Macie's 6th birthday fell on a Saturday. She died on a Saturday, so this was the first we got to celebrate in that ever-so-slightly-more-real way.
We weren't here for her birthday. That tore me up inside for a while beforehand, but we didn't really have any other options. We had to go then to Arkansas to look for a house. It was our only weekend to go, and I had such guilt about it. I still do a little bit.
Spencer's last day at work was the 23rd and we were flying out the 24th so we planned to go to the cemetery that night and do cupcakes and balloons. I don't quite know where my head has been lately but I am not usually so spacey...I totally forgot that the cemetery closes at 4:30 (sometimes that is really inconvenient for me) and because we had piano lessons, everything was suddenly messed up. Luckily we could change lesson times, but as a result we had no time to get balloons. My favorite little tradition wasn't going to work. And on the year when we could all have our own balloon! Grrr. I hate when I am dumb.
Did I mention our house had JUST gone on the market? I was getting 2-3 phone calls a day from people wanting to see it, and keeping it clean was already getting crazy.
I made cupcakes and frosted them pink, so we could still do that part at least. And off we went. I thought a lot about how there is no earthly way to describe the pain when you know your full-term baby inside of you is not alive anymore, how I had always said things like "I could never do something that hard." We all say that, yet we are all somehow able to do it when we need to. Because we don't have a choice. I didn't do as much reflecting this year as I normally do, mostly because I feel like a frazzled person, but I did think a lot about how lucky I feel and how far I have come in 6 years. Having a child on the other side is a very hopeful thing. I don't know if I could have said that the first few months - pretty sure I couldn't have - but I am glad I came to that point relatively quickly.
At the cemetery the kids ran around and we ate our cupcakes and talked about the day we buried her (actually, that was 6 years ago TODAY - October 30). That was the hardest thing I have ever had to do publicly, and I will never forget the foggy, sad, and empty feelings I had. At the same time I have never in my life felt so much love and support. Again, I can't describe it.
We stayed a while but had to get home (they were closing!) and then run some last minute errands before our trip.
Macie's actual birthday was special for me from afar. My sweet mom was here watching the kids, and THEY did the balloons. I loved getting pictures of my kids carrying on this tradition that will be a part of our family forever. I guess Sadie liked her balloon so much and didn't want to let it go. I think this is something that is meaningful for my kids - it is fun to watch them float until they are out of eyesight, with us symbolically sending Macie the only thing that can "reach" her where she is.
6 is a great age. She would be in kindergarten this year. She and Tanner would probably be best friends. (Let's face it - everyone wants to be Tanner's best friend.) I think she would be another little mommy to Sadie - and let me tell you, I sure could use that right now. Instead, she is a mature adult who is busy on the other side.
I can't wait to plant a "Macie tree" in our new backyard in Arkansas, a spot where we can think about her and gather to send her her birthday balloons every year. We are leaving a HUGE part of ourselves here in California, but that part is just temporal. I am certain I will be able to feel her wherever we go.