On your eighth birthday

Hi, baby. It’s your mommy here, wishing you a very happy birthday in Heaven. Tomorrow you will be eight, even though you stopped aging at three.

In years past, we have celebrated the day you entered this world with floating lanterns, a cake, and blowing bubbles. As tomorrow approaches, we have planned to do none of those things. It’s not because we aren’t celebrating you. And it’s certainly not because we have forgotten.

But your daddy and I discussed it, and lighting lanterns in January in Ohio has never been a very successful endeavor. We get them lit and we watch them fly. But year one, we caught the neighbor’s tree on fire. And last year we nearly suffered frost bite in our fingers. It’s a tradition I think we are finally willing to let go.

I have been trying to make better choices for my body, so I can be the best and healthiest mommy to your little brother. I am not having cake because I am trying to avoid dairy and sugar–two items proven to aggravate my migraines and agitate my tummy. And if Mommy’s not having cake, nobody’s having cake. (But I’m betting your brother and daddy have a little something sweet anyway.)

But tomorrow, as your little brother and I participate in family yoga, a new Saturday morning staple, I will think of you. I will think of how you and I used to practice our baby boot camp every day on the family room floor. I will remember how you disliked tummy time, and struggled to crawl, but eventually, with our daily practice, you became stronger and mobile.

When we run our errands, I will think of how strangers would stop to peer inside your stroller, awed at the tiny, beautiful baby in glasses, whose eyes were slightly different colors, and whose smile was infectious. I will let your little brother push the cart, remembering how I once balanced your baby carrier in the child seat, strolling down the freezer aisle when a soft-spoken, elderly woman asked if she could pray for you.

And when I tuck your brother into his bed, I will think of each night I cradled you, then carefully connected your feeding tube, adjusted your oxygen, and made sure you were cozy with your taggie around your finger.

And as I close my eyes to sleep, ending yet another birthday without you, I will pray that you find a way to reach me–in my dreams, through signs only I can recognize, or just that feeling deep inside–so I know that you’re still with me. Because, baby, not every day is the day you were born. But every day is a day you are deeply, lovingly, and incredibly missed.

One thought on “On your eighth birthday

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