Today is meant to be a happy day. I set out to celebrate you and the fact that you, on this day one year ago, made me a mom in the physical sense. (Though you know I considered myself your mom long before you were born.) Our year long journey has not be a conventional one. It has not been an easy one. But as I wrote to you in your birthday card today, I am proud and blessed to be your mom.
In only one year, you have made such an impact on not only my life, but the lives of so many people. I have tracked as best as I could all of the wonderful things that have been accomplished in your name -- because you exist.
You have made a difference.
In this first year of your life...
Your dad has said it best. Today is no different from any other day. I miss you terribly today, as I missed you terribly yesterday, and the day before that. I love you as fiercely in this moment as I did the day you born. It's not conventional to have the anniversary of your death come before the anniversary of your birth. But that is part of your story. And today, despite loving and missing you as much as I do every day, has been an incredible celebration and day devoted just to you.
It started at 1:02 am, the time you were born. I woke from my bed, and I lit your candle. Snuggling your bear, I read to you the story "On the Night You Were Born." It felt right to be awake with you at that moment. The house was silent. And I really was reminded of the night you were born. But not in the sad, awful way I remembered it yesterday. In the peaceful way you slept in my arms that night. The house felt peaceful. And I knew I was starting your birthday in the most perfect way.
When it was time to actually wake up and start the day, I baked your cake. Chocolate zucchini, just like the random craving I had in the weeks before you were born. Your dad and I will sing to you and enjoy a slice later tonight.
At 10:30 we headed to the hospital. We had to deliver the memory/bereavement box to Labour and Delivery and conveniently had an appointment scheduled to checked in on Baby Brother with our weekly NST. He was wigglier than usual today. Your dad thinks you two were having a little party, what with us being so close to the exact place you were born. I'm inclined to believe him -- Baby Brother has never been so active before. It was a really special moment made even more special by the fact that we got to meet with the head of the bereavement program in Labour and Delivery. We got to share a bit of your story and gush about the amazing and supportive care we received the night you were born. All things I've been trying to write in a letter to the nurses, but haven't been able to find the words. We also got to chat about things I wish had been different, and she was so receptive. It really meant a lot. She was grateful for the box, and I am so hopeful it will bring another family some comfort -- though I wish it didn't have to.
From there, we headed straight to the cemetery. Your Gramma and Grampa Russell were there too. We set up the flower arrangement I made for you. Your dad and I wrote you a special birthday note. And then we read to you again. This time, "Wherever You Go, My Love Will Find You." We cried of course. I don't think I'll ever be able to read that book without crying. But the words are so true, it's like it was written from me to you. I meant every word I read. It's yours now. It could never be for anyone else but you.
We had lunch with your grandparents and talked about this year. What a journey its been. We talked about some of the other moms I've met and the ways you've made a difference to me, to them, to so many people. It felt great to talk so openly about you.
Tonight, my Fall yoga session begins. I think it's pretty special that it starts up again on your birthday. I wasn't going to go at first. But your dad insisted. And I do agree. I like to think that you do too. I feel good when I'm there. I feel close to you. And to your brother. New sessions always begin with introductions. Maybe tonight, if I'm brave enough, I'll introduce you too and have the other mamas dedicate their practice to you.
When I get home, we'll sing and eat cake and write out our wishes to you. We'll do what we can to send them up to meet you.
Just like your life, today has been beautiful. And special. And so full of love.
I love you so much.
Always and forever.
Happy birthday, baby boy.