Monday, July 9, 2012

Happy Birthday Callie

Many of you have asked how we celebrated Callie's birthday this year.  I like to blog about our family celebration because it becomes a timeline to one day show my kids.  Yet I really struggled this year with the entire day.  We had been talking to Corban about Callie's upcoming birthday and tried to involve him in the planning process.  He was really getting excited!  Thursday night we were sitting at the dinner table and our conversation went like this:  C:  "Where is Callie's birthday party going to be?"  Me:  "I don't know.  Where do you think we should have it?"  C:  "I think we should have it at church in the nursery so Callie can see our new church.  She can close her eyes and we'll yell surprise!"  I left the room at this point knowing that this dream would never happen.  It began to occur to me that Corban wasn't understanding things the way I thought he was. 
Friday was a day of confusion and frustration.  Corban didn't understand why Callie wasn't going to be at her birthday party.  He asked a million questions, as most 4 year olds do, and each one was more difficult to answer than the last.  Each one made us verbally acknowledge the pain and void without Callie.  5 years later and yet still so raw. 
We got balloons and sent letters to her that the kids had drawn.  Corban didn't want to release his because he wanted to save it for the birthday party.  This wasn't the party he envisioned and dreamed.  It wasn't like any he could remember.  I agree.  A birthday party without the birthday girl doesn't make much sense in his 4 year old mind. 
It is at times like these that I question our decision.  Should we be so open with our children about Callie?  Should we expose them to death and dying?  Should we have them go through our "celebration" with us?  "Is it just for us?" 
I've come to the conclusion that it isn't just for us.  To not celebrate her life, though as tough as it is, would be to ignore the profound impact Callie has had on our lives.  Everyone has a birthday and we take that day to celebrate who the person is and has become, to celebrate how far she has come and simply to make that person feel special.  Though Callie isn't with us, she deserves a day that is all her own, to be celebrated. 

I can't make the decision for you as to how to remember your child.  I would just urge you that even when it is difficult to continue to press on.

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