We went to church with all the little families lining the pews, spending the day together to worship God and honor Mom. The kids and I sat in our normal place, but there was a spot next to me that wasn't filled. An empty seat.
We came home from church to have lunch. The kids wanted their usual almond butter on sprouted bread. After I made sure they had everything they needed, I sat down with my salad. We laughed and chit-chatted while we ate, but across from me there was someone missing. An empty seat.
Later in the afternoon, the kids had their violin recital. The recital happens once a year, every spring. This was Lyn's third year performing, but Jackson made his recital debut. He is so super shy so I wasn't surprised when one of his requests was for me to stand next to him on stage. He was so brave as he walked on stage in front of the audience and played his piece--the first 8 notes of a song. He took his little bow, and I escorted him off the stage and back into our seats. Next to me there was Lyn's violin case in an unused chair. An empty seat, at least void of person anyway.
Over this past year, the Empty Seat has been the most obvious symbol of my husband's absence. He's missed so much--birthdays, holidays, soccer games. I always feel a little bit of sorrow, missing him when I know how much he wishes he could be there.
We talk very openly in our family about our feelings. I never discourage the kids when they need to talk when they are having a "I miss daddy day". I always empathize with them, letting them know that it is ok to miss him because it means that we have such a great daddy we miss so much. I never mention the empty seat though, but I guess it is pretty symbolic to them too.
After dinner, I felt we all deserved a special treat so we went out for frozen yogurt. Hey, I had to still cook 3 meals myself today so I figured a little dessert was warranted:-) The kids decided that they wanted to eat at one of the outside tables. So we go and sit down at a table with four chairs. We are enjoying our yogurt, and I notice that Lynsey is exceptionally quiet with a rather sullen expression. So then I ask her:
"What's wrong?""Oh, nothing."
"Do you not like that flavor?"
"Yes, I like it"
"I can tell something is bothering you. You can tell me."
*sigh* "I'm just thinking about the empty chair at our table."
I squeeze her hand. "Me too, honey. Me too."