The day this posts, April 11th, is my daughter's 20th birthday. No longer a teenager. Maybe not quite a full adult, but a day to let her know how much I love her, and how I wish for only good things in her future.
Rather than buy her some new gadget, I decided to spend a little extra, and let her know what I truly thought of her. She is my diamond. She was our diamond.
Many years ago, when my husband Michael and I were first dating, the day arrived for my daughter to celebrate her confirmation at our church. Even though we were new to each other's lives, Michael and I knew that we would be together forever, so we bought our daughter something special, something that would last through time. We bought her a beautiful white gold cross, with a single diamond in the middle. My daughter loved it. She cherished it then, and especially now. It has never left its place around her neck.
Today as she opened the box that held two small diamond stud earrings, placed in a delicate white gold setting, her eyes beamed, and a lovely smile came across her face. Funny me, I didn't think that it would automatically take her to a sacred place in her heart. As I looked into her eyes, they began to change from pure joy, to bittersweet recollection, as her hand gently moved to embrace the cross that hung close to her heart. She looked down, but just as quickly raised her eyes back up to me, then moved across the table to give me a strong embrace.
We held each other silently, then she gave me her thanks. She began remembering the day that she received her first diamond, the first gift from us as a couple. She knew that this simple gift was an indication that there were now two of us where there used to be one. And though there were the typical bumps in the road that occur when a single parent begins to share his time with a new love interest, she, and her brothers, quickly realized the benefits to having two loving parents by their side.
As she sat back down in her chair, I could see where her thoughts were leading her, and I hoped they didn't take her to a dark place of grief. Instead, she allowed her thoughts to linger in a place of loving remembrance. "Dad. You know, if Michael were still here I would have received a beautiful bouquet of yellow roses." Yes daughter, I know. "Michael always gave me yellow roses. Every birthday. Every special occasion." We both took a deep breath, and smiled that knowing smile. Let's choose to be joyful.
Funny how a simple interaction with our children can be such a great teaching moment. Most people think of teaching moments as time for us to impart a lesson on our children, but in this case, I was the one taking in the wisdom through observation. I know that I won't always be in an emotional place to embrace such a lesson, but for today, I am wanting to emulate my daughter's approach. I want to smile, and remember the simple joys that Michael brought into my life. I want to place my grief gently beside me, knowing it will always be there, but giving myself a moment in time to smile, to appreciate, to remember.
My husband, all of our spouses, was so much more than a deceased spouse. I know it's so hard to remember this at times. I don't like that in my mind, he is now mostly thought of as the one who I lost, the one who died. I want to remember that he was very much alive, and that in my heart he can continue to be very much alive. I don't wear any jewelry, so there isn't anything for me to hold onto when wanting that tangible connection. I will have to seek it elsewhere. It will have to be found deep in my heart, and through my recollection of special moments, and simple little gifts.
Like yellow roses in a beautiful bouquet.