These baby steps, though, protect me from the big picture. When I tell myself that we will get through today without Steve by right here in the house (which I clarify because, yes, he is always with us but that's not what I'm writing about here), well, we get through today. It's what we do -- not in a rote or robotic way but mostly with joy and cheer.
Monday through Friday, the three of us wake up, eat breakfast, pack for school. Cooper and Katie go to school, and I exercise, work, run errands, take care of the house, volunteer, meet friends for coffee and more. Then they come home, and we attend to homework, appointments, playing, dinner, bath time, story time and bed. I work some more, watch TV, read, play Words with Friends on my iPhone.
The weekends are predictable in their own way: birthday parties, soccer games, church, Sunday school, piano lessons, an occasional play or museum visit, grocery shopping.
(In fact, today Katie mused on the drive home from piano: "You know what life is? It's a lot of sitting, walking, watching, playing, standing and having fun. And eating and drinking.")
Steve's absence is present during all of these motions. The triggers surround us -- as they should be. Steve's sink in the master bathroom is still "Daddy's sink" -- complete with his last toothbrush. Photos in every room of the house. Warm memories at every turn.
Still, there are moments when I allow myself to think "big picture," like today on the drive home from church.
This isn't a temporary condition. (At least not on earth.) Steve isn't away somewhere, hiding out, plotting his return.
In those moments, when it hits me all over again, tears well in my chest and fall from my eyes. I'll think, "Why on earth, Tyra, are you realizing this all over again? You live with this every day."
Then I remember how we live, often taking baby steps to get through each day, and remember the protection that provides. And I, the kind of planner who probably annoys others, give thanks for the occasional blind spot of the big picture.
And, of course, I give thanks for these two incredible children.
Before church this morning