Leading by Example

Something as innocent as picking up my son from preschool, can turn into a heartbreaking moment…

One afternoon, I picked Kaden up from school and as we were driving away, he saw a schoolmate out the car window walking home with her Dad. Kaden’s little voice spoke up from the back seat, “I wish my Daddy could pick me up from school.” Ouch! Talk about a heart wrenching moment. Tears instantly filled my eyes. I let my tears silently flow down my cheeks while I tried to catch my breath. In a trembling voice I told him that I missed Daddy as well. I told him that his Daddy is always with him and watches over him proudly and we love him beyond words.

I knew in my heart that Kaden was slightly aware that his wish wouldn’t be fulfilled, but it was a moment for him to reflect on his sadness. He often tells me how he misses his Dad and loves him. He recounts a special memory of his Dad taking him on a train ride over the Harbour Bridge and walked around Sydney city capping off the day with bowling and a hot chocolate. When he sees particular cars or when he watches the Giants play baseball, he mentions his Dad.

I spent the next few days reflecting on Kaden’s wish and I realised that no matter how much I dream to take away any pain or confusion from him, it is not possible. I can not mend his broken heart. I can not replace his daddy or bring him back. As a parent its a tough position to be in. I know I can do my part of providing him with a loving, safe and nurturing home environment and enrich his life to the best of my ability, but to what extent has this effected his innocence?

I am well aware that tough days still lie ahead. The questions and observations about how life is different without his Dad will continue to come. How I answer those questions and how I help guide him through the tough moments is where it counts. If we want our children to learn some of life’s hardest concepts, as parents we need to lead by example.

My children are loved, so they show love. My children see joy around them, so they are filled with joy. They are constantly supported and secure, so they can explore their world knowing someone has their back. Life is full of adversity, but maybe, just maybe their resiliency will shine through. Our life will never be “better,” it will be different. The differences will fill our being with new experiences, new friends, new emotions, new outlooks on life which will enhance our souls. Our hearts will grow bigger and stronger.

What we do with the days we have left is what matters. I plan to continue to show my kids that even through devastation and heart-break, life is still beautiful and worth fighting for. Matthew is with us always and that is one thing that can never be taken away.

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