April 23, 2014

The hole that can never be filled

Technically, this was not our first Easter without dad. But it was the first holiday since his death, so it felt different. In many ways, as much as I love the holiday, I was dreading it. I wasn't sure I would be able to hold myself together.

We went to church with my mom in the morning, as we always do. And it was lovely. At the end of the service, I joined the choir in singing the Hallelujah Chorus, something I have done for years. It was so strange not to look out and see Dad's smiling face. Focusing on hubby's face helped.

After the service, the man who had been singing next to me stopped me and said, "You have an incredibly beautiful voice." It was such a nice compliment, and put a smile on my face.

We went over to the columbarium where dad was laid to rest to visit with him. That was when the emotions came. Especially when SB knelt down spontaneously and did this:

Oh. My. Heart. She misses her BaBop so much, and has been seeing a grief counselor to help her deal with all her big emotions (I will write about that another day).

We did manage to pull ourselves together to take a pretty decent family photo. The first one I can remember us getting in quite some time!

All in all, it was a nice day. I know as time goes on there will be more dates and occasions where my dad's absence looms large. That is to be expected. But we will get through it because we have each other.

The following day, SB, my mom and I attended a special event in honor of my dad. The golf community where my parents had lived for more than 12 years (and mom still calls home), planted a tree in his memory.

Dad was President of the golf club for several years, and a very active, well loved member of the community. The head groundskeeper had a particularly special relationship with him. He selected a beautiful bottle bush tree, because my dad loved trees that blossom. He also ordered a memorial plaque for the base of the tree:

Club staff members, friends and our family gathered to celebrate Dad. Many shared a few of their favorite memories. The tree is located in a gorgeous spot, and it will be so incredible to be able to visit through the years and watch it grow.

Mom passes the spot daily when she walks her dog. And SB loved the small red blossoms. She also delighted in running around the grassy area.

Hold on a sec, let me zoom in a little closer, because speaking of holes, there is something you may have missed. Actually, two things...

SB lost her first two teeth over the Easter break! The first one came out (with a little help from yours truly after she begged me) Thursday night. So we had a visit from the Tooth Fairy! It was so fun to see her anticipation, and the reaction the following morning. Truly magical.

We had not even known she had any loose teeth until her semi-annual visit to the dentist on Wednesday! He said the two bottom teeth were so loose he had no idea how they were still in her mouth. We had done NOTHING to prepare for the Tooth Fairy's first visit, so I was panicked.

I had all kinds of ideas for fun Tooth Fairy related stuff we could possibly make. But I wasn't going to have time for any of them! That night, I found some cute, free printables on Hallmark.com (in case you ever end up needing something like this last minute). SB LOVED the envelope I made. She thought it was awesome. And the next morning, there was also a certificate by her pillow, along with what she really wanted, of course. Cash in the envelope.

Yesterday morning I looked at the second loose tooth, and it was turning black. The root had died and it was barely hanging on by a thread. Afraid it might actually be lost if it fell out at school, I gave one gentle little tug, and a very excited, proud five year-old went to school to show off the new hole in her mouth.

While several of her classmates have lost a tooth, she is the first to have lost two. She was like a mini-celebrity in the hallway of school yesterday morning. Nothing was going to wipe that smile off her face.

Unlike the hole my dad's death leaves in our lives, the one in SB's mouth will eventually be filled. With adult teeth! Ack! Make it stop! This growing up business is all happening entirely too quickly...

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