Will it always be this way?

After trying to get a fussy boy to nap on his own, I decided to just let R sleep on me. I know it's not what the sleeping experts would say to do, but with the month I've had, I needed some snuggles. As I sat there with him snoozing away, quietly snoring, I was hit with a wave of thought. How could my dad really not be with us anymore? When I picture him in my mind, I'm unable to recognize the man that I saw the last month he was alive. I expect him to walk around the corner, in khaki pants, local sports polo shirt, boat shoes, and a windbreaker in his hand. (For me, because I never take a jacket anywhere so I always stole his.) I see him walking in Richmond to a VCU vs. ODU game, haggling with people selling tickets. I see him jumping in the pool, his dog Shanna barking because she didn't like him to jump in. I see him working in the backyard, all of the neighborhood dogs under his feet. I see so vividly him sitting at the bottom of Cup Run and showshoe having a cup of vegetarian chili. I can picture the clothes he would be wearing, the smile on his face after a hard day of skiing, and the moon shape creases under his eyes from the joy of being with friends and family. Will I always have to remind myself that he is gone? Will it always be this way?
At the same time, I have to stop and caution myself... my kid is growing up so quickly that I know things won't always stay the same. Will I always feel like time is moving so quickly? Will I ever feel like the time I have is enough?  I feel like I'm missing so much precious time with my son. I'm good at my job, and I love it. But will I ever learn to balance the tugging that I feel both to be a mom and a teacher? Am I wasting the time where big R will run up and kiss me, hold my hand, or snuggle into my neck and fall asleep? Soon he will be too big and too cool for those things.
It's strange, the way time can stand still and rush by simultaneously. The ebb and flow of feelings. Grief doesn't happen all at once, but rather in deep heart stopping moments. Neil's phone links to my bluetooth automatically when we get in the car. His dad was calling, but my radio just reported "call from dad." It's something that I'll never hear again from my phone. I see Neil wearing one of dad's old jackets, and it hits again. There is a strange excitement, but also grief over R growing so quickly. In a way, I'm grieving the loss of the baby stage with his having moved into the toddler age. Again I wonder, will it ever change? Will I feel this way about every stage, missing the last one?
Life takes the strangest twists and turns. One thing that I hope stays the same is the supportive village that surrounds us. In the past few weeks, I've gotten phone calls, texts, letters, emails, had visits and food delivered. We had a meal train that filled up so quickly that we had to limit the nights. (That's not a complaint!) I've felt the love and support from my family and friends, and it only reinforces the fact that no matter what happens, people are there for us. I hope all of my friends know how thankful we are and how much we appreciate them. I guess this is life's way of focusing on the good rather than the bad. At least for now, things seem to be staying this way.
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