. This would be Thad's first time back since the funeral. Dominic has been there several times with me, but, never got out of the car. Today it was all of us. Again, the first time we all were there together since her funeral, December 23, 2010. I was excited and nervous all at the same time. I didn't know how Thad would react and how Dominic would behave. But at the same time, I was excited. I have bought a bunch of stuff to decorate for Easter. I decided to skip over St. Patrick's day, considering it is next week; and I figured Lent starts tomorrow.
We did it. We all went... We decorated, we cried and we chased Dominic all over the place. And then it hit me again, this is my life. My son is going to grow up visiting a cemetery. He will run around and I will have to chase him, teaching him how he is expected to behave. I arranged her decorations and Thad played with Dominic. I have been here so many times now that I don't always cry, it is some sort of a comfort. But, to be honest, a few tears usually do fall. I think this was an especially hard day for Thad. I completely understand, it is hard. Dominic didn't know where he was, to him, it was open area to run around. One day, he will know and I hope he will grow to appreciate the value of his sister's life and what she means to me, her father and our family.
Some days, these are our family days. But we are, a family... all four of us. We may not be together physically, but we are connected in spirit. We are a normal family. There is that word again, 'normal.' What is normal anyhow? This is our new normal. And even as messed up as this normal sounds, it is something we are learning to get comfortable with. There are four of us, and one day we hope five or six of us. Family time for us will never be like the typical nuclear family. We are different and we expect it.
|Playing in the field cross from Gabriella's garden|