Monday, April 09, 2012

hey, dad

it's been a year today since you went on to heaven. so hard to believe that that much time has passed, but it's easier to comprehend when i look at some of the last pictures we have with you and davis together. back last january at his christening....
and then at the last family lunch that we had all together, two weeks before you passed away.
we knew you were sick, and i guess we had always hoped you would be able to squeak by again--doctors scratching their heads, not quite sure what happened but discharging you home to us nonetheless. how grateful i am to know that you are whole, healthy, in your heavenly form not experiencing pain or suffering. looking back on some of the pictures that we displayed at your service last year, it's easy to think of you that....young, vibrant, energetic.
i've done a lot of reading about heaven and learning what it could be like for you up there. heaven is for real was a huge source of comfort for me, and that's why it's easy to imagine you in you like that. i see parts of me in you, parts of alan... and what's been fun lately is to look for pieces of davis in your baby photos as well.
hasn't he been fun to watch growing up? oh, he's so smart, dad. i like to imagine that you get to see snippets of our days--little video clips of words he's learned, funny moments we've had and those big milestones he's hit over the last 12 months. 
and it's fun to imagine what he'll get into as he grows older. looking at the pictures of you as a teenager, we get an idea. i got to hear a lot of great memories from the friends and family that came to your memorial service. i even got to meet the young woman from this photo--
and she shared stories about your families traveling together and going to your middle school formal together. those memorial services were full of mixed emotions--missing you, trying to figure out the logistics of everything--but also how we would move forward over the next few weeks and months.
and then there were lighthearted moments--laughing at some of your antics as a high school or college student and meeting friends who could talk about those days with a smile. enjoying time together with everyone, in combinations that we hadn't seen since my and alan's weddings.

but then we returned to the "real world." and some days were harder than others, but for the most part...we managed. thank goodness for davis, who kept us on his schedule. thank goodness for our friends and family who were there to care for us and check in on us. and thank goodness for the routine of our lives pulling us back into what we needed the most--structure. support. normalcy. except for that missing role that you played.
i do miss our conversations, particularly as we've gone through the first year of parenting. i would love to hear your perspective, and your memories of what it was like as a first-time father yourself.
i know you would love to hear about my new job and the students i get to work with. it's amazing the young people i've gotten to meet. there are several i work with that have experienced recent deaths of a parent, too, and i feel like they walk into my office specifically for a purpose. we share the knowing glances, the exchanged apologies and sympathetic nods, but with every session focused on someone else's grief and loss...i work through my own a little bit more. 

we don't have any big plans for commemorating today. a lot of my (new) friends don't know, and i imagine a great number won't remember the date. honestly, i had to go back and look it up (forgive me--i knew it was 6 or 9, but just couldn't remember which one.) and then, knowing it would be sometime around Easter, i kinda hoped for a symbolic date. good friday--a day of mourning and remembering, or maybe Easter sunday--a day of celebration and hope.
but here we are, the monday after Easter. a regular work day. a reminder that life goes on, and it has gone on for the past year. there are days that have hurt, days where i wish i could have called you and heard your voice. deleting your contact out of my phone. seeing your e-mail address pop up as a remembered entry as i'm typing something else in. reading the wonderful messages that others have written on your facebook wall that's still there--but knowing you're reading those sentiments from far above.
no, it hasn't been easy. but it's made me stronger and taught me so much. patience for others. empathy for those going through loss (and oh, dad, there are such dear friends who have gone through some difficult times.)
most importantly, the need for family. knowing that every moment is precious and should be treasured...and in the end, family is all that matters.
we've tried hard to keep up those family lunches, but we need to try harder. we've gone down east, back to the place where you grew up, where our family tree is rooted, where we can smell the salt air and feel the tidal pull that keeps drawing us back--but we need to go back more often. davis has been photographed in front of his namesake town sign, and we're going to make sure he knows the history of davis corner when he's old enough to appreciate it :)
his other grandfathers are doing an awesome job looking after him, and he is definitely all boy. he's going to need all the male supervision he can get! i know his uncle and great uncle and cousins will be there for him, too, showing him the family traditions.
keep watching over us. we know that as the years pass, the love won't fade. i sometimes get sad that i might forget the sound of your voice, or the feeling of your goatee scratching against my face when you hugged me tight. but i know that the love you have for family, the love i have for you as my dad...that won't go away.
we love you---always. we miss you. but we know you're looking out for us and waiting for us to join you one day. thank goodness for that hope, and until then--we keep moving forward one day at a time. like today. an ordinary day, but one day closer to home. 

your baby doll

*edited to add: my post from last year about my dad's health history*

Sunday, April 08, 2012

He is risen, indeed!

the tomb is empty...
and the Church is celebrating as heaven rejoices!

from our family to yours--

happy Easter!

Saturday, April 07, 2012

a hodge podge of photos

i managed to get some fun photos of davis in his room the other day all dressed up for church...
this is his "bus"--he's a big fan.
he was also happy to sit in the chair and play peekaboo with me..
"where's davis?"
sweetie pie...
so glad he tolerates our photo session like this :)
and the rest are some of our recent instragram photos. we spent a nice friday night exploring lowes...
he looooooved the "tractors"
davis playing with his tub crayons--he enjoyed these even though he hasn't gotten into coloring a whole lot yet
when i get home at the end of the day, we usually spend the first hour or so outside. and when davis sees my phone, he will get up in my lap and we'll take a picture together :)
it's kinda become a habit
but i LOVE it
he has a really cool backyard now--tons of toys and fun stuff
i'm digging this look of his
he was also super helpful when daddy was building our glass table for the back deck (remember when ours broke last father's day?)
i have been working for the past couple of weeks on the custom letter sets for jonah's auction that i donate each year...two boy sets this year, which has been fun.
i get VERY messy when i paint--it's just a part of my process.

but i'm all done and am really happy with the results
speaking of buses, here's a bus shirt that my mom found for davis. he's slightly obsessed (and i guess we're contributing to that)
such an awesome look. he has some very expressive eyebrows...
and to end it--me and my silly boy. he tends to stick out his tongue, but i think it's adorable :)

Friday, April 06, 2012

some hands-on fun

last saturday, after davis got his nap and was all rested up, we decided to check out the youth arts festival at ecu that is held by the art school every year, along with a lot of local artists and businesses. again, the weather had the event being held indoors instead of outside on campus, but there was a ton to do. davis and i headed out on our own first and had justin and his dad and stepmom meet us there. i'll admit--it was challenging being there by myself with him. i had brought his stroller and diaper bag and between pushing those in and out of the rooms and carrying him, it was hard! we still had a good time while we waited for everyone else to show up, and one of the first rooms we hit was the "cardboard building" room, where they had turned huge cardboard boxes into towers and little playhouses that the kids were painting. davis headed right in...and was immediately covered with paint. i did my best to clean him, but then picking him up got paint on me and so our outfits were both done for the day (see what i mean about avoiding egg dyeing earlier in the day?)

we did so many other cool things, like playing with stamps and inkpads, making a hammered bottle cap necklace, a pinecone bird feeder, listening to african drums and the instrument petting zoo (it took all my willpower not to ask to try the clarinet, but i knew the germs at those petting zoos are killer!) but with my hands full with him and so many people there, i honestly only took a few pictures. once justin and his family got there, it was a little bit easier, but was still overwhelming at times. maybe next year when he's a little older (and hopefully it's outside and easier to navigate.)

where did we end back up at? the cardboard box room. where he proceeded to pick up a paint brush and go at it. 
this kid was so happy painting. and at that point, i just said, "there goes the outfit. let's have fun!" so we did. and got plenty of cute comments from the fellow parents who loved watching him get into it. 
we had to drag him away kicking and screaming (literally) once he took over one of the boxes and one of the other little boys wanted to go in but not while he was there because he was afraid davis was going to paint him (fair enough.) we walked back to the car and saw the shady green grass outside of my freshman year dorm and decided to soak up one more moment on campus. you can see the paint on the back of my arms and shoulders at that point...

and davis's resulting face and hair...
for whatever reason, he wanted to roll around on the mulch and dirt.
okay, kid. sure thing!
and the full view of our afternoon....
my friend lynn said, "you can always tell how much fun you had by how messy you are."
then we had an AWESOME time!