Ryan, so sorry I missed your milestone. But it's not like I actually missed it. No, I didn't forget the day, December 7. I could never forget... And not just because it's neatly marked off on the calendar with a little blue butterfly either. But because every 7th of every month makes me think of you. But this month, your little brother was having some tummy troubles and wasn't his content little self, so it was hard to steal some time away to write to you. And that is called life getting in the way. Which kind of makes me cringe.
Recently, I was told I should live more in the present moment. To be less concerned about doing so much for you and just being present. For Brayden. I have to admit, for a brief moment I thought of how unfair it might be to Brayden that I spend time thinking about or fussing over you when you're not here. But then I realized, what actually isn't fair is that you two can't grow up together. What isn't fair is that if you hadn't died, we probably wouldn't even have Brayden. That you had to die for him to be here. When I think of you, and worry about doing enough for you, it's not because I'm trying to be unfair to the baby here in my arms. No, it's that I'm simply trying to make sense of these cards I've been dealt. Of this life I have been given to live.
I'm not living in the past when I think of you. I'm living very much in the present, Because you are as much a part of my present as Brayden. You are both pieces of my heart in equal measure.
I am sorry I missed writing to you on your actual milestone day. But we both know you're never far from my thoughts as Brayden is never far from my side.
I may have missed your day, but this weekend was very much for you. Yesterday we attended a Holiday Remembrance Event for absent babies. On the way there, my Christmas song for you came on the radio. Thank you for letting us know you were with us in that moment. The ceremony was very lovely with some freshly fallen snow, a tree full of sparkling ornaments, each baby's name read aloud, and a reminder that we are never alone, that as a community of loss parents we all have each other to lean on and support one another, simply by standing together in a cold cemetery on a December afternoon listening to the names of each other's babies. It was pretty special and I'm glad we went. When we got home I hung your ornament, along with two others for babies who are spending their first Christmas not in their mommy's arms, in the tree in your garden. They look so pretty out there, glittering in the snow.
Then today, as we embarked on one of our last shopping days before Christmas, your dad, your brother and I picked out one special toy for a baby aged 18+ months old and dropped it off in the Toy Mountain drop box. It made me smile to once again do something to brighten another little one's Christmas in your memory. We all stood outside the donation box and I know your dad and I at least were thinking of you as we made the drop. It also made me smile to think that in a few years, Brayden will be able to pick out his own toy, something he thinks you might have enjoyed and make his own donation. A gift for the brother he never got to meet.
I love you, baby boy. And know I'm always thinking of you. Milestone days and every day.
Happy 15 months!