Last week the kids and I stopped by McDonald’s for an extremely unhealthy lunch of french fries dipped in a caramel sundae.
I shudder now thinking of all the sickening sugar, salt and fat.
Yet at the time it was just the thing. The kids smiled with glee at the decadence and complete abandon of our relatively strict diet guidelines. They felt a bit like they were in cahoots with their Dad.
We were upholding what has become an annual tradition. Eating two of Mick’s favourite foods on his birthday in McDonald’s which was where Mick worked as a teenager.
He would have turned forty five.
Our quick lunch was all we did on Mick’s birthday to pause and remember.
It was fun, it was sad and it was just enough.
As Mick’s birthday approached, I considered taking the kids to the cemetery but the actual day and the rest of the week was full of school holiday activity which I was reluctant to rearrange. We had plans. To spend special play time with new and old friends. A bushwalk along the coastline one day. A bike ride around the lake on another. Our son has recently taken up skateboarding and is dedicating several hours a day to improving his skills. He also attended and enjoyed two half day basketball skills camps on his own.
Would Mick mind if we didn’t visit his ashes? Did the kids need to travel to the other side of town to see the plaque?
I felt that a trip to the cemetery would interrupt our flow.
So when my daughter and I picked up my son from the basketball camp, I announced that we were off to McDonalds for lunch because it was Mick’s birthday. We would dip chips in the ice cream just like Mick used to. They both linked arms in excitement as we walked to the car. They agreed that we would visit the cemetery another day. We had lots of fun things to get to later that day but first of all, chips, ice cream and caramel were non-negotiable!
No, I thought to myself. Mick definitely wouldn’t mind if we didn’t visit the cemetery. He would be pleased and proud that the kids and I are busy growing, learning and loving while also fondly remembering him.
I sent photos of the caramel sundae to my in laws and in return they sent a photo of flowers that they had placed by Mick’s plaque in the cemetery. They found comfort and cheer in our photos as we did in theirs. Connected by love to each other and to Mick.