Friday, January 2, 2015

Addison's 4th Birthday

The week before Addison's 4th birthday brought more tears than I remember crying in a long time. Big heavy tears that soak your clothes and stain your face. The kind that make you look like someone other than yourself. Red hot burning tears. These tears came without fail once a day for a whole week. 

I let myself go THERE. No holding back just jumping straight into the grief and letting it consume me. Each night I would do something. I looked at pictures, I went through her memory box, held her tiny perfect pink clothes and read each and every baby shower and sympathy card. I haven't read those since 2010 and even then I don't know that I read every sympathy card. I was surprised that the baby shower cards were so much harder to read than the sympathy ones. The baby shower cards contained hope excitement and joy. I stopped in the middle of reading them to use the bathroom and caught a glimpse of my tear stained face in the mirror. What a messed up reality this is. 

I read Mason the book "Someone Came Before You" and showed him Addison's book. We have looked at these books before, but he was more interested this time. We have since talked about this when it came up in the car the other day. "Mommy, I died in your belly". No buddy, you are alive. Addi died in my belly, but you are both my babies and I love you both so big. Tough stuff.

The night before Addison's birthday I saw a beautiful mandala made just for Addi by my friend Kate on IG. I went to bed feeling so much love for Addison and me. 

The next morning my Facebook, email, text messages had been flooded. I instantly felt peace and love. I had started to write a bog post to post on FB for Addison's birthday. It was a little on the angry side. Trying to teach other people what this is really like. But then something happened after reading all the love and I didn't feel so angry anymore. I changed my post to this:

I don't share this blog on my FB, I'm sure people could find it if they searched, but I don't provide just anyone with this link. This is my safe place I need it to continue to feel like that. 

It felt really brave to post Addison's sketch as we have been SO protective of her pictures for the last 4 years. I needed people to see her. To know she is a real person. Plus she is just too beautiful. I'm so proud of her. 

The day did not go as planned, but it was still a good day. As good as can be expected when your child isn't here to really celebrate.

We all grieve in our own way, but this way is what we needed, what I needed to feel good. Doing less, doing more, doing nothing, doing something. No judgement. We all do what works for us. 

It is especially important to me that Mason has happy memories of Addison's birthday. That he may see lots of tears over her, but at the heart of it she means so much to our whole family. Missing someone is sad, but Addison doesn't just mean sad. She means love. I hope we make her birthdays something he looks forward to and something he celebrates even when we are gone. 

It's okay to me that Mason sees us cry, it's also important to me that he sees the joy and love. 

Mason woke up to find his elf "Jingle Bells" with our Addi bear and the start of the Froze.n birthday extravaganza. He was excited and ready to party from the moment he woke up. I got M an Ola.f shirt to really get into it. I love a theme, what can I say. 

We picked up a F. themed flower cake that turned out even better than I hoped. Then we picked up a bouquet of balloons from the party store and finally a cookie dough ice cream cake. 

We decorated Addison's spot.

Brian checked the Amtra.k schedule and thought it would be fun to take M on his first ride. Another way to make Addison's birthday a happy day. 

After the train ride, we went to my parent's house and had cake and let of four lanterns. It was beautiful even if it wasn't what we really wanted. 

I started this post just after Addison's birthday, but could quite finish it. I think I was so relieved to have made it through another birthday without her that I needed some time to breathe. I'm thankful December is over. Missing her is never over, but December is its own kind of black hole.