I spoke last weekend in San Diego at a conference called Camp Widow. I was surrounded by amazingly strong women and men with amazingly strong stories. It is a humbling experience to speak for my peers and find that what I have to offer gives them a little hope.
My first day home I discovered that Baby Bird Peep, as my children renamed the bird, had died. She couldn't survive without her mother. Grandma and my kids had a little burial and talked about Baby Bird Peep going to heaven where daddy can help him.
My kids told me the story as we spent the day at the pool. I thought about how much I love my time with these little people and how over the past five years I haven't always been able to say that. In the thick of grief and parenting it is easy to be distracted, even despondent. But, just like a little bird or a little baby needs the care of a parent, so too I need my children. They have given me my own humbling hope.
Jumping in the water and riding tubes in the lazy river, I remarked at how refreshing it is to experience a good day–to recognize it, seize it and love it for what it is.
Maddi told me, "We missed you when you went to San Diego."
Jordan added, "We wanted to go with."
"Next time," I promised, really meaning that. I find that traveling without my kids can feel empty.
"Wherever you go we go and wherever we go you go," Maddi said with exact instruction, "Right, Mom?"
"Yes," I smiled, "I love that idea."