Today is your second birthday. It is not only the second birthday I have spent without you, it is the second birthday you have spent in Heaven. It is the second time I will compare this day to how it would have been if you were celebrating here with us, instead of with Jesus.
If you were turning two here, I would wake up to your excited squeals and giggles as you climbed up into our bed and bounced on daddy. Maybe you would have bounced on Jake and Eisley first. We would have smothered you with kisses and told you "Happy Birthday Lily girl! You are so big now that you are two!!! You aren't a baby anymore!"
Instead, I will wake up to the quiet still of the morning, before the sun comes up, and the silence will be deafening. I will feel your absence. I will not say that you aren't a baby anymore, because you will always be a baby to me. I will close my eyes and ask the Lord to hug you for me, two big squeezes for the two years you have been both here and gone.
If you were turning two here, we would be having the most adorable, Pinterest crazed birthday party ever! I wonder what the theme would be...princesses or cupcakes or ballerinas...and everyone would come! Our whole family would come to celebrate you and kiss you and shower you with presents. Nana Robin would have made super special cupcakes and given you a big one with a "2" candle on it for you to blow out. You would probably be running around with a tutu on and your blonde curls would be bouncing up and down with you. Jake and Eisley would "help" you open your presents, and if I'm at all right in the kind of personality you have, you would have stubbornly told them that you were a big girl and didn't need their help! We would have balloons everywhere, and this would be the extra special birthday where we would do a "Binky Release" like we did for Jake and Eisley on their second birthday. We would tie your binkies (except for one, which I would save for your memory box) to a dozen balloons and kiss them goodbye. You would let the balloons go and wave goodbye as they floated off into the sky.Years ago, Jake and Eisley said they were sending their binkies to "the babies in Heaven". Little did I know how much that would mean to me today.
But instead of a birthday party, we will quietly visit your grave as a family. Instead of birthday presents, we will bring you lilies to fill the vase by your stone. And the balloons that should have brought laughter to your lips, will bring tears to my eyes, as each of us releases one up to Heaven, hoping it somehow reaches you. Jake and Eisley will tell Jonesy all about you, and we will talk about what kind of party you are having in Heaven. There will be nothing to put in your memory box, because every memory I will ever make with you has already been made. I will get out the box I do have from my closet, open it up, and touch each and every object inside of it. I will use the blanket you were wrapped in to dry my tears. I will marvel at how very small your feet were. I will read all of the notes and letters we were given after you died.
If you were turning two here with us, I would watch you as you opened your presents, and I would cry. I cried at Jake and Eisley's second birthday, because I realized that they weren't babies anymore. There were no more diapers, no more binkies, no more cribs. They were growing up so fast, and it was bittersweet. I would have done the same for you, Lily. I would have cried when you sent your binkies away, and I would have cried when daddy took your crib apart, and I probably wouldn't have cried throwing all your pull ups in the trash, but it would still feel a little sad.
Instead, I will cry for different reasons. I will cry because you never got to use a binky, or a crib, or a diaper. I will cry because I have now gone two whole years without seeing you, or holding you, or being your mommy. I will cry because I am missing your birthday party, and no mommy should ever miss their baby's birthday party. I will cry because I miss you. Because I've missed you for two years. Because I will miss you for so many more.
There is something soothing about having Jones here to snuggle and hug. But soothing is as far as it goes. There is no replacing a child with another child. Each baby I have had takes up a uniquely shaped space in my heart. You left a uniquely shaped hole, and nothing and no one could ever fill that but you. I love Eisley with all my heart. I love Jake as big as the sky. I love Jones times infinity. I love you to Heaven and back. I am so thankful for the children I have here with me, because they will make this day so much easier. But they cannot make it easy, ever.
It is such a balancing act, mothering babies on earth as well as in Heaven. I can't explain it fully, but it always feels like if I tip too far in one direction or the other, I will fall over. I will fail either my babies in Heaven or my babies on earth. I always have to find a perfect balance between being a mother to you and being a mother to Jake and Eisley and Jones. I want to make sure they know how important you are to me, while also making sure they know how important they are to me. I want them to see me cry for you, but not too much, so they aren't scared. I want to honor your memory, without dwelling on the tragedy of your loss. I am holding and loving and cherishing a baby in my arms who would not exist if you had not left them. How do I come to terms with that? How do I wish you were here knowing that if you were, Jones wouldn't be? How do I feel your absence so sharply while also feeling overjoyed that God blessed us with Jones? How do I mourn you fully while fully embracing the blessings that have come since your loss? Am I doing it right? Am I missing something I should be doing? I always wonder...
If you were turning two here...
But you aren't.
One day, when I get there, I promise we will celebrate every single birthday I missed. Until then, I am confident that you are having a much cooler birthday party than I ever could give you!
I. Miss. You.
Happy birthday baby girl. Mommy will be there soon.
"Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years..."
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.