It’s mid August in Nebraska which marks another school year starting. To some it’s the thrill of having their kids gone all day so they can get things done at home. To others it’s the stress of wondering if their child is making friends, behaving, and understanding the material; however, to the bereaved parent it marks another anniversary of not having a First Day of School picture. I see you. I hear you. I feel it too.
I think about another school year starting, specifically 3rd grade. I walk through Target seeing all of the school supplies, the Back to School display with shinny backpacks, thermoses and lunch boxes. There’s so many choices, a lot more than I had to choose from when I was starting 3rd grade. It’s almost too many choices. From animals, sparkles, super hero’s, sports teams, Disney characters, and plain ones; I look at them all, wondering.... Would Macie would have wanted everything princess like her little sister or would she be a “tom boy” wanting everything Cornhuskers like her daddy? We live in Nebraska and everything is Go Big Red in our house.
Then I stroll over to the supplies, there was always something about a freshly sharpened pencil and the smell of the paper of a new notebook that excited me when I was little. The brand new markers that are so new the caps are still hard to take off! I’ve always had a passion for learning and a love for “school” supplies and at 35 this hasn’t changed. I’m still a book nerd. I wonder if she would have had my love of learning? If she’d be excited to pick out supplies? If she’d have a preference for a freshly sharpened pencil or mechanic pencil? Things that seem so simple to parents. Things that most parents may even rush through. It’s okay.
I wonder who her teacher would be? What school she’d attend? Would we have moved back from Lees Summit if she hadn’t passed away? The truth is, as much as I love being back home in Nebraska, I simply do not know. I wonder who her friends would be and what’d they’d be like? Would she be into wearing dresses or athletic shorts? Would the first day of school be as monumental to her as it was to me? Would she have to try everything on to make sure she had just the right outfit for the first day? Would she let me walk her in on her first day or tell me good-bye from the sidewalk while she ran independently inside to her class?
I want to hug my 3rd grader and to hear all about her day. To see if she liked her teacher. To ask the daily question "what was the best part of your day today Macie?" and "what was the worst part of your day Macie?". If Maxene learns one thing from me, I hope it’s to find the good in people, in every situation, in all of life and everything in general. You may have to really look to find the good, but it's always there just below the surface, waiting .... I digress, we’re talking about my other daughter Macie.
I’m always going to wonder because Macie died. The day she died part of me died as well. A part of me that hasn’t come back to life just yet and probably never will; there is forever this tiny little void that is empty in my heart, for that is the spot where Macie's love lived; the very essence of me that was all hers .... and it is forever gone now. The day she died all of my hopes for her died. My dreams for her. My plans for her, plans that she probably would have changed because let’s face it she’s my kid.
I am learning that it is okay to long for her, to cherish her memory, to mourn her memory, and most importantly to simply miss her.
With all of this said, here is what the take away is: Enjoy the small things because when you look back they truly will be the BIG things. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life it’s okay to take that extra minute to enjoy the moment. Cherish it! Give that extra hug or kiss, give two or three! Take the picture, take a hundred of them! Capture that moment, remember it, love it and share it!
There will be a graduation day in 2029 and there will be one missing ... remember her, say her name ... Macie. And, please say a quick prayer of comfort for us as well.
All my love,
Forever Macie’s Mama.
My should be 3rd grader.
Forever 3 months and 19 days.
Class of 2029.