Sunday, March 21, 2010

One week

I have a to-do list on the desktop of my computer on a little virtual sticky note. It reads things like "Fill out renewal Step Up Application" "Fax tax returns to Mortgage Company" "Write parent essay for AG Bell". As I finish something, I don't erase it...I cross it off, so that I can feel like I accomplished something.

This month has been crazy. The divorce, house stuff...every day life. It wasn't until I got an evite invitation the other day that it hit me that there were some imperative things missing from my to-do list. I opened the evite from my friend, labeled "Jeremiah's 3rd Birthday!" and read in the description that all Jeremiah, a little boy whose mom, Angie was pregnant right along with me three years ago, wanted nothing but a party with his friends for his birthday. Just a little party for the "babies" while the big kids were in school. Jeremiah. Fisher. Becca. Caleb.

Not being able to write Eli's name next on that list is harder than I can tell you.

I love those kids. A couple of years ago I wouldn't have been able to tell you that without lying, with the exception of Fisher, who has always been a balm to my soul. Babies were trouble. Seeing their faces only reminded me of what I had lost. I wondered why their parents got to keep them, bring them home, celebrate their birthdays, and I didn't even get to see Eli take a single breath.

But now, these kids have become people to me, wormed their way into my heart. Jeremiah will sit in the most uncomfortable positions just to be near Vivi, who he calls "Seth's baby sister." He and Becca and Fisher fight over who gets to be the one to hold her pacifier for her. When Seth's magnets fall off his head, Becca says "Oh no!" and rushes over to replace them for him. When I pick up Fisher from his preschool, he comes running to me, excited, calling out "My Ellyn!"

They're people. They have ideas, and they think jokes are funny. They have reached the age where they actually play together and think of themselves as having friends. They're not babies anymore.

I want to be stressing out over a to-do list that has different entries, or, if not that, at least some extra ones. "Buy Balloons." "Get Ice." "Pick out party decorations." I want to be asking Eli what kind of party he wants, who his friends are, telling him knock knock jokes and listening to him crack up laughing. I want to pick him up from preschool right along with Fisher. I want to tell him to leave his baby sister alone and to be nice to his brothers. I want to still be married to his dad, still be a complete family, and I feel like if he hadn't died maybe we would never have headed down the path we did. In all truth we've been a broken family for three years, not one.

Instead we're planning a day at Busch Gardens, a breakfast out, cupcakes. Better than nothing, but still, it's cold comfort.

This month has gone by so fast, but I'm not ready for this week to go by, for Sunday to come, to start Eli's fourth year without him. While I feel like I am blessed beyond measure, this part is always so hard.
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