When you have young children, the dad does all of the stuff for Mother’s Day. When you have young children, it’s not really the kids honoring you, it’s your husband. The husband buys the gifts or flowers or makes the breakfast. Dad tries to contain the kids that day and let mom sleep or does the cleaning or whatever that day. Denny always did breakfast in bed for me. My favorite is crepes with sweetened sour cream and strawberries and bananas. He would spend forever making them. And bacon because duh.
He likes to do the dumb big cards. Like the ones people get at gas stations. You know the ones? The ones you can grab last second with the last bouquet of wilted flowers that’s obnoxiously over priced and not very pretty? But he was not a last second kind of guy. So he purposefully went searching for those cards. The last few years he’d have Winnie draw something in them too. And he’d usually write something simple. He was a man of few words. Unless it was politics or opinions about chewy candy (He could name each gas station, what candy they carried, which candy had which flavors…he knew a lot about candy). But he was thoughtful about what he wrote. And I know this because I watched him write it when he thought I wasn’t watching. He paused in between words to think and then began writing again. And he was a deliberate person in general. He didn’t say things he didn’t mean. He always said he hated when I would say he was THE BEST dad because he didn’t believe he was the best. But I did. I knew he was the best.
His last big dumb card he did said this…
“TO THE BEST MOM IN THE WORLD: Dizz,”– (A nickname I had in college because he thought it was funny and he knew it annoyed me)
“Thanks for being such a good mom to our girls. We are all so lucky to have you. We all love you and are happy to celebrate you today. Thanks for being the best!”
He wasn’t a mushy person. Funny story, I’ve become friends with Denny’s first love. He was much mushier in his younger years. She has shared some of his love notes he left her and they are the sweetest things. They do seem to be laced with profanities as well, but they are mostly very sweet. I absolutely love when she shares these things with me. He lost this over the years for some reasons he didn’t share with anyone except for me. Some other reasons he shared with very few. But I still knew how much he loved me. He showed it in other ways besides words.
Our first Mother’s Day as a married couple was almost a year after we got married. We were a little older for people around here to get married. I was 24 (but had been married and divorced already) and he was 30. Around here, 24 is old. So 30 is really old. But we still decided to wait a year after we were married to try for babies. And we both wanted babies SO badly. But we wanted to have a good year together and focus on our relationship before we started focusing on someone else.
So that first Mother’s Day, I was a mess. It was dumb, but I was so sad that we didn’t have kids yet. I was sad every time we went to church and saw all of the kids. He knew this. So he gave me the sweetest card. It’s funny how you take these dumb things for granted. I mean I appreciated those cards when I got them. But now they are worth so much more. Infinitely more. The flowers I thought were always unnecessary purchases. Now I wish so badly he would show up with a random bouquet of flowers like he often did after work. All of the little things.
Don’t take your loved ones for granted. Don’t waste a single day. I never in a million years would have guessed I would be where I am now. I saw Denny and I growing old together. Don’t hold back your love from anyone. The one thing I know is that Denny knew how much I loved him. I expressed it so often he would tell me he was annoyed. I told him how amazing he was as a father and husband and as a human. I constantly told him how proud I was of all he had overcome in his life. He knew how much I supported him and that I would stand by him through thick and thin and thicker and thinner. I told him the things I loved about him and the things that I thought made him great. I don’t feel like anything was left unsaid. The only thing I wish I could have done differently is told him that I loved him as he was leaving the house that morning. I had no idea he wouldn’t be coming back when I barely opened my eyes as he was closing the door. Tell people you love them. Don’t hold back a compliment or praise for anyone. You’re never going to regret sharing love and appreciation. And I am forever grateful that I expressed it to him so often. It gives me a lot of peace and comfort.
Today was okay. It was hard. But it was okay. Denny was so missed. If you don’t know, I lost my mom 17 months ago too. And I so wish I had my mommy here today. She was so missed too. But so many people stopped by and reminded me that I am a good mom. That I am a strong mom. And Denny and my mom both believed that too. I would rather have Denny here any day. But he knew I could do it. He believed in me. He trusted me to raise these girls without him. Of course they would be so much better off with him. But today I feel strong. Sad, and constantly on the verge of tears, but strong. I feel people’s love and notes and prayers and words all giving me strength and reminding me that I can do this. It won’t be easy. But with the support of all of you good humans, I can do it.
Most importantly this Mother’s Day, I’m so grateful that Denny gave me these girls. These two incredible, beautiful, smart, sweet, loving, amazing girls. I could not be more blessed in the child department. I am so loved by them and I could not love them more. Now, nothing is more important to me on this earth than these two girls. And the three of us are going to have a happy life. We are going to get through this and with God, our chosen family, and the heavenly help of our angels Denny, my mom, and my grandma, we can do this.