This time of the year---every year---I struggle. I struggle with the holidays. I struggle with being festive. I struggle with smiling. I struggle hard. I always get sick. I always retreat. I always go dark. I always apologize profusely for not knowing how to balance grieving, honoring, mourning, celebrating my Father's life alone.
My Father wasn't very likable. He was a terrible husband. He was a terrible brother. He was a terrible friend. He kinda sucked at everything that he did; except being my father. He was hands down an amazing father. All of my memories of our time together make my heart smile. Like the day that I realized that we had the same nose. Or how cozy, calm, and content I felt in his arms. I still remember his ridiculously silly versions of fairly tales that you'll never find in a book (trust me, I looked) and how we shared Eskimo kisses before bed. He was an excellent father and I never ever once doubted or questioned his love for me.
As I cleaned out my daughter's backpack, I found this picture:
The caption was so simple yet incredibly complex and genuinely sweet: "I am thankful for family." I realized that there is no reason, no reason whatsoever, that I had to work through this time of the year alone. I gathered my minions around me and for the first time, I showed them snapshots of their grandfather. We laughed and we giggled about the crazy fairly tales that my dad told. I explained why I gave them Eskimo kisses every night before bed. I shared how my son got his name.
I felt amazing.
My daughter asked me if we could pray for her granddaddy at bedtime and thank him for watching over us.
So simple yet incredibly complex and genuinely sweet.
I'm thankful for my family. My dad's not here beside me, but he's always with me. His love lives in me and now his love lives in my kiddos too.