But then I thought if I told you too much about Lancaster (such as the fantastic new yoga studio or the kids' experience at farm camp), you would probably want to live there. And then real estate would be driven up and there would be waiting lists at the local private schools and it would ruin it for everyone.
So forget I even mentioned it. Instead I'll tell you about my dad's birthday, which is today.
Okay. We gave Beatrice a piece of scrap to make her card on, Gabriel folded some red construction paper, and hesitated. What does one say to a dead person on his birthday? It was unknown territory for both of us. We laughed and considered sorry you're dead but then Gabriel confessed he wanted to be serious about this. So I suggested he just tell his grandpa - who was surely one of the best people for talking about feelings in the whole world - how he felt.
Sad. He felt sad. And that he wished he could meet him.
When it came time to sign the card, Gabriel again paused. "I could put my name, but he won't even know who I am, Mama. ...What if I write 'Meagan's son'?"
Oh no, I assured him. He knows you are Gabriel. (He does? Does he? Yes. I think.) God makes sure of that.
Frances caught wind of what we were doing and made a card too. She didn't want me to see what she wrote, because it's just for Grandpa.
Then we confronted yet another challenge involved in making a birthday card for a dead person: how to deliver it? In the end, we build a tiny firepit in the backyard and burned the cards, in the hope that the tiny wafts of smoke might make it to heaven. We cried, a little. And then, maybe in honor of their grandpa's wild spirit, I showed the kids how to light matches for the first time. Fire is so cool.
Happy birthday, Dad.