The first day of school. This is the first time Ben has ever missed the first day of school. Yes, that’s the kind of Dad he was …. always present on that first day, even if it meant leaving for work late when they were a bit older, or zipping home quickly when they were younger just for photos.
Today was the first day of Jaime’s grad year, and Ben is not here to see it. Such a loss for Jaime, but oh how my heart breaks for Ben. How thrilled he would have been to help her navigate through scholarship applications this year. He would have loved going to University open houses, and he even would have loved the search for a grad dress because that’s just the kind of Dad he was. Present and involved. How cruel life is that he will never have those experiences that he so deserved …. that he had earned the right to enjoy.
And so begins this school year, where every day is a day closer to Jaime’s grad without her Dad.
Jaime and Jonah – Grade 1, Grade 7, Grade 12.
Raegan and Jaime – Grade 10 and Grade 12
My goal this year is to do everything I can to try to be everything the girls need. To be present for them as their ever patient Dad was, and as I promised him I would be. I’m not entirely certain that I’m up for that task – Ben was the homework helper, the driver, the motivator and the pep talker. (One might read this and wonder exactly what I did, since Ben did so much. I don’t blame you really. Since Ben died I have wondered that too. At this point in my life I cannot remember exactly how I fit into my daughter’s lives while Ben was alive, because his absence has left such an overwhelming void that it feels as though he must have taken care of everything. I know that’s not true. I know I’ve been involved because the girls insist I smother them. So the good news is that I obviously participated in some fashion, but I just can’t remember how.)
As I write this, Jaime has just come upstairs to ask me how to hook up the speakers to the television so that she can watch tv with her boyfriend. (Remember the boyfriend? The one Ben never got to meet?) The speakers were unhooked because of the painting, and I don’t know how to hook them up again. Ben would know.
Clearly it seems as though I cannot in fact be everything for the girls after all. But I hope I can be enough.