This amazing man died a week ago today.
This my father-in-law Barry. In this picture, he is holding his namesake - one of our twins.
I've been offline for almost a week to stay present for family and friends - and, to process life without him.
He has been a staple in our family and home since we became a family of 5. He and his wife moved to our town right before they were born, and so we have been blessed with their presence in our lives almost daily.
Barry was our knight in shining armour for the first year and a half. For those of you who have twins, you know how crucial it is to have extra help. Barry would show up at 6:45am when my husband was travelling to get our eldest organized for school. He would change diapers, cook eggs, participate in dance parties, read books, and giggle at the insanity of it all. His presence kept me sane and calm and grounded during one of the hardest times of parenthood.
He knew just when I needed a hug, or a smile... he knew to do my dishes so the kitchen was clean in the morning. He knew how to distract one of the kids so I could finish my coffee. He saw me in the eye of many storms and would tell me what a great mom I was. He helped my husband and I not loose sight of each other in the craziness of it all. He babysat so we could go on dates, and reminded us to hug more.
He has loved all my children fiercely since the moment he met them. He has showed them what it is to be a caring, tender, and loving man... He helped them find their footing in life, and created an environment for them to feel safe and cared for.
I know that our kids probably won't remember too much about him - if anything - but his love is in them, and he has forever changed who they are.
To be honest, I'm not quite sure how to be a mom without him around. And although I know that I will figure that out, right now I'm feeling mad that I even have to. But, I do know that he got us through the hardest part, and, in his support I was able to be a stronger and more loving mother to my kids... and this is a gift I will never forget.
To all you grandparents out there, remember that you matter. Remember that your role of loving unconditionally is so important. And, if you can do that not only for your grandkids, but also your kids, you will be giving the most beautiful gift you can imagine.