On Wednesday I had a church meeting after work. It put me late getting home. I rolled in about 8.
I’d promised the girls we’d go out to dinner so we hit the Mexican restaurant closest to our house.
We returned home at 9:39, about to puke we’d eaten so many chips.
“Girls, I think I need to jog or I’m gonna be sick. You want to join me?”
“Dad, it’s 9:30!”
“Yeah, but you guys can sleep in tomorrow. Let’s jog to the playground.”
Michelle jumped on board quickly and Stephanie, who hates to run, acquiesced to my request likely because she didn’t want to sit at home by herself that late.
We jogged about half a mile down Ridge Road to the Lacy Elementary School playground. The girls hit the jungle gym while I took a few laps around the paved track. When I finished, we all lay down on the grass and looked up at the stars.
We live in the middle of town, there were lights around, but the sky was clear. Stephanie was the first to spot the Little Dipper. She pointed up.
We talked about the brightest stars in the sky.
“I think that one is mom, beaming down on us.”
We sat a few more minutes. Michelle crawled up into a contraption I call The Spinning Mushroom. As she spun she said, “I love our family. Not everyone would do this.”
What beautiful words for my ears.
At 4 PM that same day a guy interviewed me for a book he is writing about grief. He asked me about our family, before Lisa’s death and after. I shared that I thought we were a weird little group, that it wouldn’t be unusual to find us having a fight with wet sponges in the kitchen or having a theme for a typical weekday dinner. I think we have special, but in a fairly unconventional way.
I think there are a number of families like ours, not quite the norm but pretty darn cool. There are also many families who struggle, unable to find joy because of dysfunction, impatience with each other, or laziness.
I’m thankful that my kids see our family as unique. I’m glad we’ve moved from a grief-stricken quartet to the family Michelle “just loves!”
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