Today's blog posts (one long one split up) are brought to you by my wonderful husband.
"A guest post? By me??
I’ve thought about starting a blog of my own, but haven’t ever taken the first step. (Maybe I’ve been a bit intimidated by the well composed thoughts that Stephanie has published) Now as I write this post as a “guest” of my wife perhaps that seed will take root!
Stephanie has asked me to provide some of my perspective on our youngest daughter (Sarah) and to tell some of our story through a Dad’s viewpoint. It’s something that I think of often, but I’m not sure as to how to put it into written form.
Let’s start with a description of Sarah herself. She is in many ways the most demonstratively loving person that I know. Somehow she has an intuitive sense when someone is feeling down, and she responds immediately with hugs, “cunggles” (cuddles), and kisses. Perhaps the most striking examples of this side of Sarah were evident at the funeral of my Grandma Wunsch last summer.
If you read this blog, then you are well aware that we (okay, mostly Stephanie) homeschool our children. We view living and sharing life together as the best means by which to prepare our kids for their adult lives. That means allowing them to walk with us through some of the tough parts of life to see how we handle it... and helping them to break down the parts that went well and the parts that we should have dealt with differently. That’s how we all learn to move forward in life.
When Grandma passed away, it was an opportunity for all four kids to learn that:
- Death is indeed a part of life, and
- There are various ways and reasons that people grieve, and
- There are various ways that people gain comfort and give it to others
With these things in mind, they all came with Stephanie and I to the funeral. All four of them handled themselves well, but for the sake of this post I will focus on Sarah.
Stepping into the foyer of the funeral home, the first thing that she saw was the people that she loves... Grandparents, Uncle Mike, Great Aunts and Uncles, Cousins and Second Cousins, family friends, and people that she loves but hasn’t met yet. After saying hi to some people very quickly, she zeroed in on Mrs. Bannister.
“Grandma Bannister” as we call her, is the mother-in-law to my Mom’s brother. She has been coming to Wunsch Bunch gatherings for many years, and she is a hugger. Grandma Bannister is a sweetheart of a lady, and naturally was saddened to have lost the one person in the family who understood what it is to be a widowed family matriarch. Sarah bee-lined for Grandma Bannister, and immediately asked for a “hug-uppie”; her way of asking to sit on your lap for a hug and cuddle.
With some effort, Grandma Bannister lifted our little peep to her lap, and was rewarded with a big hug and a kiss on the cheek for her efforts. A smile came to Grandma Bannister’s face, and her body language relaxed in the way that is visible when one knows that they are genuinely and unconditionally loved.
A few moments later, Sarah met my cousin for the first time. Aleta had driven from the interior of British Columbia to be at the funeral, and (like all of us who were present) was having an emotional moment as we gathered in the family room to prepare to enter the funeral chapel. I can’t even begin to guess why, but rather than reach up for a hug, Sarah chose to kneel down and place a big kiss on Aleta’s foot. Maybe she couldn’t see how to give a hug to someone who was sitting with a kleenex to keep makeup intact, but she knew that some form of comfort was called for!
After the service (which Sarah behaved very well for), it was time for the internment. Walking to the graveside was a sombre affair on the sunny afternoon. Little was being said as people made their way across the manicured lawn and through the rows of headstones... until Sarah’s voice rang out.
“F’owers!! Look Mom, f’owers!!!”
It made me look up. Sarah was entirely right. The grass was green, the skies were blue, and many (if not most) of the graves had colorful bouquets on them. It was a well kept place to remember loved ones, and for the first time I focused more on the flowers than the markers that gave small insights to the lives of the deceased.
Even a graveyard can be a place of beauty and wonder if you use the right lens to look through. On that day, it was the lens that Sarah provided which opened my eyes to see.
That is one day in the life of Sarah that provides a lot of insight to her personality."