Today I could have been spending my time feeling the jitters... checking and re-checking to make sure I had everything ready... agonizing over "just the right outfit"... and then sitting back and staring with pride at my little boy on the eve of his first day of Kindergarten.
Tomorrow would have been Gavin's first day of Kindergarten at the Phoenixville Area Kindergarten Center.
And I am not handling it very well.
Actually, let me rephrase that and give myself some credit. I'm actually "handling" it quite well - but, as many grieving Mothers might understand, I could easily cross the line into the dark side and let it consume me. But letting this grief consume me is not a choice I'm allowed to make. Why? Because in doing so, I would take innocent casualties down with me. Ed. Brian. Hope. Family and friends. And that would be a bigger tragedy... and one that would not honor Gavin at all.
So, to get through tomorrow I came up with a game plan to stay busy.
Yesterday we spent the day as a family and Ed came up with the great idea of going Miniature Golfing. Brian had so much fun...
He even, believe it or not, got a HOLE IN ONE!!!! He's a natural like his Dad.
And today... I had some "me" time. While Ed and Brian took off for some fun, I spent a couple hours slowly (and aimlessly) going up and down every aisle in Babies r Us with Hope. I marveled over how much has changed since I shopped for an infant and I made a list of all the things I needed... and just plain wanted because I couldn't resist the cuteness.
Then, when I got home, Ed took us out for a Sunday drive with the top down.
We always wanted to do that with Gavin, who would have absolutely LOVED it, but never did. He was our resident daredevil. But Brian suddenly has taken over that role - he thought the entire ride was "SO COOL!"
I even have a plan for tomorrow. I have my first session with a grief counselor at DuPont (Gavin's hospital where he lived...and died). And Brian will be spending time with Miss Jenn from Child Life - the wonderful woman who helped us the day that he came in to say goodbye to Gavin. She was the one who created the invisible string with Brian that hangs on Gavin's closet door to this day... and who did Gavin and Brian's handprints side by side for us. She's going to work with him simultaneously while I'm with the bereavement counselor. I'm also hoping to stop into the PICU, where Gavin spent his final days, to say hello to the doctors and nurses that mean so much to us. Brian and I have some donations for the hospital as well, which we'll be delivering, and then we plan to spend the rest of the day doing whatever we want. Lunch... the toy store... a playground... who knows. We'll be busy.
But tomorrow and what could have been... what would have been... what should have been... will not be far from my mind. I was so looking forward to Gavin starting Kindergarten. I couldn't even believe it was really happening - my little boy attending a mainstream school. I couldn't wait to take his "first day of school" photos again like I did last year...
...and to capture him with Miss Sara, who was planning to go with him every day.
Tomorrow marks the start of what I know will be a painful month for me. The start of Kindergarten... Gavin's 6th birthday. But really the "firsts" will never end. And the "what could have beens" will always follow me.
But the "what was" follows me, too.
And what was - that was something really great.
And the what is, following Gavin's death? That's just remarkable.
Happy First Day of Kindergarten to everyone at the Kindergarten Center.
And to Gavin, I will always be so proud of you and how far you came. And I continue to be proud of all you continue to accomplish from where you are. I miss you, Bugaboo.