My early birthday present was just what I had asked for! A new oven! I know this may not sound exciting to most people, but the oven we had was ancient. And, even better, this was a new used oven, half the price of what we would pay in the store. And since I am not too good for Craig's List and my husband will save a few bucks whenever he can, we scored this beauty you see here, 2 years old, only being sold because they upgraded to stainless. Their mistake became our treasure. No more excuses for under or over cooked brownies or burnt anything. The firth thing I baked in our new oven was banana bread.
The Saturday before my birthday, we invited some friends & family to Chandler Hill Winery for the afternoon. It was a beautiful day and we had a nice time just relaxing and listening to the live performer. Pat & Kristy
Jose' & Julie
Sara & Nathan came too but we somehow forgot to get a picture. After we picked Charlotte up, we had dinner at home and then Sara & Nathan came over to use the fire pit outside and make smores. It was overall a relaxing day.
On my actual birthday, I made dinner at home and enjoyed hanging around the house most of the day. Then we had family over for some peach and apple pie from "J. Noto's" (per my request) on Main Street Old St. Charles.
The long version:
Everything I typed above is true, but not really my style. It would be impossible for me to feel that I have truly written about my birthday without including the more emotional side of it all. However, knowing that some readers may want the condensed version, I have spared them the rest. You see, it was a good birthday and there was absolutely nothing that wasn't right, or that I wanted and didn't get. I didn't really even know what I wanted this year. It was as if I had been hit by a brick. Charlotte's eye surgery was still worrying me, our son isn't here, life had changed dramatically in what seems like a blink of an eye and I was a crying emotional mess pretty much the entire weekend before and day of my birthday. When I went for Charlotte's follow-up appointment, the nurse made the mistake of asking me how I was doing... I cried, cried and cried.
Last year, on my birthday, I was picturing both of our kids, playing together, maybe Ryan learning how to crawl or sitting independently now. Things would be getting easier, him sleeping through the night, Charlotte starting school soon. I had this wonderful little family life planned out in my head. Instead, I am mourning, grieving, wishing I had that little life that I had vividly pictured. When asked, is there anything you want to do for your birthday, all I could think of was "hold Ryan". Tears come to my eyes just typing it. I didn't want to go out to eat, I didn't want to open presents, I didn't even want to wish on my candles. Because I know good and well that none of those things were going to fill the void I was feeling. It was easier right after Ryan died, to be thankful that he was no longer hurting and that he was healed. I still believe that, but the more time that passes since he has been gone, the more I miss him. And, what do you do with that feeling? The ache. My birthday was simply the highlight that I didn't want to celebrate. I wanted Ryan.. ryan. My good boy. My little man. Our son.
I sat by his grave today. I talked to him, cried, told him I loved him and missed him. Felt the wispy new grass growing on the ground where he is buried. I told him I missed him again and again. I prayed again that he would somehow come to me in my dreams so that I can feel the softness of his hair and cheek, feel the weight of his body in my arms, gaze into his deep blue eyes... my nightly prayer. Charlotte wakes up talking about him almost every morning. "Ryan play with me" she says. I wonder... does he? Just as I looked up after thinking about this, two butterflies danced in the distance.
Life has changed so much in this year. I don't even let myself gaze that far into the future anymore. I am lucky to have next month planned, and if it wasn't for work, I probably wouldn't. It seems weird to have things scheduled now, after spending so much time the past few months being terrified of scheduling anything. Time marches on, whether we like for it to or not. As I sat by him today, I wanted to lay down for a nap, just a snuggle again with our son. Somehow, the hard ground and grass didn't seem inviting enough.
I prayed again by his grave and as I got back into my car, saw Ryan's picture again on my dash. My birthday wish is that he knows just how much I love him, how much I miss him, how much he meant to so many people here and that each day, I make him proud to call me his mother. (This wish I did not wish on my candles as I knew that nothing good comes of trusting birthday candles with wishes as great as this). I pray that God allows him to visit me in my dreams too and that as quickly as time has changed my life in the past year, may I soak up the goodness in it and the goodness to come. Because surely, there is more to come. Blessings are all around us.