I've done a lot of anticipating for today. Since your first birthday your milestones haven't seemed as significant as they did that first year. But today has been different. It seemed meaningful in the way the others did. 18 months. A year and a half. We'd definitely be looking at toddler-hood. You'd definitely be walking (running?!) around. We would surely have our hands full.
Unlike some of the more recent milestone letters to you, I have been carefully planning what I wanted to say today. The last few have been very in the moment -- when I could steal a moment. But today, I had a plan And you know what they say about the best laid plans.
So I'm not writing this from the cemetery like I planned. I, of course, didn't make it there today. And the sun isn't shining as I'd hoped. Instead, it's dark and rainy. Sort of fitting though, for what I have to say.
The plan was to tell you how happy I've been. That here I am, a year and a half removed from the day that changed everything and I am happier than I've been in a long time. That I've been incredibly struck lately with how happy I've been. I catch myself in moments and think, "Wow. I never expected to be here ever again." And yet, here I am.
And although that's true in a general sense -- I have been really happy lately -- the last few days I've felt the opposite. That bitch called grief reared its ugly head and has taken a bit of the spring out of my step. I've been bombarded with a flood of same-age babies getting first haircuts, climbing all over their parents' couches, loving on new baby siblings, and every time my heart clenches and I feel so much hurt. So much missing you.
In times like these, it's hard to remember how far I've come. To remember that this wave will pass and I'll feel that lightness again. A fellow loss-mama, Lexi Behrndt, writes about her son, and put it beautifully: "I don't have to stay in the darkness to be near to you (you're in the light, you always have been)."
Despite the sadness I feel today, I hold on to the fact that I've felt so much joy recently. And I don't have to feel guilty about it. Because in every joyful moment, I know you're there. Sometimes I see your presence -- the butterflies on onesies at mom groups, the flicker of a light, or a song on the radio -- and sometimes I just have to know in my heart that you're here with us.
So here we are, a year and a half later, and though I'm sad in this moment, and I've cried more in the last couple of days than I have in the past few weeks, I'm so grateful to have found a place where the happy outweighs the sad. This place where I can accept that life can be and should be and will be full of joy again. Though your brief life will always be the source of my greatest sadness, you will always be a light that fills me with love.
Happy 18 months, my boy.
I miss you.