Three years ago on this day, we followed our son's hospital bed as it was wheeled down the hall and into surgery. We kissed him goodbye one last time and stood together in silence as the doors closed. We watched until they were out of sight before slowly walking away. Walking away was probably the hardest thing we've ever had to do... knowing that we would be entering the biggest, longest waiting room of our lives. But there was one thing that brought us comfort. Gavin was an organ donor. When his surgery was complete, two beautiful kidneys were on their way to a gentleman who is still doing well to this day, thank God.
After Gavin's death, we had choices to make. To us, they were obvious ones. We chose life. We chose joy. We chose to not let losing Darcy and now Gavin rip our marriage apart. We chose to honor their lives by living ours - and being the best parents we could be for Brian... and now, Hope.
The morning of my birthday on the very day Gavin died, his wonderful nurse came to work with a birthday cake for me. Can you imagine? She actually ordered a cake ahead of time and picked it up on her way to the hospital. I was stunned. She had them write on the cake, "Celebrate Life - Gavin and Mommy." I loved it so much that I only want that on my birthday cake for the rest of my days. It is now a sweet tradition.
It has also become a tradition to celebrate my birthday and Gavin's anniversary in fun ways as a family. It started last night with a fun birthday dinner.
I loved watching Brian's eyes light up when I told him he would be skipping school the next day! We had celebrating to do!
Our day today was jam packed. We went to a morning movie at the Movie Tavern and saw "Zootopia!" As it turns out, morning movies on a weekday are a great idea when you bring a two year old along as the place was mostly empty. Hope sat in her seat - for about ten minutes, tops. Good times. Not so good that I'd do it again in the next two years... but I guess it wasn't that bad.
Brian, of course, was thrilled to be there. The two of us LOVE seeing movies at the Movie Tavern!
After the movie, we went to a nearby park. It was a gorgeous day!
We ALL had our matching "Super G" shirts on, which has also become a tradition.
Hope has the same fearless nature that Gavin had. You could never swing him too high or spin him too fast and he never met a slide that was too steep. I have stopped panicking as much when Hope wants to attempt something that seems beyond her age. She is so tough!!
And Brian, who has always been the more cautious one, is getting bolder every day. I love watching him dote on and protect his little sister - but she also pushes him to experience new things.
They definitely balance each other out.
I am sure that Gavin was happy as he watched us enjoying the sunshine and smiles.
We couldn't end the day without a trip to Arnold's Family Fun Center. It was one of Gavin's favorite places!
Brian racked up ego points playing Skee Ball.
Hope found and gently kissed every animal...
...and I had a flashback of a fun "love bomb" date I had with Gavin a mere five months before he died.
But the kids had the most fun going down the bouncy slides.
Hope has reserved her biggest smiles for her big brother from her first smile until now. They just adore each other.
Choosing life can be easy. Choosing joy can be challenging. Choosing love is mandatory.
As I rest my head on my pillow tonight, I can feel sure that Gavin had a great day.
And so did we.
Thank you to everyone who has purchased a book for Gavin's Usborne "bookraiser!" I decided to celebrate his love of books by asking people to purchase books for their own children, a charity that means something to them or two organizations that meant something to us as a way to honor Gavin on this difficult anniversary. You can find all the details about how you can get involved in THIS POST. Or you can just skip right to the shopping page, which you can find HERE. Whether you purchase a book for you or for someone else, I get "hostess credits." I intend to turn those credits around to purchase MORE books for two organizations we've chosen - the Child Life Department at duPont Hospital and the Chester County Intermediate Unit. Gavin's Usborne shopping link will be open until April 24th. Feel free to share it with your family and friends! The whole idea is to share Gavin's love of books - and all around happy spirit - with children far and wide.
Thank you, as always, for loving our little family... and remembering our special little boy.