Dear Atticus, rough seas

At Grammy’s house this weekend.

Dear Atticus,

You stayed Saturday night at Grammy‚Äôs house so that your dad and I could go to see Josh Ritter at a show in Charlotte. We had a marvelous dinner and the music did not disappoint. Not that I expected it would–Josh Ritter is one of my favorites. We saw him once this year, and I already told you that he helped me see how important it is to love what you do. Last time he played with his band, but this was an acoustic show. The same sad songs, but they were a little bit more haunting this time.

Just before the concert (and, I admit, during the opening act), Grammy and I were texting about your bedtime and how you had been that evening. You are always good for Grammy, and you love to play at her house. Saturday was no exception. Grammy said that you ate a good dinner and had a little naked time in the bathroom after your bath before going to sleep.

There are times that I expect to miss your Granddaddy: holidays and his birthday and around the time that he died. Those are sad times, but I feel more prepared for them. The ones that lay me low are the ones that come from seemingly nowhere. A corny joke he would have liked. A question I have about the right tool for a job. And, Saturday night, the idea that he should have been there to watch you laughing and playing and tearing the house apart. The tears surprised me, stinging hot and fast.

I am so grateful for the life I have, Atticus. I have your dad, and a great job, and a nice house. And now we have you. But I am sad, too, missing your Granddaddy and wishing he was here. Until this point, I have mostly thought about how much I wish your Granddaddy was here for me. But now that you are bigger, that you know more things, I miss him for you. He would have liked to see you play, to watch you learn to walk and to throw and to chase. He would have done things to inspire your silly giggles. I wish that you got to experience those things with him.

A little bit later, Josh Ritter sang a song with the refrain, “Rough seas, they carry me wherever I go,” and the tears showed up again. It feels like that, sometimes, that it’s impossible to keep from being beaten down by life’s storms. Though we are doing our best, we are tossed and turned.

I wish I could make a pretty ending to this story, but the only thing that is going to change is that we will get more used to your Granddaddy being gone. We will regularly acknowledge what he is missing, how much we are missing him, but we will never get him back.

Life is full of rough seas. All we can do is keep swimming.


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