Last week we went on vacation. It was greatly needed, and a really nice time. There is a huge difference between the vacations you take when you have toddlers and what you can do with older kids. We were able to be really active, and outdoors.
After Henry died, I found the most relief in doing new, different things. Things he had never done, would never do; I didn't see him there. Familiar things had such a sting, his absence was so palpable. There was a bit of escapism in the novel adventure.
Now, his absence is part of the routine, the usual. All of the paths of everyday life have been trodden without him enough times that I no longer expect him there.
I was surprised to find how much I missed him on vacation. There were so many things that we did that he would have enjoyed. I thought of him so frequently, and it made me sad. The ubiquitous 6 year old boy with blue eyes that hangs out in family vacation spots made it easier to imagine him there with us, fighting over who got to sit by the window. I remember writing about missing a dead child, wondering if I would miss him at age 4 for the rest of my life, or if I would miss the person I imagined that he would have become. This trip it was definitely 6 year old Henry that I kept seeing.
I only cried once on vacation, and the girls didn't notice, for which I was glad. I don't try to hide all of my emotions from them, but they had such a good time and I didn't want to dampen their spirits.