Our Family

Our Family
Fall 2015 - These are my people

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Her First Real Birthday - Four Years Later

Once again, I find myself not having blogged in a year.  But I'm alright with it.  This has been a good year and one full of lots of life.  So for that, I am thankful.  Because it was Solveig's birthday yesterday and the thoughts are floating around in my mind I decided it was time to write tonight.

It was her first real birthday, on the 29th of February.  But it was really her fourth birthday in Heaven.  Many people have asked us how it felt to celebrate her birthday, and specifically how it felt to celebrate her birthday on the actual day of the 29th.  I guess it didn't feel all that different.  But it was quite special all the same.  The thing that felt the most odd was not really celebrating on the 28th.  That is the day we typically have celebrated over the past three years.

For her day we have usually gone to the local museum for kids, but since the 29th was a Monday we were out of luck there.  So this year we did something different and went to the bigger of our two zoos.  We wore our special shirts that I made for a special walk run that we do every year in honor of babies who have died and gone before us.  It was fun to be doing something that all three kids could enjoy so much.  Our little Squeaker is at such a fun age for things like this and he was really thrilled to see the animals.  At first he was so scared of the animals, but then he got used to the idea of looking at them and he didn't want to leave by the end.  One of my favorite things to see were two of the beautiful leopards that were snuggling and resting in the sun on what was a very cold day.  And nobody else was around since this exhibit was outside.  Leave it to us to be the brave ones in the cold.  It was really fun to get up so close to the leopards and to lock eyes with them.  They are stunning.  We also loved seeing the penguins!  All three kids climbed up on top of the rock structure next to the penguin tank.  And we got to watch the monk seal show.  That was fun.  When we were in Hawaii with Bug almost 9 years ago, we had the opportunity to see some monk seals who were up on the beach.  They were protected by some local volunteers.  It was awesome.  We had our homemade lunch at the zoo as well before it was time to head home.

After the zoo, it was normal life for awhile.  That meant a screaming two year old who was ready for his nap, and two big kids who had fun watching one of their favorite things - all about wars and stars.  And during nap time, I went out to the dollar store to get party supplies for our little family dinner at home.  I got some balloons for us to release at the cemetery, and decided that we should also get some to keep at home.  Knowing how the young one would potentially react when he had to release his balloon, I figured it might be nice to have a backup waiting at home.  All the balloons were pink for the release time.  And the ones for home were pink, purple and white.  Honestly, I was so relieved that nobody at either of those stores asked me what I was celebrating.  That has happened before, and it's a little hard to explain.  (Of course I would have been fine explaining it if I had been questioned.  But it was just nice to not have to talk about it with random strangers just this once.)  This is one day when I kind of like to be incognito and wish to not run into anyone that I know.  Sometimes it happens, and that's fine.  But I prefer to be sort of quiet and with my family on this day.  I also stopped to get some lovely pink roses at another store.

While I was gone, my dear guy made some gluten free cupcakes as I am now gluten free.  After our little dude woke from his nap, we ventured out to the cemetery.  We explained to our little one that we would be going to his sister Solveig's grave, that her body was in the ground but her spirit was in Heaven with Jesus.  It's a tough concept for anyone, but maybe especially for a young mind.  (We've been there with him before, but it has been awhile and I wanted to make sure to explain it again.)  We told him that we would be releasing some balloons for her birthday and that we couldn't keep those ones.  And we told him we would put pretty roses at her grave.  When we got there, I told him that he could touch her hand and footprints.  I have been looking forward to him being old enough to do this by himself.  This was the first time that he was able to do so.  It was so sweet.

When it was time to release our balloons, they were so tightly tied together.  Maybe that is symbolic of our family...tightly woven.  We had to cut the strings short.  Each of us took one and let it go to the sky.  The balloons all freely went up this time!  In past years, they have blown to the side or gotten stuck in the tree.  And because it was cloudy and not very windy, we were able to watch them soar SO high.  It was magnificent, and we all took it in for quite some time.  Little Squeaker probably soaked it up for the longest time and he didn't want to leave.  Of course I know that the balloons cannot fly to Heaven, but I like to imagine that they were on their way to Solveig, and that maybe she got to catch them when they got there.

Daddy went out to get us some take out cuisine and I attempted to make some homemade GF cream cheese wontons.  They were yummy, so I thought.  But nobody else cared for them.  It was so nice though to eat a meal together on a table all decorated for our sweet girl.  Pale pink and roses...those remind me of her.  And that's what I used to create our table.

After dinner we decorated cupcakes with homemade pink frosting and fun candies from the dollar store.  That was a fun way to honor our baby.  And we sang happy birthday to her.

It was simple.  And it was sweet.  That's how we like it.

Thanks for all of the love and prayers.  Thank you to the people who remembered about Solveig's birthday and reached out to us.  It means more than you know that you choose to do that.  One of the things I struggle with is worrying that people will forget about her.  I think just about any parent who has lost a child will tell you the same thing.  So knowing that she is not forgotten by others means so much to us.

We know God is with us.  He has been good to us and has brought redemption from the dark places.  He has strengthened us and given us hope in Him.  We choose to hope in Him...even on the hard days.  And yes, there are still hard days...four years later.  I will say that they seem to be fewer and further between.  But sometimes those hard moments or hard days will still catch me by surprise.

Celebrating Solveig's life is a good choice for our family.  I'm so glad that we are able to do that together.  I'm grateful that we have chosen to remember her and to honor her life.

Happy birthday Solveig Sofia, my beautiful girl!  I can't wait to see you dancing in Heaven one day!  And I can't wait to hold you in my arms again.  I love you so much!


Lindsey said...

Beautiful and honest...thank you for sharing your heart and how you spent your day. it moves me so much, imagining you holding your daughter in Heaven - praise

Annette Wilson said...

Such a precious time... Thank you for sharing & being transparent...
Hugs & Prayers!