Yesterday would have been our ten year wedding anniversary. Many asked if I was sad, remembering the day I was married. The emptiness for me is more about the future that was lost. I wondered what we would have been doing yesterday or this week or this coming weekend. Most of all I wondered what life would look like for my kids to interact with a real, live dad.
I attended the Anoka County Law Enforcement Memorial service for fallen officers at noon, a possible coincidence (irony) that it was held on the same day as my anniversary. Maybe I will just call it appropriate. As I got out of my car to enter the courthouse, I received a text from my friend Jeannie with a message that made me smile:
Today on your wedding anniversary, I am celebrating a great and powerful love that transcends death. I wonder what Shawn would say to you in an anniversary letter written today? That he is unbelievably proud of you–that would be one thing for sure.
Her note gave me permission to enjoy the day. I wasn't even sure up to that point how I was supposed to feel. It seems too obvious to be sad. Would it be odd if I allowed myself to be content? On the way home, I treated myself to a cappuccino-telling myself today can be good.
After school, I took my kids out for pizza and told them that this was the day I married their daddy. Jordan gave me a kiss and started to clap. He invited Maddi and I to join the applause. "Happy Anniversary, Mommy! 1-2-3-This is for you! Clap to celebrate the wedding."
We were the only ones in the pizza place when Jordan told us, "Okay, enough clapping otherwise people will think we're at a real wedding. And we don't want Daddy to feel left out."
Maddi said, "Daddy, never feels left out."
My contentedness poured into genuine happiness. How can these little children make everything okay? We sat eating sausage pizza with mushrooms and black olives. I noted how even pizza tastes better with them.
We went to the movie "How to Train Your Dragon" and wore 3D glasses. Maddi could barely keep them on her face, but was delighted with the objects on the screen spraying towards her. The movie made me cry with its message of being who you are meant to be, the power of a parent in a child's life, and the meaning of true sacrifice. The movie showed that things aren't always the way they seem and the importance to do the right thing.
When we left the theater, Jordan motioned to my side, "Mom, did you know daddy is standing right next to you? With an angel with big white wings."
Maddi nodded in agreement.
I wish I could see what they see.
"Come here," Jordan called, "Hi Daddy! We miss you. We love you."
Maddi echoed her brother.
I couldn't help but think that maybe, just maybe if Shawn were still here, we would have gone to the same movie, eaten the same popcorn and I still would have cried at the tale of bravery and sacrifice. Maybe, just maybe my kids still would have clapped at the pizza place for our wedding anniversary. And I'm pretty sure I would have still found a way to enjoy a cappuccino. I don't know what all these conclusions mean. Maybe just to say, it will all be okay.