In 2012, when we found out that Duncan would share his birthday with our fourth-born, it was easier, emotionally, to push the significance of that to the back burner, and say, “we’ll just figure out what that looks like next year.”
Well, guess what? It’s next year.
And, undoubtedly, I have been wrestling in my spirit. May 19 is James’ birthday. His FIRST birthday. It’s a big deal.
But May 19 is Duncan’s birthday. And has been for FOUR years. This is a day that has been sacred to me and to my family. So while I am indeed emotional that when I pick up James out of his crib on Sunday morning, he will have turned that magical corner from baby to toddler, I can’t help but feel that Sunday is still more about Duncan.
You see, I actively love and parent James EVERY DAY. EVERY day is James’. And Seth’s. And Erin’s. EVERY day I am actively their mommy. Doing and being and working for them. Acknowledging them. So while their BIRTH DAY is a chance to pause and celebrate the day they came into this world, I don’t think the day itself is as significant for them as it is when it comes to Duncan.
May 19 is the ONE DAY a year that I feel an impossible desire to be actively aware of him. To celebrate him. To remember him. It is his day. It is HIS. Not his alone, but his, predominantly.
At least this year.
This is hard.
I don’t know what May 19 will look like in the years to come when James is aware that it is his birthday. I hope he is as easy-going as Seth and Erin; they don’t care if they are celebrated on their ACTUAL birth date. As long as there is cake and balloons and presents at some point, they’re good.
But for now….
For this year….
I choose to make it about Duncan.
Do you see it?
We had portraits taken in March. I hadn’t shared this picture yet because I had grand plans to have prints done in time for Mother’s Day. (FAIL. Oops.) But, it’s time. Because it is a perfect picture.
That is my quartet. My three sons and my sweet girl. This side of heaven, that photo is the closest I will ever get to having my children all gathered together. I adore it.
My big boy, who breaks and mends my heart a dozen times a day.
My bean. The girl I didn’t know what to do with, but who is my brightest joy.
My baby. The caboose that healed the piece of me that thought the “baby brother” dream had died with Duncan.
And my precious, missed-every-day miracle, right there in the mix. Those one-pound-1o-ounce footprints, right in the middle of the beauty that is my children.
I realize this post has been poorly drafted. Execution hasn’t been my strong suit as of late. But it is my heart. May 19, 2013. It’s Duncan’s fourth birthday. Today is about him. About how he changed me. My marriage. My parenting. How he made me a better person. Wife. Mommy. Friend. Today is about him and all that he was and all that I’d have wanted him to be. He is so loved, and so missed, and if the only way I can shout that out is in this little corner of the blogosphere, than so be it. This is me shouting…
Happy birthday, baby.
I miss you.
I wish you were here. I wish I were making you a birthday cake and sticking a bow on a big boy bike and changing sheets on a bunk bed that was yours and yours alone. I wish I had known on that night four years ago how much I’d miss you today. I would have done some things differently. I’m glad that I have the IDEA that I’ll have eternity to “make it up to you,” and even more glad that I know the TRUTH that it won’t matter, once we are finally together again.
I wish the swing set Gramp-e just bought had to be bigger, to accommodate 4 swings, not just 3. I wish I were preoccupied with keeping you from climbing trees instead of picking one out to plant for you (here in Ohio).
I wish I’d told you just one more time that I’m sorry I wished you away. I wish I’d planned better for our time with you. I wish I’d taken off the onesie they put you in so that I could see your tiny feet. I wish Wednesday morning had taken a little bit longer to come, so that goodbye didn’t have to be said so soon.
Wishing won’t make it so, and that’s okay.
I know you are in the best place. I know that while I may have failed you during those days in 2009, I think I’ve done a pretty bang-up job where you are concerned since then. People know I’m your mommy. I take every chance I get to speak your name and honor your place in our hearts and home. I love you, Apple Jack, and so do others.
I would give almost anything to go back and hold you for just one more moment. But until Heaven reunites us, know you are forever in my heart….
I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.