Growing up I always stated that I would have 10 kids – 5 boys and 5 girls. My love for children began at a young age…while other children were busy playing I chose to tend to whatever little ones were around. Even in junior high and high school, instead of involving myself in our church youth group, I chose to become the children’s director. And if you asked my brother he would telling you growing up he had 2 mothers…and I was the hardest one of the two.
After getting married but before having our princess, I use to fear the thought of motherhood. Would I be able to mother my students all day and meet their needs and still be all that my child needed? Teacher friends assured me that I need not fear because it was able to be done.
Just days before boarding my 1st cruise in celebration of my 5th anniversary, I learned I was expecting. Filled with emotions that I blamed on hormones and thought would dwindle after giving birth, a new chapter in my life began.
On March 15, 2006 God blessed me with a beautiful princess. Every day since has been an emotional ride. Happiness as I watch her smile. Love as she snuggles close. Fear that am I doing what is best for her. Joy as her voice belts “I put my hands up in the air sometimes” from the backseat of my car. Pride as she overcomes her fear of not being perfect on the dance stage dressed as the cutest poodle ever. Sadness as she demonstrates independence and so many more emotions.
This past month we have traveled a path on such deep emotion together and know that if not for God, family and friends we may not have come through as well as we have been.
Shortly after turning a year old, we had the privilege of having a dear couple from our church, who are our neighbors, take care of our precious princess. She would spend her days their learning so much not only colors, numbers and ABCs but also how to be sweet, respectful, honest and so many other things. This couple was not just our friends and neighbors….they were family and to the Princess they were Nana and Papa. They took care of her until this school year when she started kindergarten, but in the afternoons when she got home she would go and visit and share her day with them and get her fill of loving.
This past January, Papa begin to be ill and spent much time in and out of the hospital. Believing that death is a part of life and wanting to be honest with the Princess, I began to let her know of Papa’s situation. The first part of March it was apparent that Papa’s journey here was coming to a close and he would soon go home to Heaven.
Papa was released Friday, March 2 from the hospice house to come back to is home. The princess was thrilled to see him and wanted to take him a balloon. It was difficult for me to find a balloon that I felt was appropriate and finally settled on one that said welcome home. When I showed it to the princess, she quickly stated that it should say welcome to Heaven as that was where Papa was going. We headed off to dance with the promise when we returned Papa would be settled and she could go visit him. By this time we had talked frequently how that Papa was sick and would soon be going to live in Heaven with Jesus and wouldn’t be in pain anymore and I thought we were doing well.
As we headed home for dance, the Princess asked, “How many days will Papa be visiting Heaven?” Tears streamed from my eyes as my heart broke realizing that she didn’t understand as much as I thought she did. When I told her that Papa would be staying in Heaven she began to sob and say, “But I love him and will miss him.” As a parent, I said all the things you are suppose to about how you understand; and how it is better for Papa; how it will be hard for us…while in my head it sounded like the wahwahwah form Charlie Brown’s teacher.
Each day between that Friday and his home going that Wednesday we would go to love on Papa. She was strong until the final night when she knew it would be the last time she hugged him but waited for permission before crying. She cried through the visitation, the funeral, and the burial which in turn made me cry. My motherly instinct was to remove her from the situation and dry her tears, but my motherly wisdom knew this was one of life’s lessons that she needed to learn.
As the days passed, she talked about Papa, wrote in her journal about him, and picked him flowers. Tonight though for some reason it was as if the scab that was healing was broken open just a bit and she begin to cry again. I helt her, I cried and said all the things that a mama should.
By far in her precious 6 years I think this has been the most emotional part of our journey. I know we will make and I know many more emotions will come, but I am thankful for the privilege God gave to journey together with my princess.
The Princess and I on her 5th birthday.