The Empty Backseat...


I am struggling to find meaning in most things. To find a purpose that is greater than being “busy”. We were a busy family, but we always found time for moments of joy and purpose - not just busy for busy’s sake. A detour, a jam session, a mystery destination, a special treat... she brings so much joy and purpose.

This was a trip to Columbus for a tryout and to watch some friends play ball this summer. Logan didn’t want to go and was able to spend the day with a friend and we trekked to Columbus. Jordyn on her own, without her brother, was special. She opened up more, she laughed more, she was sillier... she was looser.

This tryout was long and tough and she rose, like she often did, and was so impressive. Jared and I just watched in awe of all this little athlete was capable of and not just her ability but her attitude, her ability to talk with the coaches, her care for the other players she had never met before... and she looked so confident. Like she knew she could do it all...

On the way back we stopped to visit family and her favorite pup, Rex, and it was fun as always to hear her recount how things went.

We also discussed an invitation to go back for a team practice with that same team the next day... another 4 hours in the car and a 4 hour practice at the end of July in the heat. She wasn’t sold on the team despite receiving an offer on site so she didn’t want to spend a whole day dedicating more time to this... but she couldn’t tell us that because she knew Jared and I were interested in her playing for this team. Seemed like a good fit for all of us... Jay did what she did and shut down and wouldn’t talk about it.

Jay and I had a notebook that we used when she didn’t want to say it out loud... and when I woke the next day, the notebook was on my nightstand. And she wrote how she didn’t always feel like she got a choice. That I pushed her sometimes and it made her feel like what she wanted didn’t always matter because I would guilt her in to doing what I thought was best. And she knew it was my way of making sure she had the best of everything. It made my heart sad that she felt this way and felt that she didn’t have a choice.

I remember writing back my apologies and telling her that what she wanted absolutely mattered. We always felt that we let the kids lead choices... when they committed we made them stick to it but the initial choice was theirs. But sometimes, as they get older, do the choices they made when they were younger, the things they wanted a year or two years ago, do they still hold up?

Jay loved softball... but she discovered she wanted to be an engineer/programmer and a writer more than she wanted to be a student athlete in college. She wanted to keep up with pitching and hitting lessons so that she could play HS ball but didn’t see things going further than that and for now she just wanted it to be fun again. She had lost some of the fun.

Trips like this... I will miss forever. Not because of ball but because of Jordyn. She made them more fun and now the empty seat behind me is louder than she ever was. I think of the future road trips to other tournaments, to visit colleges, to seek out nature and its wonder, to find awesome ice cream, and to see all of the awesome history and magic that is all around us that she won’t be here to take... She loved these trips. She loved being with her family and being on one of our mystery trips. She often loved the coffee stops as much as the actual adventure itself... she found joy in all of it and it was awesome. And now I look in the rear view mirror and she isn’t there. It breaks my heart all over again that she just isn’t there. I just miss her so much....

I’d give anything to have her back... the messy room, the never being home... or if she wanted to stop it all so she could focus on school, that would be fine too... I would do anything for her. I just want to talk to her and have her talk back, I want to hear her laugh and I want to see her smile, I want to give her a hug and feel that extra Jay squeeze when she hugged back - she gave the best hugs, and I just want to braid her hair and watch her sleep... I just want her here. I want all of this to go away and I want my girl back. I want her in that seat again...

Lindsey Myers