Why Father’s Day can be painful.

For along time after Bryon died, I felt like I had to be both a Mother and Father to my daughter.

And if there is anything I can tell you from personal experience-

Being a parent is hard. Even if you have an active co-parent.

Being both a mother and a father is harder.

Being both a mother and father while grieving is super hard.

“Super hard” might be a lame adjective. I am sure my seventh grade English teacher would be pissed if she read that.

But on this morning, two days before the third Father’s Day without my daughter’s Father, I am grumpy.

“Super Hard” is the best descriptor I can think of in this comparison.

Other adjectives can include-

Exhausting- Being two parents is exhausting.

Lonely- Bryon isn’t here to share my daughters moments with.

Unfair- That feeling I try to ignore when I see other kids with their Dad’s and I know my daughter doesn’t have that.

Empty- That feeling I have when I had to write “deceased” next to her Father’s name on her kindergarten registration forms.

Annoyance: Every time I have to explain that her father is dead. My life used to be so f*cking normal and now it’s not. Now I am a square peg in a world full of round holes. And I didn’t ask for any of this.

Resentment- For the fact that I have to brush off other’s insensitivity. Why is that my job? Why can’t people just take a few seconds and think and be a little more considerate?

Maybe “pissy” might be a better descriptor.

Most days I don’t dwell on it, but I can’t ignore any of this on Father’s Day weekend.

For some reason Father’s Day bothers me much more than Mother’s Day.

Bryon was the one who bought me gifts but he made it clear that they were from my daughter, not him. Bryon liked to add they were not from him because I wasn’t his mother. Though I know he said it because it annoyed me.

It seems kind of ironic.

By Bryon’s logic, Father’s Day shouldn’t bother me.

After all, he wasn’t MY father. My father is alive. And my Dad is awesome too.

My daughter doesn’t seem fazed. But maybe she will when she gets older and reflects. Or maybe not. I can’t dictate how her father’s death may or may not affect her.

Father’s day stirs up so many emotions for me.

It reminds me of Bryon’s absence.

It reminds me of all the dreams we didn’t accomplish as a family.

It reminds me that my daughter was supposed to have a sibling.

It reminds me that Bryon will never get to see his daughter grow up. He won’t see her get on the school bus when she goes to kindergarten or see her walk across the stage at her high school and college graduations. He won’t get to walk her down the aisle when she get’s married.

It reminds me that my daughter was cheated out of her years with her Father. She was cheated out of the one of the most important relationships a girl ever has.

Since Bryon died, I felt I had to be both parents for my daughter.

To be her mother and to fill the void left by her father.

But I came to the realization that I can’t be both her mother and father.

I am just her mother.

I can try to be an awesome, kick ass mother.

But I am not, nor will I ever be her Father.

It is one of my parenting goals for my daughter to grow up and think that despite her Father dying, she had a good childhood. I hope that is what she thinks though I can’t control what she thinks about her childhood.

I can only try to be the best Mother I can and help my daughter realize her authentic self.

I can spend time with her.

I can read to her and encourage her to read books.

I can do fun activities with her.

I can travel with her.

I can play with her.

I can teach her things.

I can cook with her.

I can provide her with the best opportunities available.

I can take her to sports practices and go to her games.

I can take her shoe shopping. She loves shoe shopping.

One day I will have to teach her about all the things that come with being a woman.

But the one thing I can’t do is be her father.

Bryon gave her life and he loved her very much.

There will always be a hole there.

Advertisements

Holidays 2017- the condensed version

This Christmas Season, I started ahead of the game but ended up getting bronchitis and it took me two weeks to feel better.  I used to get bronchitis every year or every other year through my teens and 20’s.  The last time I had bronchitis was in 2010 so I was long overdue.  It was a good run.  I didn’t remember bronchitis being so hard to get over but back then, I wasn’t chasing a little human.

Despite being sick, my daughter and I saw the Nutcracker.  Not the Russian Nutcracker (those who saw Bad Moms 2 will understand.)  My daughter loved it.  Well…except for the mice.  She is still talking about when she saw the ballerinas.

24958844_10156323741732841_9189498186158229319_o - Copy

Santa came to the daycare party.

We took the train to Christmas Town (formerly the Polar Express).  The boy with us is the son of Bryon’s best friend.  His mother and I had been talking about taking the kids on the Polar Express since we were pregnant and we felt that they were old enough to enjoy it this year.

A friend of ours graciously invited us to see Disney on Ice presents Frozen.  She had tickets in the first row. I am not going to lie.  Even as an adult, it was amazing.

We decorated cookies.  Last year the kids were two and not into it at all.  This year we just used kits and it worked out well.  Maybe next year we will bake and decorate.

We spent Christmas Eve Eve with my daughters Godmother and her family.

On Christmas Eve we had our second annual Feliz Navidad Lunch.

We spent Christmas Eve with some close friends and Elsa.  My friend gave me Red Sox wine.  She so gets me.

Someone stopped by.

We woke up to a White Christmas outside and a Barbie House in our living room.  Thanks Santa!

We had dinner with good friends.

25659829_10156363181872841_2415433667366106298_n

Boxing Day was low-key.  My daughter wanted to go to school so I brought her even though I had the day off.  I hit some after Christmas sales and a friend came over.

One the 27th, we had an amazing dinner at my daughter’s Godmother’s house.

My parents came the 28th.  I put my Dad to work and he assembled various items.  There visit ended up being cut short because I decided to go to Maine to attend the funeral of a friend.  They didn’t mind because they still got to spend time with my daughter…just in Maine,  not NY.

I spent New Years with good friends playing Cards Against Humanity.  My friend has an amazing brunch on New Years Day.  I really look forward to the event.  I love nothing more than to start the new year with my closest friends.

Their you have it.  Each of these events deserved their own post but I was too exhausted to write them.  I wanted to have one post at least documenting all the goodness that went on.  I went into the Christmas season feeling sad and while that is a totally normal feeling for a grieving person at this time of the year, I didn’t want to be sad.

Stinson

When I was writing my recent post about the last Christmas with Bryon, I had had an epiphany.  My daughter won’t remember that last Christmas (or Bryon for that matter- which breaks my heart) but she will probably remember this Christmas albeit vaguely.

It is up to me to give her amazing Christmas memories.  Bryon is gone and even though my heart aches, life is about the living and my daughter is living.  My friends and family are living.

It is up to me to try to push through my sadness and create happy memories for my daughter as well as my family and friends.  Because someday they will look back at their last Christmas me.

When someone experiences a profound loss, you realize just how temporary life is.  We need to embrace the now because someday we will only exist in a loved one’s memory.

I am glad I was able to enjoy the holidays this year.  Well except for a brief meltdown on Christmas Eve morning where I said some choice words to God and decided not to go to Mass.  But other than that, I had an amazing Christmas filled with gatherings, good food and laughter.

I have come a long way.  When I think of Christmas 2016, I am grateful for those in life but there was a deep sadness that hung in the air.  But I will look back on Christmas 2017 as a warm and happy season.  I am grateful for the healing that has taken place to get me here.

And for that, I truly am blessed.

Without Daddy

I knew this moment was going to come.

Over the weekend I got invited to a special Facebook group that consists of all my classmates from the Class of 1997 from Ellsworth High School. And guess what? It is time for our 20th reunion.

When did I get so old? Where did the time go? High school feels like it just yesterday and it also feels like a whole lifetime ago. Maybe that’s because my wardrobe has cycled back to my 1990’s style which consisted of running clothes, Red Sox T-shirts (which are timeless, really) and flannel. Both the 1997 and 2017 versions of Kerry have it going on!

I don’t know what I would tell my high school self if given the chance. That will be a blog post for another time, specifically after I visit my parents in Maine this summer and find my old photo albums because I came of age before the digital age. (I am like a relic from another era.) I feel like a blog post of that nature should have photos of teenage Kerry from the 1990s.

I remember that my high school self had big plans and I think 38-year-old Kerry would greatly disappoint 18-year-old Kerry. 18-year-old Kerry was an ambitious idealist and she wanted to be married with many children, successful (no clue how) and she would have a passport full of stamps because she would have traveled the world. 18-year-old Kerry would have never predicted the heartache she would go through, but I would be happy to tell her that she would know what true love felt like and even though she may never have the brood of children she had wanted, the one child she will have will be so awesome that she won’t need to have any other children.

When I was pregnant, we were watching the episode of Blossom when she gets her period for the first time and Bryon started to freak out. (We did not find out if we were having a girl or a boy, but we were convinced our baby was a girl.) Bryon started freaking out and said that if I died, he didn’t know how he was going to explain periods to our daughter. I assured him that it would be okay and that the baby’s Godmother would most likely step up and help.

It never dawned on me that Bryon would not be here during our daughter’s teen years.

Someday my daughter will be 14 years old and will embark on her high school journey. I always thought that Bryon and I would be parenting as a unit. I would deal with all that girly stuff, take her clothes shopping (where Bryon would enjoy pretending to be outraged that we were spending money) and teach her how to wear makeup (or take her to the counter because I am clueless). Bryon would help her with her math homework and be her biggest fan in whatever sport or activity she chose to do. I used to tease him that he was going to be a cheer dad. Bryon came from a family of all boys and they all played hockey. Bryon was very competitive and passionate for whatever team he was cheering for and I told him that I could see him becoming a cheer dad and screaming “YOU CALL THAT A PYRAMID!!!!” He would have embraced it and played it up around his guy friends.

I have no clue on how I am to guide my daughter. I was not a cool teenager and my daughter is already much cooler at 2 and a half than I was at 16. She is not awkward around her peers and I am still socially awkward at times. I did not discover Bath and Body Works until I was in college and my daughter is already obsessed with the various body lotions and body sprays at age 2. She loves to shop for shoes and clothes already. I have no idea what I am in store for when she becomes a teenager. And I am convinced she already knows how to flirt at age 2 and I still have no clue how to do that at age 38.

But it isn’t just about helping her with fashion and relationships. Someday my daughter will be 18 years old. She will have dreams. She will go to college. She will need guidance on obtaining those dreams.

Every night she wants me to read this book to her.

20170531_000848

It’s an adorable book with a positive message. But there is one page that when I read it to her, I can feel Bryon say “I am not be paying for her to go to college to live in a *expletive* tree. And that part about being a poet, she and I would have a discussion on the average salary of a poet and the cost of living in Upstate New York…”

20170531_000826

But Bryon was successful in so many areas of his life. He was smart, driven and ambitious. He isn’t going to be here to guide our daughter. He isn’t to be here to give her advice. He isn’t going to be here to help her with her math homework or cheer her on in sports. I am the one that’s left to guide her and I don’t have the mental tools that Bryon had. Bryon was an extrovert that understood people and relationships and I am an introvert and relating to people doesn’t come easy to me.

It doesn’t matter what age my daughter is. Without her father, she misses out on so much.

Growing up without a Dad

The following post was not written by me.  My friend and high school classmate LeeAnne lost her father when she was 16 months old.  She recently shared some of her thoughts about growing up without her father on Facebook and graciously agreed to let me post them here.  I always appreciate her input because it gives me an idea of some of the things my daughter might experience.

* * *

What It’s Like Growing Up Without a Dad? I’m not talking about the deadbeats in the world. They piss me off (sorry for the language). I’m talking about growing up without a Dad because he is forever gone. He’s forever gone because he is in Heaven (yes, I believe in Heaven. I have to because if I didn’t, none of it would make sense and I would live my life a very angry person). It sucks. Plain and simple SUCKS. I was 16 months and 23 days old when that tractor pinned my Dad. I was 16 months and 25 days old when he gained his angel wings and left me here on this Earth without him. If he was a deadbeat, it would be better. At least I may have some chance of finding him and seeing him and even being really mad at him for leaving me. But he wasn’t. He loved me. He wanted me. He planned on being there forever and ever for me. He didn’t choose to leave me. Deadbeats piss me off because while they have created a child and then just decided they don’t want to play the role of a parent, my Dad was robbed of something I’ve heard he was very proud to be. I can tell by the pictures I see of us that this is true. You can tell he loved me and wanted me to be happy and safe. When you lose someone at such a young age without memories of your own, you cherish photos. I mean cherish them. My Mom eventually had a boyfriend and they had my sister together which gave me a sibling and for that I’m grateful. However, my Mom’s boyfriend was far from the ideal stepfather figure. He didn’t like me. I didn’t like him. I haven’t spoken to him willingly since I moved out of the house on my 18th birthday. In ways, it sucked having a sibling because every day I got to see her and her dad together. Something I never had and always wanted. Father’s Day sucks. It’s just a 24 hour constant reminder of what you don’t have. As I got older, I’ve learned to try to embrace the day and consider it another day to spoil my Mom. She is my Dad in a way too. January 30th sucks because that was the day my Dad was born. September 8th sucks because that’s the day he left me. Father Daughter dances suck. I mean, as a Mom, I love watching my girls get that time with their dad but, the little girl in me is jealous as hell. Wedding Days suck because the moment your Dad walks you down the aisle and the infamous Father Daughter dance becomes your Mom walking you down the aisle and trying to keep you from melting down like a big baby because you just want your Dad. The dance becomes your Mom holding you and you guys talking about how much he is there but he’s not there at the same time (and trying to make sure our beads on our dresses didn’t get stuck together because that would be humilitaing). Your fatherly advice comes from your grandfathers but you are of course too young and “know everything and anything” to acutally listen and appreciate those words after they are gone. Taking your kids to “meet” their grandfather by taking them to stare at a stone with words and plant some pretty flowers, sucks. They ask questions and you have no answers. I wasn’t the only one he was taken from. He was taken from my kids as well. He would’ve been an amazing grandfather. I don’t have my own memories to hold on to and to comfort me on my bad days. I have other people’s memories and that sucks too. I love hearing about him and I love knowing about him but I’m so damn jealous of every single person who ever met him and knew him. I’m not the friend who you can turn to if your parent passes away because while I had the same thing happen, I don’t remember it. I can tell you how to live without a Dad though and that sucks that I can tell you that. I apologize for the long rant. My birthday is getting closer and it’s another reminder that the older I get, just means the longer I’ve missed out on him. Anytime I hear of a father passing away and has a young child left behind, my heart automatically opens up to that child. I know what they are going to go through for the rest of their lives. I just pray that they at least get a wonderful father figure that can help ease the pain and who can at least be there as someone to turn to. It may have been different for me if I had that. It’s ok though because for 16 months and 25 days, I had The. Best. Dad. On. Earth.