Like so many of the other marker moments that we've had to live through, things like his delivery, going to the funeral home to make arrangements, the 1-week/1-month anniversaries, the due date...the anniversary of his birth loomed large for me. For months, I'd been simultaneously dreading it and just wanting it over. I had no idea what it was going to be like for us emotionally.
But we knew we wanted to celebrate him and his little life. We never had any kind of formal memorial...it just never felt like the right time, we didn't know what we wanted to do, and truthfully, I'm not ready to do anything to let go of his ashes.
I love birthdays. Mine, my friends, my kids, strangers. I love birthdays and birthday parties. And so, I decided that one thing that I knew would make me feel better was to have a birthday party for Matthew. We invited just a handful of people...the people who have been the inner circle this past year. (We are so very blessed to also have a much wider circle who has loved us tremendously through this--if that includes you, THANK YOU). But these are the folks who were really in the trenches with us...and saw the good, the bad and the ugly.
We started the evening by worshiping at our beloved church then headed back to our house for a proper birthday celebration. Our friends came bearing notes, gifts, flowers, wine, and delicious gluten-free desserts. We gave each of our kids a couple gifts (gift-giving is one of my love languages) and they played into the night with their friends. We adults ate and laughed and joked. And these lovely people allowed me a few moments to read some prepared remarks, recounting specifics of what they had done in the days and weeks after this all happened to help us survive. And truly, it is simply because of God's grace in the form of these sweet people that J and I have made it through this. And in a few quiet moments, with our closest friends surrounding us, we celebrated our son and prayed and thanked God for his little life.
beautiful flowers--symbolizing LIFE
rainbow cupcakes--the kids decided if we made some of every color,
we'd be sure to have one in Matthew's favorite color
presents for the kids
rainbow balloon bouquet next to Matthew's memorial tree
It was an awesome birthday party. I can't imagine a better way to celebrate his life than being surrounded by the people who love us and love him. We miss you so much, Matthew, and celebrate who you are. Happy birthday, our baby boy.