As I write this, I am on an airplane headed from SLC to ATL. I have just left a most wonderful week with my children.
It was absolutely marvelous.
I feel as though I have had a band aid the size and strength of duct tape ripped off of my heart.
Last night we had our Christmas since we would not actually be together on Christmas day. After opening the presents, Juju and Riri immediately went to work on their artistic projects. Riri made her own markers using the kits she received and Juju painted her first painting with her new kit. She chose to pain a panda bear since both her and her sister received stuffed pandas for Christmas. You can see photos below of them in action.
As my last evening was winding down and we were all getting sleepy, Yana sat on the couch and shared something personal with me. She said that the week or so before I arrived, many of her friends were talking to her about their dads and the lack of presence they have in their lives. She said she felt it was a message of appreciation from God. She told me how grateful she was to have a father who she knows loves her no matter what. I affirmed that was true beyond a shadow of a doubt and I thanked her for sharing that with me.
This morning as I left the house at 6 am, I went up to each of the girls, who were sleeping snuggly in their beds, and gave them a huge hug and a kiss.
With tears falling from my face onto their pillows, soft whispers of “I love you so much Dad” warmed my heart beyond belief and were the greatest Christmas gift a dad could receive.
I said a silent prayer for them and then tried to find my way down the hallway, down the stairs and out the door without being able to see through the cascading tears.
A friend of mine used to refer to the “Christmas feeling” as the feeling of not wanting the magical Christmas time to end. I fully experienced that last night and this morning. It is never enough time with my children. That said, I am so very thankful to have been blessed with the time I had with them this week. It truly was a special gift.
And while I am aching over leaving them, I am as equally joyful that I am flying home to be with Stensen. We should have never made travel arrangements the way we did that had us separated at this time. I will NEVER make that mistake again.