Swollen and puffy.. red rimmed eyes. I have adjusted to this new face in the mirror. .
Jonathans 5th birthday was Saturday. five. The same age Jennifer was for the last good times of our lives. 5. In a year from now he turns 6 and 3 months after that .. please please please.. He will be older than his big sister.
That doesn’t even seem possible.
He woke up missing her. So very much. We all did.
I remember worrying about my kids growing apart from friends.. worried about what it might be like for them to not have the friend they most wanted at their parties.. Never ever did I imagine this..
His first without his best friend. ..
At one point during the day Nicholas started talking about his birthday next year. I looked at Tony and with all honesty realized “we have to do this again next year.” Somehow I thought I just had to make it through their birthdays and party.. then I would be done with it.. I forgot.. this would be year after year..
Always without his best friend.. the person he most wants to be there to celebrate with him. She will always be a no RSVP.
We tried to make it a great day for him. He wanted to go bowling. Specifically the place we went for Jennifer’s post radiation party. Tony and I had a out loud internal debate.. How much should we talk about Jennifer. .. But he seemed to really want it. Seemed to eat up me telling stories about her. I talked to Tony about our need to start watching videos of her. For me and the kids. Its a huge trigger for Tony.. but I think the kids and I need it. So he showed me how to find them to watch them.
I will try it tomorrow.
Before she died we sat down together and bought a bunch of gifts for the other kids. Looking back now.. did she know? She only asked for a few things that day for her. But was so happy to look online for gift after gift for her 3 younger siblings. For his birthday Jonathan got to open the first of those gifts. I figure I have enough for 2-3 birthdays and 3 Christmas mornings. He just hugged it. The box of stars that she picked out for him. He wanted to immediately go put them up in his room.
They had a good time bowling. Even though a big part of me wanted to do something else.. we went. And I had a good time too. .. with her tucked safely in my purse.. and so many memories of her swirling around..
He had said earlier in the week he wanted Red Robin for dinner. I cried when he said it. I tried not too.. but I couldn’t help it. It was her place. The only place she could eat out. It was the only place we ever went to.. I used to feel sorry for us because of that.. Sorry that my boys never knew any other restaurants .. now I am stuck feeling guilty that I can’t stomach taking them there. .
Luckily after bowling he asked for Gilroy Gardens. That we had done.. that was feasible for me. So we went after naps. Still missing her.. still talking about her.. but this time he tried a ride. And we did the petting zoo. She used to love petting zoos.
We had talked before about how they used to play in the baby water area.. how I used to take him and Jennifer there just to play in that area.. Its why he wanted to go there. To run in the “frog water” . So thats how we ended the trip. Smiles and fun.. and another attempt from our newly 5 yr old boy to include his sister.
We dropped off the other 3 and just Jonathan and I fluttered. We ate a quick dinner and put the candles on his cake. Then we got to watch his big sister sing him happy birthday. . over and over again. All 3 kids seemed to absorb her. I wish I had known to do that more. To have her sing and talk and say our names on camera. I miss that.
This morning I woke up to his pain. He was so full this morning. Of rage and sorrow.. of a deep deep anguish. And when it was done. I looked at him.
At the same face I have become accustomed to in the mirror and I cried.
This time not for the loss of my daughter..
but for the loss of my son.
…until there is a cure…