I spoke last week at a women’s conference and was asked at the end of the session how I maintain the memory of Shawn for my kids.
This is a unique balance. I described that I let my children speak freely about their dad. I never discourage them from talking about Shawn. I am eager to talk about him when given the chance. He is my favorite topic. I have found that my kids mention Shawn every day in some type of reference.
Occasionally, I will mention something about Shawn if it is fitting. For example, when we are eating, I may point out some of "daddy’s favorite foods" or if we are using one of "daddy’s tools" I will explain what Shawn used to use them for around the house.
Still, I work hard to not guilt my kids into remembering their dad. I don’t drill them with memories trying to create what isn’t natural or even their own. We have lots of photos around our home to help them remember his face and create their own loving stories.
I want them to feel safe, comfortable and loved when they talk about their father. I believe that is the environment I provide them. At least that is my goal.
Last week at swimming lessons, Jordan and Maddi were intently watching the divers in the deep end of the pool. Jordan asked, "Mom, can I do triple flips like that when I am big…just like the jumpers?"
"Jumpers!" Maddi squealed.
"Yes," I encouraged. "However, they are called divers."
"Oh, yeah, divers." Jordan agreed as if he knew that already.
Then without missing a beat he exclaimed, "Mom, look over there! Look over the diver’s head! It is the flag of my dad." (he was pointing to the American Flag).
"Yes," I smiled – loving the fact that my son respects our flag so highly. In addition, I find his way with words poetic. "Yes, that is the flag of your dad."
"Oops…time to swim, Mom. The teacher is ready." Jordan informed me.
And so our night goes. One quick moment of memory and then back to the task at hand. It’s almost like he was swimming with dad. I wondered if Jordan heard the teacher at the end of the class when he told them to go find their moms and dads. Looking at my son, it didn’t seem to phase him. He was staring at the flag. And I was simply thankful he had a connection.