You would have been nine today.
I remember walking into the driveway to tell Daddy, who was washing his car, that it was time to go to the hospital on this day nine years ago. That night was a whirlwind. Quick decisions, emergency c-section, seeing you get whisked away to the NICU for what would end up being the first thirty days of our life together...
The next five and a half years were a whirlwind, too.
Now is when I think most people would expect me to say - I wish I had known it was going to be such a whirlwind. I wish I had known your life would have been only 5 1/2 years long. And then I'd list all the things I would have done more of, less of or different.
But I can't say that. I feel like the way I parented you was the first best thing I ever did. I enjoyed every moment, I documented everything (thank God), we gave you lots of fun experiences, we tried not to limit you and I worked so hard to get you the help that ended up taking you so far. I don't feel a lot of regrets about the years you were with us. For that, I will always feel profoundly grateful.
But today was hard. We have been missing you a lot lately. It's getting harder to "wonder" what you'd be doing by now. Would you be holding conversations? Would you be running? There are so many unanswered questions - and our answers are only speculations... and they are all stuck in the past.
We decided to spend the evening having fun as a family - something we know you would have loved.
We made the obvious choice to go to Arnold's Family Fun Center - one of your favorite places. And now Brian and Hope's, too!
As hard as it is to live without you, Daddy and I agree that the smiles and laughs of your brother and sister make every day easier.
In a book called "Second Guessing God" by Brian Jones, I read about two different kinds of miracles. The "instantaneous miracle" and the "perseverance miracle." I'd be lying if I sad I wasn't a little bit angry at God for denying us the miracle of letting you live. But the only way I can explain how we've managed since you died is because we were granted a "perseverance miracle." God gave us the tools, the strength and the love to persevere.
I know in my heart that you want us to be happy, Gavin. Some days are harder than others. For all of us. And some days are better than most. But my goal is the same. I want your brother and sister to always remember that it's okay to be happy - even when it seems impossible. And it's okay to be sad because we know the sadness won't last forever.
We ended the evening with a birthday dinner at Pizzeria Uno. Brian and Hope made their own pizzas and shared a big sundae with two spoons. Your brother, on his own accord, wrote down all the people who were there at your "birthday party." I can't think of a better group to have dinner with.
Nine years ago this night you made me a Mother. My life will never be the same.
Happy Birthday, Bugaboo.