Yesterday we celebrated (survived, cried, remembered, loved and honored) you, as you turned 1 years old. I woke up instinctively at 7:30 am and remembered how that moment, exactly one year before, you initiated your entrance into the world with the start of sharp, intense contractions. I couldn’t emotionally process (handle) the memories at the moment so I rolled over and welcomed another hour of sleep before facing the day I knew would hold so many intense emotions.
But I have to say, your birthday wasn’t as difficult as I imagined it to be. Friday as I was driving home from work, I felt this immense emotion come over me and I thought, “How am I going to survive this weekend?” I felt at that moment I could’ve literally died of a broken heart. But my heart kept beating and your birthday dawned, and the day was filled with sadness but also sweet memories, connection with family, love and meaning. Underneath all the emotions of the day there were moments of…something. I wouldn’t call them moments of peace. But there was an undercurrent of calm and divine compassion throughout the day. I felt for those 24 hours like I was being carried again by God, and that was such a welcome respite. I also want to believe that you, my sweet angel, were with us on your birthday, sustaining us and loving us.
Your Baba and Grammy and Papa all came into town to celebrate your birthday, along with other close family members like Preston and Emily, Zee and Wee, Mel, Zack, and Gabers. Everyone brought gifts for you and we put them under your tree!
Your dad and I are going to donate your birthday gifts to Toys for Tots this season, in honor of you.
Your birthday celebration was a simple but meaningful affair. I made you pineapple upside-down cake for your birthday cake. It seemed perfect since it is your Momma’s favorite and it matches the Hawaiian theme we’ve come to associate with your sweet spirit.
(yes, we both look a bit battle worn)
We also made beans and hotdogs for you, because we know your little one-year-old self would’ve loved that as your birthday dinner. We augmented the meal with a salad, dips, a cheeseball, and delicious fizzy drinks to satisfy the more “adult” palates in the room.
After eating dinner together, we sang you happy birthday. I’m sorry Charlie, that I couldn’t join in singing to you. It was perhaps the moment of the day that most broke my heart. But the song was beautiful and your sister was more than thrilled when I told her you wanted her to blow out the candles on your behalf.
We then traveled to a local park where we lit a lantern for you. Everyone wrote messages to you on this lantern. I know you read each one. While the night was too cold for your lantern to travel as far as we’d hoped, it was still a beautiful moment, shared all together.
After the lantern lighting, we returned to our house where together we sat as family and dear friends and shared our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and love with each other. We remembered you and we recalled some beautiful moments together when you were here, in our arms. Everyone also talked about the impact you had and continue to have on their lives. Each person talked about how, not only painful this journey has been of losing you, but also how they have increased hope, faith, love and meaning in their lives. We talked about how much more connected we are to each other, all thanks to you, mister mister. We talked about the tender mercies, beautiful moments, and the faith we have found since losing you.
I don’t know if you knew what an impact you have on the lives of so many people, Charlie! In the short four months you had on this earth and since you have grown your angel wings, you have touched so many hearts. Friends who couldn’t share your birthday celebration with us, released balloons to you, thought about you, and did acts of service for you on your birthday! One special friend spent your birthday in Hawaii and she and her husband released flowers into the ocean to honor and remember you!
So many people love you, mister mister! You have especially impacted the lives and hearts of those in our family and close circle of friends, but also beyond. Your sweet spirit is making the world a better place mister mister! I don’t know what other one-year-old has accomplished all you have in 12 months! While I would give anything to have you back in my arms, your spirit and legacy are truly making life meaningful. You are making my life meaningful. You have a very proud Momma. 🙂
I love you so much Charlie, I can’t say it enough. I remember your pink soft little body when you entered the world and our hearts one year ago.
You came into this world fast and you left fast. But we love you forever and carry you with us always. I can’t wait to see you and hold you again my mister mister. But until then, Happy first birthday!