Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Happy Birthday to my Two Girls
Yesterday was AC's special day! I'm just now blogging about it because the day was physically, emotionally and mentally exhausting. When I got my girls to bed last night, I just curled up in a chair and didn't move until bedtime. We were just emotionally drained.
It was a beautiful day with a merry-go-round of emotions. AC woke up early and I was able to spend time alone with her before Lily woke up. Then we went to gymnastics. This was special because it was Lily's first time to take. Man, it was priceless!! She loved it! After going for a year and sitting and watching Ann Catherine take, she was ready.
After gymnastics we went to Red Robin, AC's favorite. They sang to her and she got an ice cream sundae and a cow (not sure why she got the stuffed cow but she liked it)!
On the way home from gymnastics AC said, "Mommy, we have to get the balloons for Melissa!" I explained to her that her daddy was picking them up and we would send them to her when we got home.
Chris picked up a beautiful bouquet of pink balloons with a silver star balloon. I told AC to sit down with her cousin Ally and tell Ally what she wanted to say to Melissa. I told Ally to write it down and we would tie it to the balloons. This is what she told Ally to write:
It touched my heart. Ann Catherine was so excited about sending Melissa her balloons.
We all took a balloon, kissed it, told Melissa we loved her, and let it fly.
Lily watching her balloon fly to Heaven
Chris giving AC her balloon
Look at that balloon sailing straight to Melissa!
Chris told AC she could send the "special" balloon to Melissa - the shiny star.
And there it goes!
This is a tradition we started last year and it is so special for our family. It was, by far, the most emotional part of the day for me. As I watched those balloons sail towards Heaven, I just missed my baby girl so much. Just as he did last year, God blessed us with a glorious day weather-wise to send our balloons to her. At one point, Chris said, "Look at that!" There was this break between two clouds with streaks of sunlight shining through. Those balloons were sailing right between those clouds. It was as if God made an opening in the clouds so Melissa could grab her balloons. It was just beautiful.
After we finished, Chris' parents took the girls to the backyard to play. Chris and I sat on the front porch and had our time with Melissa. We talked about the day she died, we talked about holding her for the last time, we talked about what the doctors and nurses tried to do for her and we talked about losing her. It was painful, but it was also good - if that makes any sense. We needed to talk about her and relive that day that we lost her. About thirty minutes later, Chris walked inside, but I stayed outside to spend more time with Melissa. I prayed, I talked to her and I just sat in silence. It was kind of neat that her Japanese Maple was right in front of my chair so I just stared at it as I thought of her. I thanked God that she was with him and that she was happy and whole. I told him how much I missed her, especially today. I thanked him for the great birthday party she was having. I told him I didn't know how Heaven worked, but I asked him to please let her know on this special day that she had a Mommy and Daddy who love her so much. I missed her so much that my heart literally ached. I just couldn't stop crying. I was emotionally drained. After about thirty minutes, I got myself together, wiped my tears and went inside.
It's so important to me to find that balance on June 1st. As I have said before, I made a promise to myself (and AC) that June 1st would never be a sad day in our household. AC deserves to have an incredible birthday and I don't ever want her to dread her birthday because it makes her mommy sad. At the same time, I need to celebrate Melissa's life on that day, and unfortunately, that means tears. It was nice to have that special time yesterday to remember Melissa's life and grieve her. But after I did so, I said a prayer asking God for strength, pulled myself together and moved forward. From that point on, it was all about AC. On this day more than ever, we are reminded of the miracle of Ann Catherine's life and how grateful we are to have her. Watching that amazing little girl enjoy her birthday gave me the strength I needed.
I went inside and started making cupcakes for her birthday. They were so yummy!!
LB just couldn't stand any more excitement. While I was cooking, Tinkerbelle fell asleep on her Elmo sofa. She was worn out!
Later my parents came over with my niece and nephew and we had AC's birthday dinner - spaghetti - AC's favorite!! Then we had cupcakes and the birthday girl got to blow out her candle.
Then the best part - present time! Among her favorites:
a pretty sundress...
cheerleader dress-up clothes...
and a waterslide!!!
So as expected, it was a day wrapped up in a myriad of emotions: joy, sadness, peace, love, tears and comfort. Ann Catherine had a wonderful day and we were able to pay proper respect to Melissa's memory and celebrate her life. It's a delicate balancing act and we just handle it the best we know how. I would give anything if Ann Catherine's birthday didn't carry such weight. But it does.
The important part is that AC's birthday was special for her. That means the world to me. A little girl who fought as hard to live as she did deserves the best birthday we can give her.
Happy Birthday to both of my girls. Mommy loves you more than you'll ever know.