Thankfully a Child Will Lead Them

 In General

Thankfully, a Child Shall Lead Them: “Would you like to play a game?” Arie asks, smiling, right after we finished dinner last night. I paused. There were big ups and downs to the day. I was tired and not in a game-playing mood.

The day held moments of laughter mingled with my heart weeping, “I want to talk to my Daddy!” I am a Daddy’s Girl through and through.

Papa was a Man, in all the glory and dignity that word is designed to invoke. Papa actually lived Manhood in Sacrificial Love.

He has been my Father, my Mentor, my Coach, my Best Friend, my Counselor, my Encourager, my Hero. A Gentle Warrior. A Faithful, Dependable Father.

Papa was ahead of his time, saying, “It doesn’t matter if you are a boy or girl, you can do whatever you want in life. You can be a leader, just be a good leader.” And he really meant it. Papa laid this foundation starting in my girlhood, and then, in the girlhood of my daughters.

If I let fear in, I can feel pretty lost right now. If I choose trust in God, there is hope. God has met us in peace at every turn through our friends, family, His Presence, and His Word.

I purposed to let my girls have a gentle leadership role in this grief process as a way of empowering their new grief journey. I let our family set the pace in loss. Which means I may not return calls or messages right away, because I’m focusing on time with my girls.

Papa really is the only living father-figure they have grown up with over the past 10 years after losing their own father.

Arie and Sophia only remember their father, Jason, from pictures, videos and the loving stories we tell.

Papa is the one who stepped up, at the age of 73, to help me raise my daughters with love, honor, humor, dignity, and respect. He always had fun, loving stories about their father, Jason.

Papa modeled true Manhood and Fatherhood to us.

“Come on! It’ll be fun!” Arie smiles and waves a yellow balloon with writing on it that says, “What are You Thankful for?” “Kymry, (her friend from our congregation), will play music and we’ll toss the balloon. You’ll like this.” Sophia and her friend, Jayla, eagerly join. The grown-ups get up slowly from the dinner table. How can we say no?

“This is the Thankful Game,” Kymry announces. “I will play music and we’ll toss the balloon, and when the music stops, whoever has the balloon will say what they are thankful for.”

“Um, this is ‘Gratitude in Grief'” I think to myself. “I actually teach this stuff and my kid and her 14-year-old friend have made it so much better by adding play to the process!” God has a sense of humor.

So we play the game, and every time the music stops someone says what they are thankful for. We are laughing together and the peace floods in again. Hope is here.

The laughter of children and the love in our home, reminds me not to be afraid, but to be thankful. Thankful for my Most Heroic Papa.

I’m thankful I am his daughter. Thankful I can feel him and have his words of wisdom in my heart.

I’m thankful for my girls, who in their youthful wisdom let play, love, and grief co-mingle and the result is Life. Simply beautiful.

I’m thankful for loving friends and family, both near and far. Thankful for your love, prayers, and support, which means the World to us!

Thankful for Jason’s mom, Sylvia Starbuck, (her name always sounds like a superhero name to me, and she fits the bill). We’ve worked through the loss of her son, my late husband, Jason, together. There were times it was very hard. The beautiful result, with much encouragement by my father, is a really loving, authentic relationship with my MIL (Mother-In-Love).

I’m thankful Sylvia Starbuck flew in to be with us for Thanksgiving. I didn’t ask, she just left a message on my phone that I had turned off, telling me she was coming. Thank God for a Mother-in-Love with Moxy! She gets the journey, celebrating and crying with me.

I’m thankful for it all. Thankful for friends coming over to be in the raw places of grief. Thanks Missy Eleazer for coming today with your beautiful girls to play with mine, and together, having the kids lead with playful, grateful love.

Thanks to Marianne See Kuzmin for coming the day of my father’s passing with her daughter, Amelia, and doing life with us: eating dinner with my neighbors and daughters, watching a movie and letting Amelia sleepover. It was the best thing on the first morning with Papa in heaven, to hear the laughter of children playing on the trampoline in my backyard.

Papa was a Papa to many of us. One of the gifts he leaves us with is his example of grace, gratitude, forgiveness, and love for one another. That’s a lot to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving, with Love from our family to yours.

Let’s keep the hope flowing. Now, I toss the balloon to you. What are you thankful for?

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