Sometimes, my kids surprise me. Well, not surprise, just impress. I already knew that William had a sensitive soul and that Lizzie has a huge heart but no idea how to express her emotions. (Because she doesn’t like to admit that she has them.)
Me, on the other hand, I’m a big ball of emotion. I’m the cry at commercials type of gal. But, that doesn’t mean that the reason that I cried today was in any way the same as a sentimental commercial. Because today was the laying of the wreaths.
Every year, at military cementeries across the country, volunteers and/or family members will put a wreath on every grave stone. It’s a beautiful tradition. Normally, there is a ceremony attached to the wreathing but due to this blasted pandemic, it was cancelled. Sad but honestly, it made it easier to get my kids on board when I was able to tell them that we had to be there at 9 but they didn’t have to stand for a long ceremony. I wasn’t overly disappointed, either, it really was a long ceremony last year, ha. But, for the record, I would not have had a problem with attending a ceremony to honor veterans. Let me just make that clear.
Anyway, a few days prior, I went out there and put a flag by my parents’ spot so that the volunteers would skip it and we could be the ones to put the wreath down. And today, the kids and I (Brian was working), met my sister, my niece, her boyfriend and her son out there. And their dog!
It was a beautiful day. Breezy but not too cold. It was peaceful and festive, for lack of a better word. Taps was being played by a few people and we posed for pictures with “my parents.”
I thought I had gotten past the crying. Not past missing them but at a stage where I’m “used to it.” But, not so much, apparently, because I broke down. I took a few steps away from my family. I’m not sure why because I know that they all feel it, too. But. I did and started bawling into my flowered mask.
When I felt someone hug me, I didn’t have to open my eyes to confirm, I knew it was William. I cried hard for a minute and he just hugged me with a patience that went beyond his years. I mumbled an “I’m sorry.” (Why do people feel compelled to apologize for having emotions anyway?) He said “It’s ok” and I cried a little longer.
Finally, I managed “I miss them so much.”
William whispered “I miss them, too.”
“I know you do.”
And that was that, I wiped my tears and we rejoined the family. I could feel Lizzie looking at me. I kind of expected her to say something blunt. She does that. But, instead she said “You know how people get customized shirts?” I confirmed that I did. “Well, maybe you could get one with a picture of Grandma and Grandpa.”
I told her that was a really good idea.
We said our goodbyes and we headed home.
I’m so proud of my kids. It’s been a year of extreme closeness and isolation at the same time, but somehow, I have watched them blossom, in spite of it. They are good people. The four of them got up earlier than they wanted to, masked up, and went to a somber activity. The cooperation without complaints was gift enough but the way those two had my back when I really needed it, that was more than I expected and everything I needed.