It's late, dark and quiet. I should be asleep - Bundle seems to think I'm getting altogether too much sleep lately and she's doing what she can to remedy the situation. Her siblings are pitching in. But that's beside the point. I'm up and enjoying the quiet darkness because it gives me a chance to, well, think, frankly. And ponder. And reminisce.
Yesterday, I can hardly believe, was the fourth anniversary of baby Matthew's passing and birth. Time is such a funny thing. It makes things so far away and so close all at the same time, and I can't decide if it feels more like hours or decades since we lost him. It's interesting how peaceful Troy and I feel, how happy we are to celebrate the wonderful part Matthew plays in our lives, and yet May 5th always puts me in a funk. It's like I have a little link I can open any time that takes me back to that day as if it were the present, and not the quickly lenthening past. I can feel just what I felt that day, and it always rocks me a little. It's okay. I am actually happy to still be able to totally emotionally connect with that day, even if it is kind of tough.
I am happy this year because I feel like I was able to celebrate just the way I wanted to. In years past I have felt much more of a desire for quiet contemplation, which the kids seem to make an absolute impossibility. It's hard to remember that despite their youth they feel the impact of the day as well and seem to express it by going somewhat berserk. But this year, after a busy busy day, which I knew we could not avoid, we had family alone time all evening long. We picked up some yummy dinner and took it to the park where the kids had such a wonderful time just running, swinging, romping and basically getting completely filthy. It felt like a celebration of the life that we are living, of the children that we're so blessed to have.
After the park we headed to the party store and each picked out a balloon in order to send our traditional notes to Matthew via helium. This year's collection of colors was quite eccelectic. Dark blue for Troy, shimmery light green for me, I think a turquoise for Bundle which she actually did pick out herself. Bitty picked a blue balloon printed with a baby motif, and Stomper picked an electric green with black tiger stripes. Every year we seem to have trouble getting all our balloons successfully launched. We seem to get at least two stuck in the trees in our back yard. We contemplated perhaps choosing a different location with fewer trees but at this point Troy and I felt that we had to take on the challenge of our back yard, and it was a close call. After writing our notes, always a very tender and therapeutic exercise for me, we took the tactic of securing our papers not at the end of the long strings but close to the balloon and then trimming the strings. I let mine go first. It went straight into the trees, but due to our very wise trimming of the string, did not get tangled permanently and eventually caught the breeze and floated heavenward. Mine was the only near miss, and we cheered as our colorful bouquet made its way into the sky.
I love how it's been long enough now that there has been some progression with the note writing. Stomper was so excited to write his and he did it, all on his own. I don't know what he wrote. I'm so curious, but it's his private message to his brother so I didn't even ask. Even Bitty this year could write her note herself, though she asked for much spelling help. Maybe next year Bundle will want to send a message as well.
Finally, after Troy and I tucked our tired babes into their beds, we had chance to do my other favorite thing we do every year. We sit on the couch together and read over every single card and letter we receieved regarding Matthew, look at the pictures I took of flowers we were sent, and look at our memorabilia from the hospital. It is extremely tender and as much as I feel the difficult things from that day I also feel the extreme love and support that surrounded us. It ended up being such a special day.