Today is your 10th birthday.
I would have, in an earlier and more innocent phase of my life, said, "Today, you are 10 years old". But we both know you will never be 10 years old. You are now ageless and eternal. When I encounter you now, I encounter a spirit, mature and wise, who walks by my side. The years of me teaching you are over; the years of you teaching me have only just started. I know that I will often appreciate your companionship in the years to come. Today, however, I am just a grieving mother who misses the innocence and beauty of her child.
10 years ago today, you entered this world, though you had entered my life in a very personal way several months earlier. I had talked to you, caressed you, sang you songs, and dreamed about the remarkable person I knew you would be. You started out very much as you ended; surrounded by a team of doctors, desperately trying to get your little heart to beat and your little lungs to bellow after a terrible labor and a c-section. We were worried for a few minutes, until you decided that you were going to stick around. The moment you committed to being here, you started moving, little legs and arms kicking and flailing so much that they were afraid you would crawl off the table. You never stopped moving after that.
You were in such a hurry to live – crawling at five months, walking at eight months. You talked in full sentences before you were two. You were expelled from three schools before your fifth birthday, because you just couldn’t handle a system that wouldn’t keep up with you. Heck, it was all your dad and I could do to keep up with you!! Always bigger, always faster, always stronger, always wanting to sprint ahead of your classmates. You were even in a hurry to become a woman, which in the end was what caused you to leave us so young.
And yet, you never tired of being my baby, and for that, I will always be grateful. I’m glad you never went to bed without your dad or me by your side, talking and holding your hand. It guaranteed that we never missed a chance to say “Goodnight, Little Love.” I’m grateful for all times that, despite the fact that the other kids made fun of you for it, you held my hand when we went out and you always kissed your dad and me goodbye. I’m grateful that you still wanted me to sing you songs in the bathtub every night, and I’m sad that I didn’t always accommodate you. I’m grateful that, when we all sat on the couch, you always touched either your dad or me – even if it was just with your foot. We were always connected.
I don’t know how I’m going to honor your birthday today. My heart is still too broken to do or say anything out loud. I’m still too sad that I’m not frosting cupcakes and filling goodie bags for your friends today. Your dad and I will stay as busy as we can, taking care of jobs around the house, so we don’t have time to miss you so acutely. Maybe in years to come, you can let me know how you want to celebrate the day you came to live with us.
Happy Birthday, Bug. I hope they have a party for you in Heaven.