In our year of “firsts” without Simon, I figured Father’s Day would be the hardest for all of us. As the kids processed all that has happened, the older two were particularly concerned about Father’s Day. They had so many questions starting months ago. “How do we celebrate if we don’t have a dad? Will people make fun of us? Can you hurry and remarry before Father’s Day so we have a dad?” I have always responded with simple truths. You have a dad. His name is Simon. Even though he died, he will always be your dad. I will remarry but that doesn’t change who your dad is or how much he loved you. Many other people will spend Father’s Day without their dads, so you are not alone. And if anyone ever makes fun of you, let me know. I will have words for them. And perhaps a swift punch to the face. Okay, kidding about the last part. Sort of.
We went to church then spent the afternoon swimming with two dear friends who didn’t have their fathers around, either. The day went so much better than anticipated for all. We remembered Simon. We talked about last Father’s Day, when we went to church as a family then he wanted to catch up on yard work. He spent three hours in the backyard mowing, gardening, and removing a stubborn ficus tree. He was two days away from being diagnosed with terminal cancer but worked so hard outside that day. We also honored Jason. He has had to learn so much in the last six months. He spent yesterday playing with the kids in the water, refereeing some sibling fights, jumping in the pool in dry clothes to rescue our three year old that thought she could swim, and then wrangling them all to sleep. Simon wanted to raise his children. When he learned that was not his destiny, he expressed his desire for the kids to still have a father. I firmly believe Simon would be pleased with where we are now.
Simon loved being a dad and he was an amazing dad. He was absolutely besotted from the moment our first child was born. He was hands on, always willing to change diapers, always ready to rock a crying child in the middle of the night, and always available for hugs, wrestling, snuggles, tickles, running, talking, singing, dancing, and whatever else happened in the magical, unpredictable, and chaotic world of child rearing. He saved every card and project the kids made for him for Father’s Day. He showed off pictures of us to anyone who would look.
The kids know they are allowed to feel whatever they are feeling. It’s okay to feel like their dad was ripped away much too soon. But I remind them how incredibly favored they are to have had a father like that. Lord willing, the kids will grow into healthy adults and will naturally learn many of my quirks and imperfections. Simon gets to be their forever hero. Their memories of him will be young and sweet and untouched by the trials of this world. And I pray they become better people because of it.