Happy Birthday Logan
Another year has come and gone. My world has circled the sun seven times now since you first left. I have woken up 2,556 times without the ability to say good morning and kiss your sweet face. I have gone to bed 2,556 times without the ability to tuck you in and say our prayers together. I have missed reading you books, making you snacks, kissing your ouchies, watching you cruise around playgrounds and tickling your tummy until laughter filled tears rolled down your cheeks … more times than I could possibly count. Now take that unknown number and multiply it by a thousand. That’s the amount of times I have missed cradling your head in my hands, looking into your big blue eyes and saying, “I love you.” You are not in the world I’m in and I’m never going to be ok with it.
I feel like I am having to fight to celebrate you this year. I can’t even fully explain why. We have done our usual “birthday with no birthday boy” routine. The grief and hope dance is similar as year’s past, but something just feels … different. I feel like the further I get away from you, the harder I have to convince this world that you and this day are important. Why is that which is so obvious to me (seemingly) feel so foreign and excessive to others? Sometimes I feel like the world is looking down at us with a megaphone saying, “Ok. Time is up. Your "almost son” has had his moment. Stop fighting. We are tired of listening. Raise the white flag and move on.”
Don’t worry Logan … the world picked a fight with the wrong family.
The world around us hasn’t paid close enough attention and has overlooked that we are building an army. We are training this army to teach those whose feet have freshly touched the unfortunate gravel of this road, that they never need to “move on” or succumb to the pressure to. We are going to teach them that grief is normal and has no timeline. We are going to teach them the healthy way to walk this path. And slowly, one family at at time, this army will grow. We will set an example and one day the world will be the one to raise it’s white flag. Things will shift. This is all because of you my son and we are beyond proud.
Lately I have had pockets of tension when it comes to the dreams I have for Walk With Me and it’s future. If we stay small I know we are still making a difference. It makes me feel bad when I dream BIG about all Walk With Me could become. Greedy almost. Like I should be happy and content with where we are and all we have accomplished. Maybe I am worried my intentions are not pure? Maybe I am letting pride take the wheel? I can’t explain it but something has changed in this last month. I’m not sure how but a fire is growing and it is not fueled by status or pride or power, rather, it is fueled by compassion and love and empathy. I realized all this time I have not been dreaming too big. I have been dreaming TOO SMALL. This is so much bigger than all of us Logan and it is not BECAUSE of us, but IN SPITE of us. We are so flawed and cannot take any credit. God is just that good. All I know is that you sweet boy have started a movement. I can almost see you and Jesus looking down at us with big grins, shaking your heads back and forth and saying, “They have no idea…”
Your life has SO much purpose … if only it took away the sting of your absence. I can see God’s hand moving in so many ways and I feel so blessed to be a part of it, but do you want to know a secret? Something I’m ashamed to admit?
I would give it all back for you.
Sounds kinda horrible I know, but it’s the honest truth. We have paid a great price to be here and have the knowledge and empathy we need to serve others. I have paid a great price to be comfortable with those that make most uncomfortable … but I would trade it for you in an instant. It’s selfish and I know it. I’m sorry. But kinda not. Guess that just goes to show the imperfection of me.
I wish grief was linear. It’s probably the greatest misconception of those who are not bereaved. Time does not equal healing. Time helps but is more of a bandaid on top of a chronic and open wound. This wound does not leave a scar. Another common misconception. It bleeds, it scabs, it gets torn open without warning and then … it bleeds again. They only consistent part of this cycle? Inconsistency.
Life is heavy and hard right now. Last year I tried to let the hope trump the heartache, but this year I’m just not there and that’s ok too. I just need a chance to breathe … I just need time to stop for one minute so I can catch my breath and focus on you today. But despite my begging it seems to continue to throw all it has my way. Why can’t I just have a day that is all for you? How has my world spun so very fast that it has been a year since I have been to your grave? I know you are not there but it makes me feel like the worst mom on the entire planet.
In all of this I think the hardest pill for me to swallow is the fact that I do not know the inner-workings of you. I am your mother and I should know you better than anyone, and yet, I’m left to wonder who you would have been. What would you have loved? What would you have been scared of? Would you have been into sports, music or art? Maybe all three? What would my cliff notes response have been when someone asked about my oldest child?
Your little brother has a huge heart. He is a feeler and has big responses with everything he does. He analyzes all he sees and is very cautious of his surroundings. His mind is very calculated and he wants to know how everything works. Self preservation is at the top of his list. He is gentle and kind (with the exception of his interactions with your little sister because he beats her up quite a bit). Cliff-notes explanation: Sullivan is my sensitive and compassionate kid.
Your little sister on the other hand, couldn’t be more different. She is a tomboy in a princess dress. She loves all things girly on the surface, but is as rough and tough as most little boys on the inside. Her spicy attitude assures me she is going to be strong and independent. She will try almost anything without hesitation and is as resilient as they come. Cliff-notes explanation: Emersyn is my brave and courageous kid.
So where does that put you Logan? It drives me crazy that I do not know.
Last year we decided that your favorite food was Italian and that we would eat it in honor of you on your birthday each year. This year we decided your favorite color was yellow - like a sunflower of course. Your cousins agreed that you didn’t really like traditional cake but preferred the ice cream variety. As a result, your Papa and Uma bought you one this year. Looks like our tradition is growing. Your Aunt Kelley said you definitely loved ducks and Macho Man Randy Savage. That one makes me laugh and certainly would have made for an interesting combo of bedroom decor. But hey, kids are weird so it sounds good to me.
We are slowly putting you together and there is healing in that, but in all honesty, I will not know you the way I desire to until Heaven. The reality of that just sucks. Sometimes I wonder how I will even know it is you. And then I remember my heart is tethered to yours and I’ll know simply because you are mine. Your heart grew inside of me … how silly to think I would not recognize it. In the words of Nancy Tillman, “I’d know you anywhere, my love.”
And then this evening an actual piece of you became suddenly clear to me. Almost as if God gave me a small and unexpected gift as the day came to a close. God built Walk With Me around YOU. He is a master designer who is intentional with His every move. Nothing is ever wasted or without reason. WWM is a part of YOU and pieces of you are mirrored throughout it. It’s so obvious in this moment that I can’t believe it took this long to realize.
You are a defender, an advocate and a guardian.
It is echoed in the organization crafted all around you. You stand up for those who cannot stand on their own. Your heart hurts for the hurting. You Logan, are my kid that PROTECTS. Finally … a real piece of you I can hold on to. Thank you God for this small and priceless gift. I definitely needed it today.
I asked Sullivan what he thought you did today. His response? “I think he blew me a kiss.” You know what? I bet he was right. He also told me to tell you, “I love you so so much.” Emersyn was more concerned with your birthday dessert selection, but she loves you too. She has actually been sleeping with your bear and carrying it around like a prize everywhere she goes.
Make sure to keep an eye out for Papa. I’m still hopeful we get him longer down here because the thought of him leaving breaks me into a thousand pieces. But at least if we cannot have him … you can.
Happy Birthday Logan … my protector and world changing kid … you are the absolute delight of my heart.
Love you to the moon and back,