Today is our birthday! It is a day of celebration muddled with sadness and regret. It’s too painful for me to think of all the things we would have done if you were still alive…but it’s equally painful to ignore those thoughts.
There is a space in my brain where you still exist, where we haven’t lost out on a single moment together. In that space, you have a bedroom, drawers full of clothes, shoes thrown around the closet with no pair to be found, toys everywhere, Legos on the carpet near your bed, and a blue Spiderman toothbrush for your cute little baby teeth which haven’t fallen out yet.
I let your hair grow out and you sit patiently, playing with your dad’s old superheros and supervillians, while i lovingly brush through it and try to detangle your blonde hair after bathtime. You love dinosaurs and your favorite food is eggs with ketchup, which i find revolting. You call yourself Leo the lion and roar at your sisters until one of you gets mad and a little fight breaks out, inevitably ending in tears and running to me for comfort and reassurance.
You are just as handsome as the day I met you and sweeter than I could have ever imagined. You adore your sisters and they dote on you. You admire your daddy and hope to be just like him, except you want to be a soldier and not a teacher. You fiercely protect your baby sister from the thievery of her older sister Lily, who entertains herself by trying to swipe her toys.
You love when I read you the Cat in the Hat at bedtime, especially the part where the fish sees the mom coming and Cat cleans up the house with his cleaning machine. You secretly wish you had one so that you didn’t have to clean up after yourself. And the best part of the day is when I lay next to you, kiss your forehead, neck, and cheeks to hear you laugh and giggle, and I give you a huge hug, telling you how much I love you, how blessed I am to be your mom, and how proud you make me.
I remember the last time I got to kiss you goodnight…it seems like forever ago. It’s been too long since I’ve seen you.
Today, you would be 3 and I would jokingly tell everyone that I lost count of my own age when I had you but that I am 31 years older than you. I wouldn’t be at my desk crying because you’re gone, I wouldn’t be at the cemetery releasing balloons and wishing you’d come back. I would be celebrating, laughing, smiling, and enjoying every moment with you.
And that’s exactly what I intend to do. Even though you’re gone, I will celebrate, I will smile, I will laugh, and I will do my very best to enjoy every moment because I know you’re here. Your body may have died, and I’ll mourn that loss forever, but you’re still here. You’ll blow out our candles with me, you’ll protect your sisters, you’ll play alongside all of us, and you’ll lay down next to us when we sleep. I know, stronger than i’ve ever known anything, that you never really left us. You are and always will be a part of my family, a part of every adventure, a part of every dull moment, a part of everything.
Happiest of birthdays to you, my sweet son.
I’ll love you forever,