Monday, March 28, 2011

Happy 4th Birthday, Sweet Boy

Part of me can't believe I'm sitting down to write a post about Eli's fourth birthday. How can four years have passed? So much has happened, and yet if I let myself, I can get sucked into that morning all over again. That last kick, how silky his hair felt against my fingers. His huge clown feet, smeared with ink from the footprints we took that would barely fit on the page.

He'd be four today. I'd be signing him up for Pre-K, telling him not to run in the house, probably spending way too much time stopping he and Jace from wrestling with each other. I'm sure I'd be yelling "Stop it, or someone is going to get hurt!" several timed a day. I have two beautiful boys here with me and they are like night and day from from another...I wonder all the time how Eli would have fit between them. 

Yesterday, the kids, my best friend from high school, Kara, and I headed out to a town a couple hours away to meet up with a friend I wish I'd never met. I love her dearly, and I know she will know just what I mean when I say that. I wish I'd never met her because they only reason we ever did meet was that she also has a son who died on March 28th, one year after Eli. Her son, Connor, lived for about an hour. She somehow stumbled across this blog and we became fast friends, finally meeting in real life when we were each pregnant with Evany and her daughter, Mia. Today, she and her husband put together an amazing tribute to our boys and many other children who died. We released balloons today in all of their honor, and it was a really great experience for all of us.

Mandy & I with Vivi and Mia

The kids' notes to Eli; I wrote down exactly what they said.

Jace's read: "Eli, I love you and I miss you. I hope you are having a good time in heaven. Love Jace."

Seth scribbled this himself. He's good.
Ava signed her name but was afraid she would pop the balloon if she wrote the whole message. She wrote"Dear Eli, I really miss you and I love you. Are the streets gold in heaven? How's God? Love you, Avelyn."


Evany colored a bit but was more interested in giving Eli's balloon lots of sloppy kisses.

I thought it would be difficult for me to let that balloon go after we'd written all those things for Eli on it, like I'd be letting go of him all over again. And it probably would have been, if it had been up to me. But instead, the kids took the whole thing out of my hands and released Eli's balloon wthout any reticence at all. As the balloon went into the air, Seth shrieked in excitement and yelled "Yay! Bye Bye!" and waved nonstop until all the balloons were out of sight. As always, they are teaching me how to do everything. Ava waved up at the balloon and said matter of factly "I wonder how long it'll take to get to him in heaven?"

Jace praying before the release.

The balloon closest to us is Eli's. 


I miss him. I miss him. I miss him. I could fill this page with these words and it wouldn't properly convey how much I miss that kid. That kid, who would actually be a kid today, no longer a baby. I know he did his job. I know terrible things happen sometimes, and that God has brought good out of Eli's death. These are the things I hold onto. I know Eli has saved people, brought them to Christ. When I die, if I can say the same thing, that I fulfilled what my son did without ever taking a breath, I will be happy. I will be content. And I will be overjoyed to finally see him again, throw my arms around his neck, and tell him how much he is loved. I put this quote in his baby book, and it is even more true today, four years later. My son has taught everyone in our family to live all out, to put it all out there, and never to hold back.

Our joys will be greater,
 our love will be deeper, 
our lives will be fuller, 
because we shared in these moments. 

I posted this video last year, but I love it so. The song playing is what we played at his memorial service. I would be honored if you'd take the time to remember my son today along with me and maybe even watch this to remember who he was and share in his life. After four years, these memories are all I have of him, and when other people remember him to it is like I've been given the greatest gift imaginable. 

Happy Birthday, Baby. I love you more than more. 
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