Happy Birthday Buddy!
Just 5 years ago, you were born into the world. Into a family so eager to meet you. Benjamin was only 2.5 years old, but he was so excited and proud to be your big brother! I remember your birth more vividly than anyone else’s. I entered the OR so cold and scared. I knew what to expect, and I found the whole c-section process much scarier the second time around.
When you were born, I knew you wouldn’t be as big as your brother. I was relieved to hear that you were a healthy 7 lb, 6 oz. When I saw you placed on my chest, you were as perfect as I imagined you would be.
At that time, I didn’t know that God would call you home just 2 short months later. I didn’t know you would leave us so quickly. I didn’t know that remembering you would be a complicated endeavor. That bits and pieces of you would slip away from me with every passing year. Even closing my eyes, I struggle to remember how big your body was, what your hair smelled like, or the exact color of your eyes.
Although I don’t remember all the details, my relationship with you remains very special, baby. We had two perfect months together. You never got old enough to have a tantrum in the middle of Target. You never got old enough to throw your plate of food on the floor. You never got old enough to look at me with a half-bored expression when I asked how your day at school was.
I’ll never know what it feels like when you hug me back. I’ll never know what it sounds like when you say “Mama” as your first word. I’ll never know what it feels like when you crawl in bed with me unexpectedly in the middle of a rainstorm.
There is so much missing.
However. There is something simple and pure about being your mommy. Our relationship is never compromised by days of frustration, or moments of angst. I love you in a way that is simple and kind. The way you can love something that can’t really love you back- the way a child loves a teddy bear. My thoughts of you are simple and sweet. Tender thoughts of the time we spent together, a hazy collections of memories with just the two of us.
You don’t dominate my thoughts the way you once did. I’m happy to report that it’s because I’m so busy keeping up with your siblings. They bring such joy and purpose to my life. They make my heart expand and swell with affection. I love all of you bears, and I feel like I have a deeper, more complete love for all of you, now knowing what loss feels like. Benjamin is 7.5, Molly is almost 4 and Emily is 1.5. They carry on, not realizing you should be down here with them.
There is something special about the children you have after the death of a child. You know how hard it can be to lose a child. Your heart is hardened and weathered and bears the scars of having been through something incredibly difficult. Yet to open yourself up to the possibility of new life and new love is something very special. Once you know all the things that can go wrong, you love deeper and stronger instead of more cautiously. You cherish every moment because you know how quickly things can be taken away.
Life is full on chaos. There is bath time and soccer practice and spelling tests. I try to carve out a few minutes for just the two of us, but that proves nearly impossible.
I still love you Piggy. I love your sweet little satisfied noises after you were done eating. I love your round little tummy that got big after just a few weeks. I love how you transformed Benjamin from an only child into a big brother. It was a role that he cherished from the second you were born.
Although not every day, we think of you often. We remember you with our evening prayers and we hold you close in our hearts. We had a little birthday cake for you tonight and Benjamin and Molly blew out your candles.
You’ll always be special to us, Alex. You are the little brother that Benjamin will never have on Earth. You are the face I see in the shadows when all kids are wrestling together. Laughing and giggling, probably when they’re supposed to be getting ready for bed.
Enjoy your birthday in Heaven Alex. You have more company every year as we send up more beloved family members. You’re in our heads and our hearts. Especially on your very special fifth birthday.
Sending you all of my love,