“I WANT PINK DONUTS!!!” Gracie shouted. “Nobody ever buys them for me, and I am mad that nobody even remembers that they are my favorite! Everyone always gets me brownies, cake, cinnamon rolls, or cookies, but NOBODY ever gets me pink donuts.” Tantrums aren’t rare in my house. With 3 young children, they are probably even a daily occurrence. But this tantrum was truly epic: Tears streaming, foot stomping, and a look of pure disgust on my five year old’s face.
My first thought was of how I must be spoiling my kids too much. I refuse to raise entitled kids, and that was quite the list of baked goods that she had just stuck her nose up at (insert eye roll here). In fact, Ryan had taken her on a date just this Saturday. They went out for some indulgent cookie dough cinnamon rolls, and I was about to remind her of just that.
But then I really looked at her. Something stopped me when I saw the broken hearted look on her face. I quietly sat on the floor of her bedroom.
“Tell me about pink donuts. Why are they your favorite?”
Gracelyn sat on the ground with her arms folded angrily across her chest. “They are my favorite because they have sprinkles. They are my favorite color. They taste so yummy. And…….Daddy used to always surprise me with pink donuts.” There it was. Daddy used to buy her pink donuts. And then he was gone, and so were the pink donuts. I asked her if maybe she wasn’t actually mad about not getting pink donuts, but maybe she was really mad about her Daddy dying. Her eyes immediately filled with tears and she sobbed into my shoulder.
“I miss my Daddy.”
She poured her sweet little heart out to me. She told me how afraid she is of forgetting things about her Dad. She told me how she misses her Daddy all of the time…especially at night. She admitted that after Ryan and I tuck her in at night, she opens her window coverings and looks up into the dark sky. She prays every night for her Daddy to come back, and is surprised every time he isn’t there when her eyes open.
I have no doubt that Ry sits there on the edge of the bed with her, watching her little heart break. I’m sure he wishes he could take away her pain as much as I do. He misses her too. I told her this, and then turned on one of her favorite “Daddy Songs.”
Gently close your eyes so gently
See the dancing starlight worlds away
Softly angels whisper softly
Hear their lullaby sing drift away
Sailing through the sky you’re sailing
Chase the moon til sunrise wakes the day
And I will guard you while you’re sleeping
And I will be here waiting when you wake
Let this peace set you free
And sweetly rest
We spent the next hour sitting in front of the computer. I turned on a slideshow of all of the pictures I have of Gracie with her Dad. We wore his baseball caps, and sprayed his cologne on our shirts. We both cried, smiled, and remembered. When the slideshow ended, and there were no more pictures left to see, Gracie folded her arms. She said a short but powerful little prayer. She asked to feel her Daddy near, and asked for help to feel happy again. Then she bounced up and ran to play with her toys.
Sweet Gracie, I hope you always know how loved you are. Even though you have endured more than any little girl should ever have to go through, you still have your innocence and your sweetness. You teach me every day what it means to have the “faith of a child.” If you can get through this, one of the hardest things you will ever face in your life, you can do anything. Sometimes you just have to take life a day at a time, or when it is hard just a moment at a time is ok too.
As for today, at this moment, we are choosing joy.
We are eating Pink Donuts.