Saturday, January 26, 2013

Happy Birthday, Charlie

I should have a huge mess to clean up. Wrapping paper all over the floor, tablecloths to wash, dishes to do, trash to take out, and me scrambling to make room in my freezer for leftover birthday cake that no one would take home because my friends don't let their kids eat sugar or food coloring, both of which I love to put in birthday cakes. 

It would have been chocolate with baby blue icing and dark blue trim- blue icing between each layer, so that when you cut the cake it was brown, baby blue blue, brown, baby blue blue on the dark blue plates. Three tiered, with the top layer removable so that he could have it in front of him to blow out his first birthday candle and put his hands all in the icing. I even had a glittery blue "1" that was leftover from Adaline's first birthday because I finally found a pink one for her cake and decided to save the blue candle for "one day when we had another baby." The room would be full of way too many red balloons that my dad would have made a whole production about blowing up, because he's famous for carrying his helium tank to all of our parties. And it wouldn't be a birthday party without him singing at least a couple of lines of "Happy Birthday" in the helium voice. 

Instead, today I walked out to my son's grave and remembered the day we buried him. I stood in the very same spot I stood at his burial, underneath a tree branch that is now home a wind chime made out of angels. I'm not sure where it came from, and even though we don't believe in angels, I cant bear to take it down. As David and I walked out to the graveside  we both remembered how frail and weak we felt as we walked out to lay him to rest. It all felt so unfair, and it still does. It still is. 

We should be celebrating, but instead we are remembering his very short life and thinking of all the things we will miss out on. All the birthdays, all the firsts, all the memories that we should be making with him- all these things that we expected to be doing that we can't do. We can only hold the memory if his incredibly short time with us and try to focus on what we do have, not what we have lost. We try to spend our days being grateful for our children and that we have made it through the past year with our relationship and our lives in tact. But not today. 

Today we grieve: not only the loss of our son, but for the loss of all the things that go along with having a child. For his first birthday and his 30th birthday, for his wedding day and his high school graduation day. For his first steps, his first soccer game, and his first date. We grieve the child that we lost because he was amazing and special and we fell in love with him, but we also grieve the life that we wanted so badly for him to live. And today is just one of the many birthdays he doesn't get to have. 

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