The heartache of birthdays…and 26 memories.

This was a post I wrote for Matt’s birthday (May 2) that I decided to publish. It’s been sitting in my draft folder as I wasn’t sure I wanted to share it. As I reread it tonight, however, I realized it was time to share it. #griefandgratitude

26. That’s how old you’d be today, my son. But instead of 26 years with you, we got 16. And we have now observed 10 birthdays without you. Unbelievable. My mind cannot comprehend it.

It’s been rough this year, I’m not gonna lie. Marking 10 birthdays without you? There are no words. Grief renders speechless, but it can never quench love. Love is what keeps me going.

In honor of your birthday today, Matt, I’m listing 26 memories I love about you.

  1. You were an easy, content baby.
  2. You were a deep thinker, always contemplating something.
  3. You loved, loved, loved your brothers and sisters.
  4. You had a quiet, sharp wit.
  5. You loved to entertain your siblings, but especially loved holding & kissing them as babies.
  6. How you spent hours and hours on the rope swing in the front yard.
  7. How you spent hours and hours on your laptop. (“Miss Toshiba” as we lovingly referred to it.)
  8. How your siblings would BEG you to tie them up outside!
  9. The way you walked into a room. Never in a hurry, but always purposeful.
  10. Your insanely smart mind and how you excelled at anything computer related.
  11. Your love for Cheez-Its, Mocha Frappes, Green Starlight mints, and Honey Bunches of Oats.
  12. You were a good eater, not picky, and loved my goulash.
  13. You were an individual and didn’t follow the crowd, but were confident in who you were.
  14. Your love of chess.
  15. Your love of reading.
  16. Youth group memories: Manly Mayhem(aka Matt’s Mayhem), Life Groups/Bible study, service projects, diaper wars, VBS, & Trout Lake Camp
  17. Your smile and that smirk that often tried to hide it.
  18. Those brown eyes of yours.
  19. How you identified and knew every bird at the feeder.
  20. Memories of archery; shooting targets with the bow & arrow in the back yard.
  21. The backyard pool and countless circles of making a “whirlpool,” and the endless screams of delight from your siblings.
  22. The trampoline and countless games of “Dead Man” with your siblings.
  23. The many, many times of pulling your siblings in the wagon attached to the riding mower, and that one time it tipped over.
  24. When you were two and I couldn’t understand what you were saying every time we drove past the car wash/laundry, only to finally put it all together and realize you were saying, “Vacuum!”.
  25. The fact that your favorite birthday cake was simply plain: vanilla with powdered sugar on top.
  26. Your “wicked” eyebrow, the one with the colic, and how you loved being able to grow a mustache and were beginning to grow a beard.

My heart aches, yet I will choose to be grateful. I choose gratitude and thank God for every memory, every moment. I miss you, Mateo.

Love, Mom

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