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On Tuesday, for her birthday, LatteGirl and TheWife went to the beach and had a fantastic time. It seemed that the best “present” LatteGirl got this year, was that since they were situated so close to the shoreline, that TheWife allowed her to wander freely back and forth from the shore to scoop up wet sand and water and carry it back to their location. She started out doing t his under the guise of building a sand castle. But as she continued her romps down to the water, it became clear that she was more interested in her new found independance and ability to run up and down “by herself” more than the prospect of building the sand castle.
I met up with my girls at home, and we went out to dinner. Plans changed along the way, because LatteGirl decided that she wanted to bypass her original choice (Applebee’s) for a local (chain) Italian Restaurant called Bensi’s. Tell me something. What six year old selects an Italian Restaurant as their choice of places to go out to eat when the have (almost) total freedom of choice? Oh, and one of the reasons she decided to bypass Applebee’s? Because she remembered seeing somebody getting cake and all the waiters and waitresses singing happy birthday, and she “did NOT want to be embarassed like that” (her exact words – she truly is her mother’s daughter).
At dinner, things got somber for awhile. We were discussing who would be attending the “family party” this weekend. When it was mentioned that “grandma” (my mother) would be attending. Her smile went away, she stopped talking about the party and her eyes started to well up with water. When we asked her what was wrong (the conversation had continued on briefly before we noticed she was no longer participating, and did not immediately make the connection), she pointed out to us that there would be one person not attending that was going to ruin the whole thing (there are several people who could not attend). “Who?” She looked at us like we had three green heads for not immediately knowing the answer. “Poppi,” she emphatically stressed before breaking down into tears.
My father passed away in 2004. He adored LatteGirl and she adored him. I always wanted to make sure that LatteGirl would get to know them, and from a very early age, we used to spend at least once a week there. The good thing is, that they are strong enough a presence that she will at least always have some sort of memory of Poppi. The drawback, (at least in the short term) is the severe greif she feels, even a little less than 2 years after his passing, and I feel powerless to her feeling that without him here, there is always going to be “missing pieces” that can not be replaced.