10 years ago today was my due date with baby #6. All 9lbs., 3oz. of him were born after just 4 hours and 39 minutes of labor. While everybody thinks a fast labor is awesome, I disagree. The short labors I’ve experienced are what I call “fast and furious.” I really preferred the “long and laborious” ones! Unfortunately, we women don’t really get a choice in the length of our labor. But I digress. Back to the birthday boy.
10 years. I realize all of us mamas marvel at the birthdays of our children. Every year we can’t believe how old they are, how our baby can be a year older. Birthdays remind us of how fleeting time is. Even more so with these milestone birthdays.
Birthdays are joyous occasions, but after child loss, they are rarely ever experienced without grief attached. As our soon-to-be ten year old’s birthday approaches, I can’t help but think of his older brother. As I thought of my son’s birthday this week and of all the fun things we have planned for him, I also had the thought He was only four years old when his brother died. While it seems incredible that my birthday boy is going to be ten and amazing how the time has flown by, I am also sad that it has been almost six years since his brother has been gone. It feels like forever. And I am sad as well as joyful.
I try not to wonder what it would be like if Matt were here for his brother’s birthday. (Actually, two of his brother’s are celebrating birthdays this week. Technically, it’s this week and next week, as child #7, our youngest, turns eight five days after child #6.) But wondering and “what ifs” isn’t productive. I learned that early on in this grief journey.
Instead, I will remember God’s goodness. I will give thanks, and I will mark birthdays with joy and grief. I will open myself up to life, to now. My two youngest boys celebrate their birthdays this week, and I want to inhale every precious moment of it.