Connecting & Crying With Laura Ingalls Wilder

Yesterday I found a kindred spirit who also loved her bearded, Papa.  Someday I will write here daily and make entire posts out of the “aha moments” I scratch down on random slips of paper or my mental chalkboard.  But until then, it’s when I make the time and for this, I AM making the time.  It seems fitting that yesterday of all days this happened, the same day I had just taught my own Creative Writing students about the impact of writing.  I explained how some don’t believe the author to be the author of the book.  Instead, the reader is the author because they are going to interpret the story their own way.  What might be meaningless to one person might be brilliant to someone else because it connects with them differently.  Last night, I had a connection.  Here is my journal entry about it…

I was really blubbering tonight (have been a lot lately) but how could I not lose it while listening to this violin (that could have been part of a Civil War reenactment) play Auld Lang Syne and while reading these words: She looked at Pa sitting on the bench near the hearth, the firelight gleaming on his brown hair and beard and glistening on the honey-brown fiddle. She looked at Ma, gently rocking and knitting. She thought to herself, ‘This is now.’ She was glad that the cozy house, and Pa and Ma and the firelight and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago.”

You can watch the video here…
The kids rushed in and gave me hugs, and asked why I was sad. And I was honest. “I miss my Dad.” I don’t know how to not miss my Dad. That’s like asking someone not to miss the stars or the majesty of colors in a sunset. It’s asking someone not to miss the safest, warmest love they’ve ever known because a Father’s love is like no other. We’re coming up on our first Thanksgiving without him here sitting with us. Last Thanksgiving was the final time my whole family was together, and my emotions are constantly just under the surface. And though I know he is doing greater things now than I can possibly imagine, and that I will see him again some magnificent day, the daddy’s-little-girl side of me wants him visibly here, right now. It will be a year at the end of January since he passed. A year that I have not had his green eyes to stare into. A year that my daughter has not had the chance to play and pull on his beard and see him smile. Or see my son just rest next to him in bed, reading him books. I’m grateful he’s not bedridden anymore, but he’s so painfully missed some days.
The other night my Michael came out from his bed crying terribly, saying he missed Grandpa. That’s when your own faith is tested, when you have to explain on the spot what you believe is true and why it keeps you going. Because it does. It really does keep you going and keep you strong. And yet, there is still a touch or sometime a monsoon of sadness in a moment, because you were so lucky to have someone so precious, and then in a breath have them gone for a while.

One of my favorite album pages of us
“Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind? ” No. I will remember him. I will remember him fiercely, and keep his memory alive and wonderful for my kids. That is the easy part. Just like Laura Ingalls Wilder put it, I have had so many gleaming, glistening, cozy “nows” with my childhood family, and then my good husband added in and then my sweet kids too. And I know we will make more all together someday, in a new, beautiful place. Till then, I will remember his brown hair and beard. I will remember his Civil War music, and relish the fact that my kids love the simple violin with its free melodies too. I will hold my mom extra close on the days she wears the sweater she knit for my Dad. And I will think to myself each day “This is now.” And I will make it a “Now” worth remembering.
Love, Eva

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