autism · Casey · confessions · LDS

Tradition.

Tradition. Every year after all of Valentine’s is over I cry. Weird, right? It get’s weirder. It’s because I miss my dad. On Valentine’s Day. Doesn’t make much sense, but keep with me.

All growing up Dad would be the one who would buy us a card and a bag of candy for Valentine’s day. He’d also buy my mom something thoughtful, I’m sure (I’m not really sure, I only know of a few stellar years- he might have been a total touche (I meant the ‘t’ there) but because he’s dead, he obviously did no wrong in his entire life).  He’d leave it on the table, and, most of the time, head out for work.  Even when he went in for surgery for the cancer the first time around, he made sure that there was stuff ready for Valentine’s Day- not knowing whether he’d be there or not.

I miss him a lot right now. I want to know what he’d say to me about my kids. I wonder what kind of encouragement he’d give when things get really hard on me.  I need his encouragement. I know he knows Abby and I have a feeling that he had his hand in her coming to our family.  I just wish I could hear it from him.

I have a letter he wrote to me while I was at Girls Camp the year before he died. My favorite part says, “Have you made any friends? Did you go on a hike? Did you find the fairy caves? I cant wait for you to tell me all about it!” and at the end it says, “I think a lot about you, Lex, and I hope you’re doing fine. It’s just not the same around here without you.”  I wonder if he thought it was just a letter that I’d eventually lose. If he had any idea that it would start to turn yellow and tear at the creases. That I’d run my fingers over the letters he wrote because it’s where his hand had actually touched. Or that I’d find so much meaning in his words.

Valentine’s WAS great this year though. Casey asked me if I’d be his Valentine. He had spent a couple of hours that day (after tricking me into playing hooky from school) coloring pictures. Then he brought me these:

I love that boy more than words. He is my sweetest kid. Every day he hugs me and tells me he loves me “so much”. I might not have appreciated all of this so much if he wasn’t autistic. Because I worried so much that he’d never read or write- but my biggest fear- was that he wouldn’t love or feel loved. Which is what that blasted holiday is really all about, right? Love? Yes? And if so, I had the best Valentine’s day ever. I’ve never felt so loved in my entire life.
(I love my husband a lot, too.)

7 thoughts on “Tradition.

  1. This post, oh my goodness. I'm sure your dad was an amazing, amazing man … just as you are an amazing, amazing young woman. I'm so glad you had such a great Valentines's day!

  2. That is way too sweet! What an awesome guy your dad was. It's too, too unfair that he was taken from you. I'm so glad you kept that letter from him! And Casey being able to express his love for you like that is an amazing blessing. You made an emotional pregnant woman cry!

  3. This made me get all teary. I think I miss my dad but I don't really know, it's been so long. I was only ten when he died. A kid. But I do wonder these same things: What would it be like to hear him say he's proud of me? What would his face have looked like when I read my mission call? What would it be like to see his face as my kids run up to him screaming, "Grandpa!" These are the difficult thoughts. I know he is proud of me but I wonder what it sounds like too. I'm glad/sad to have a friend that understands what that feels like.Anyway, Casey is super cute with his Valentines. I love that he can give you sweet surprises when you really need them!

  4. I thought about that, too, when I was writing it. It's amazing to me how many of our friends have lost a parent- many of us when we were young. I was only 13, so not much older than you, Jill. I'm pretty sure my dad is proud of me, too. And that's a good thought.

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