On Growing Up

As most of you know, I love country music. A current favorite of mine is Maddie & Tae (see: Fly). They have another song, that generally the lyrics don’t mean as much to me as some songs, but one line says “that’s the downside of growing up.”

That’s alright, that’s okay
It’s just the way you find your way
It’s the road you gotta take to get where you’re going
You’re gonna twist, you’re gonna turn
But it’s how you’re gonna learn
A lot about life, a lot about love
On the downside of growing up

Gosh, isn’t it true? Life is hard. Some people have it worse than others, but everyone has their own struggles. Our biggest struggle, our deepest loss, losing Joanna and learning to live without her, is rough.

As we grow up we have these hopes and dreams and a vision of what our lives will be. We don’t realize what we are in for…working so hard and never feeling like we are getting ahead. Health issues. Losing grandparents. Financial struggles. Job changes. Friendships fade. Moving away from home. Losing children… So many things for which we’d hoped that didn’t come true or don’t turn out the way we planned.

We spend so much of our childhood wanting to grow up only to realize there are some pretty awful downsides to adult life.

But as I think of that: the downside of being an adult, I am quickly brought back to the reality that I get to be an adult. Joanna will never grow up. She will never be an adult.

Even with all the rough and tough stuff that happens to us as adults, oh, how I wish Joanna were here to grow up and discover so much good in the journey.

Working hard and being proud of what you do. Falling in love and marrying your one and only. Becoming best friends with your mom and always holding the title of daddy’s little girl, though you’re almost 30. Friendships that last 10 years, or 21 and that only grow stronger even when heartache happens. Adopting a pet who steals your heart forever. Becoming a parent and loving someone more than you ever thought possible.

The downside of growing up is that not everyone gets to do it — but they should.

If only they could.


One of the oddest things about being grown-up was looking back at something you thought you knew and finding out the truth of it was completely different from what you had once believed. –Patricia Briggs

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For Father’s Day

For Mother’s Day I wrote a post meant for all mothers in all stages of their motherhood journey. And so I thought, all fathers should be honored and recognized, no matter what part of their fatherhood journey they are on.

Happy Father’s Day to all men. Whether you have children, want children, have a child on the way, have lost a child, or have an empty nest, Sunday is your day. You have love in your heart for a child(ren) that will be, already is, or was.

Once you become a dad, you’re always a dad. It’s a really special thing to be a dad. You have the privilege of leading a household and raising children to do the right thing, to be caring, to show them and teach them compassion, to show them love and teach them how to love.

Love, to me, is the most important. I learned a lot about love from my dad. He loves my mom with all his heart. He is good to her, he puts her first, he is kind. In turn, he also loves his children and cares for them and supports them in all they do. Watching him love my mom has shown me how a man should love a woman. One of the greatest lessons I learned from him is love. Because I knew what to look for, I have the most amazing husband. I also have the most amazing father for my children.

Since losing J we have found that fathers often get the short end of the stick when it comes to mourning and grieving. People always ask the dads how the moms are doing but they forget that the dads also lost a child. Their hopes and dreams have been dashed. Their hearts broken. Their pain is just as real as the pain of the moms.

So this Father’s Day, remember the bereaved dad. For his burden is heavy: taking care of his wife, assuring her he loves her and will always be with her. Remember him, because he carries his child in his heart, but he loves her just the same as if he were holding her in his arms. Remember him, because though he seems strong, his heart breaks every day.

Be kind to him. He puts on a happy face but he is still sad. Love him, because he is one of the strongest dads as he carries the weight of grief on his shoulders.

I have often heard that because we love deeply, we hurt deeply. No one loves these little lost lives as much as their parents. No one knows, aches, with the hurt as much as them.

If your babies are still with you, hold them close for the dads who can’t cuddle their daughters. If your babies have grown and are away from home, call them and enjoy the sound of their voices for the fathers who can’t laugh with their sons. If your babies are on the way, sing to them and feel them tumbling around in the womb for the dads who will never hold their babies again.

Whatever kind of dad you are, you’re wonderful and you’re someone’s hero. I know Joanna’s dad is both of these things to me, and to J.

We love you! Happy Father’s Day!