Jeremy in the sailor suit, and his other mini-me, Carter bearing the same sweet features.
Now the school is in full swing and we've kinda (and I use that term loosely) got a routine going, I've been able to spend a lot of one-on-one time with my man cub. I haven't had just one child with me in over 5 years! It's been nice to just play with him, talk to him, and watch him grow. His life thus far seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye and I know I was checked out for the first part of it. I feel like I've missed a lot.
Spending more time with him has made me face a lot of grief associated with his life, though. Watching him learn new things and knowing that Jeremy will never get to see him grow. The ache that comes with the understanding that Jeremy never got to hold his son. Thinking about the day he was born never ceases to make me emotional. Sometimes I think that day was harder in some ways than the day Jeremy died. We talk about 'daddy' all the time - he associates my necklace with Jer, the pics of him around the house, the tattoo on my arm, even the Toronto Maple Leafs logo he recognizes with his daddy. It's so incredibly bittersweet.
Last week, I sat down and showed Carter the video I have of Jeremy reading "Barnyard Dance" to Faith and Caleb. He was mesmerized. And I was full of tears and smiles. We went about our day and week until the other day, Carter was pointing to the table throwing a fit because I couldn't understand what he was wanting. When I finally figured out that he was pointing to my computer and saying "read Daddy, read Daddy" I burst into tears.
Not only did he remember, he wanted more. More of his daddy. He wanted more of this presence he hears referred to all the time but hasn't met him or touched him yet. To hear his voice, see his face, and see him snuggle up against his big brother and sister made an impact on that little 19-month-old heart. He watched it again and again.
For all the times I worry that Carter may not understand or I might share enough....I realize that Jeremy really is a presence in our hearts and in our lives. And he's in the heart and life of a little man cub who's never met him face to face, but who lives out his legacy as the spitting image of his daddy.