Today is your birthday. The day you would have been three years old. Last night I made birthday cupcakes, trying a new recipe, and even though you're not here, I wanted them to come out “perfect.” As I was baking I thought about you and what else I might be doing if you were here with us. I would be wrapping your gifts in pink paper and big bows and stacking them on the table for you to see first thing in the morning. I would be setting the table for your birthday breakfast of donuts and strawberry milk and I’d be putting goodie bags by everyone’s plates (because everyone gets birthday goodie bags no matter whose birthday it is). I imagine you would be in the kitchen “helping” me make your cupcakes and licking the batter out of the bowl. You would be giggly and excited and I would also be so excited to see you open your little girl gifts because all parents know that’s one of the best things about birthdays -- giving gifts to their children. I’ve caught myself wishing so badly that you were here with us and yet knowing how selfish it is because you are where we all want to be. Home. And is there any better place to celebrate a birthday than in Heaven?
I’ve said it hundreds of times and know I will say it hundreds more -- we just miss you so, so much. I don’t think I could ever begin to describe the ache we have for you and how desperately we wish we could have had more time with you. Sometimes I still watch your videos and rub the computer screen remembering what it was like to stroke your little face. I still imagine what it would have been like to rock you and nurse you and snuggle up with you while you fell asleep. And I often wonder what you would be like now. Would you still have your dark, curly hair? Would you be feisty and stubborn like your blond siblings or would you be more laid back like your brown-haired ones? Would you follow in your sisters’ footsteps and be a ballerina or would you try something different? (Although I don’t think you would have a say in that -- I imagine your sisters would have had you in ballet shoes before you even learned to walk.) That is one of the constant struggles I have -- knowing that this is God’s perfect plan for all of us and yet still imaging what things would be like “if only . . .” But we will never know these things and there is an ache in our hearts that will never go away. And there is a deep sadness that will always be with us until one day when we are where you are, and Christ will gently reach out and touch us and wipe away all of these tears.
Today we will celebrate you and your birth and I will thank God again for the privilege of being your mommy. This is a special day so we won't have school and we will go out for birthday lunch and tonight we’ll eat pink cupcakes. I’ll take fresh flowers to your spot at the cemetery and remember how brave and strong you were. I’ll remember your soft skin and bright eyes and you cradled in my arms and Dr. McCurnin saying that you “looked like an angel.” I will cry because I miss you, but I'll be thankful too.
Happy third birthday, Anne Marie. We love you -- so, so much!