The thing about the first year is that everything is happening for the 1st time. Seems obvious but it’s not simple. Little things happen that you don’t expect. There are the firsts for being responsible for kids and then there are the first for loosing a parent. They always seem to get tangled up- they are the same but different and there are a lot of feelings.
Charlotte and I always joke when things hit the fan by saying in a very over the top voice, “I just have a lot of feelings right now.”
It pretty much sums everything up. So far we’ve had the twins 1st day of high school, my 1st day at a new job, our 1st blow out without our dad to smooth the waters, our 1st Thanksgiving/ Christmas, all of us have now had our 1st birthday. I’ve cried on every single one. Not a huge upset cry but just a cry for the way things were and the way things have had to change.
The thing that’s helped is we always talk about the way things were and what we want for each one moving forward. My dad made every big day super special- he made a career out of spreading the joy of Christmas, he was a writer director for Hallmark movies. He just knew how to do it all.
Here’s what we’ve learnt so far:
Birthdays- we love to wake up to balloons, my dad did this every year for each of us. I forgot for the twins and Jasper made sure to point it out to me. I’m going to carry on that tradition now that I know it’s important to him.
Thanksgiving- the four of us spread out. The twins went to their home away from home in Boston. I went to our LA family. Char went to her boyfriends. We all did what we needed and what felt right for us. It was hard to be way from each other but I think we did it right.
First Injury- Jasper hurt him self a crew and the feeling of responsibility washed over me but we got it handled, “What would dad do?”
First report card- it was rough. Skipping this one. Proud of the kids for going to school but will report back when the next one comes.
Christmas- our house just screamed Christmas like Times Square- Dad was really good with every detail. The lights, the specific smell, the foods in the fridge. We’ve decided that Christmas at home is just never going to be the same and we want to travel for this one from now on. I love this and dad would have been happy about it too- but never would have done it himself. he was always too worried about money for these big things but we’ve made this a priority. This year was a cabin in Big Bear, next year visiting family in England.
Dad’s birthday- still going to have a swim in the ocean every year. It’s what he loved. Dad would race into the water no matter what the temperature while we watched on the shore. While he floated in the water her would shout, in his booming British voice, “It’s lovely once you’re in.”
Dad’s death- going to skip this one. He’s with us everyday. We want to celebrate his life. Maybe I’ll go to church but for me it’s the day I lost my favorite person in the entire world. The one person who was always on my team no matter what.
Easter- haven’t been there yet but probably with our LA family…
It’s a matter of figuring out what we want to keep and what new traditions we want to create but every single one is different and needs to be addressed for both me and the kids. The first year has brought up so many feelings but like everyone keeps saying it doesn’t get better but it is getting easier.
So many firsts and every single one makes me think of my dad and that’s just fine and us four kids are doing okay. It is all working out.