Yesterday, we had a nearly perfect day at Put-In-Bay with Kayla- spending a little time re-connecting and just chillin’ before she heads back to school in a couple of weeks. Kayla is such a joy in my life. As the first born, she is a lot like me. We have always had a special bond, so much so that I really didn’t want a second child because I thought I could never love anything or anyone as much as I loved Kayla. She was perfect in my sight. I was wrong though. My love for Shayna is every bit as strong, just different.
This trip was a great idea. As much as I don’t want to be here on Earth sometimes, I need to be reminded how much I have to live for. I need to put joy back into my life. I need to do it for Kayla and for Ty. I need to do it for Shayna. I believe Shayna is still here with us, still watching us, still participating in our lives. I want to make her happy, too. And she will be happy if we are happy. Kayla wants me around. Ty wants me around. I need to be around. I’m not really back in the “joy” mode yet, but that has to be a goal. Meanwhile, as I told the girls when it comes to self-confidence. “Fake it ‘till you make it.” If I do the things that are supposed to bring me joy, the joy will come back- someday.
Saturday at Put-In-Bay is low key (actually Port Clinton since we didn’t go back to the island). We hit the “can’t miss” lighthouse at Marble Head. Newsflash, you can miss it. It’s 70 steps up a circular staircase from hell, to a perch that is about four feet deep all the way around (65′ off the ground). They tell you before you go that if you can’t make it all the way up (say because you’re paralyzed by fear of looking down from 50′ up a circular staircase straight down) you have to wait until everyone in the group has squeezed by you to find your way back down (by yourself). The staircase is one way at a time.
On the way out to the lighthouse we spot a local restaurant. We were going to eat in Marble Head, but the restaurant looks good and we’re taking a page from Shayna’s playbook this weekend. We’re going on intuition, gut feel. I turn into the parking lot before we zoom by the entrance and we walk in to see what we can find. This seems to be a local hangout. The waitresses are mostly elderly as if they’ve been there for a while. It has a diner kind of feel. Ty and I get the perch lunch. Kayla orders the Belgian waffles. Good choices all around. This was a score!
A waitress (not ours) approaches and just starts gushing about how gorgeous Kayla is. She tells Kayla she should model. She asks her about school and is impressed with Kayla’s major. “Beauty and brains.” she remarks. Then, for some reason, she asks “Is this your baby?” Wow. The awkward questions start this soon. “Yes.” we respond. For the purposes of this conversation, this is our baby. Kayla will always be our baby, but Kayla is not the baby. That honor will always belong to Shayna. As the lady is going on and on about Kayla I want to say I have another one- just as beautiful, just as smart, just as accomplished. But, no, I can’t do that now. I have to bite my tongue.
God, even as I write this, a month and a half after her passing, it’s just so hard to say Shayna was beautiful, was smart, was accomplished. For me, she will always be all of those things. Always.
I love you Shayna.