For the 4th of July this year, we were invited to a friend's house for fireworks. There were tons of people invited. On the day of the party, I scanned the Facebook invitation, only to realize that, for the most part, it was strictly families that were on the list.
It was an honor to be included, but I was hesitant to go...
I didn't recognize a lot of the names on FB, and I wasn't sure how it would feel to see families snuggling up their kiddos to enjoy the pyrotechnics. (Not to mention that I struggle with being in public to begin with...)
Eventually, my husband and I decided it was better to go and hang out than to stay home and be anti-social (this was EXTREMELY hard for me, as I prefer to crawl into my hiding space and avoid social situations).
We arrived, and were greeted immediately. We scoped out several people we knew, and it was okay....but I still really struggled. We met some new people we hadn't met before, and while they never asked if we had kids, they had kids.
Everyone was extremely nice and welcoming, but it was hard watching families interacting. They were intact.
I felt like I couldn't really talk to anyone about the emotions I was facing. Of course, the fears I had stemmed from my own interpretation of the situation, but that didn't lessen them any.
Then, about the time I felt like I didn't belong at all and should just go, I met a woman who knows a family that attends the same Compassionate Friends chapter that I do. That helped some. I found myself feeling freed in being able to recognize my deceased daughter.
Soon, I was alone again, trying to figure out how I fit into the happy celebration happening around me. I contemplated latching onto a few new friends that I recently made, but my social skills aren't up to par, and my feeble attempt to connect only made me feel like more of an outsider. As the stars began to appear overhead, it was finally time for the show. I found my husband and we took a seat.
The whole time we were there I wondered what Catelyn would be like now, as a three and a half year old.
Who would she have been running around with? Would she have been bossy like her mom, trying to tell the other kids how to behave? Would she have been best friends with the little girls? Would she have played football with the boys? Would she love the fireworks or would they scare her? Would she play on the swings or in the field or in the bouncy house?
On occasion, I will come up with answers that make my heart feel good, but it only lasts for a moment because I can only guess and never actually know the answers. Everyday I live with unanswered questions.... sometimes holidays and social gatherings are the hardest.