How it's possible that five whole years have gone by since Matthew is beyond me. But somehow it's true. Five years.
It's a little tough when Matthew's birthday falls on a Saturday. It's not like life slows down or gives us a peaceful quiet day for us to celebrate and remember, so we have to kind of make room for it ourselves, which we did in the beautiful, cool and sunny afternoon. The kids and I made a cake - so cute - we asked them what kind of cake they thought Matthew would like. Stomper started out by stating that it had to have whipped cream and strawberries, Bitty quickly followed up with deciding that it had to be chocolate AND vanilla cake, then Bundle topped it off by saying, "with SPRINKLES!" And so it was. We made it together and decorated it together. The kids and I went and picked out balloons like we always do and took them to the back porch to write our notes to Matthew.
Bundle, despite obviously not having an abstract understanding of our spirits and of heaven, didn't stop jabbering about "my other brother Matthew in heaven" for the entire day. And each of the kids wrote a note of their very own. Stomper never seems to forget Alex or his brother and wrote a sweet note to both of them, though it was brief. Bitty wrote a lengthy note expressing longing and tenderness. Bundle drew a picture and continued talking talking talking about Matthew. Then we let our balloons go and for the first time in five tries every single balloon made it on its heavenly flight.
After an evening out celebrating Cinquo de Mayo with good friends, we came home and tucked some very tired kids in bed. They were kind of manic all day as they are every year. They seem to enjoy celebrating and talking about Matthew, but are always beyond energetic as well. I've mentioned other years that Troy and I have a hard time finding time to do our own remembering because so much of the day is spent in the crazy energy of the kids. So of course Troy and I snuggled up on the couch after the kids were sleeping. We pulled out our Matthew box and tenderly remembered our May 5, 2007 by reading the letters and notes we received and looking at his one photograph.
Though the day is always a little painful it is also a day to really celebrate our wonderful little family, and we had a great time together. We bought a few extra balloons in case one got popped before we sent it with a note attached. We enjoyed doing helium-intake demonstrations for the kids with the extra balloons and making them giggle like crazy. We thoroughly enjoyed eating more cake than was good for us and licking all the bowls, whisks and spreaders involved. We just tried to enjoy each other all day long, and we thank Matthew for bringing that extra depth of gratitude to our family. We love you, sweet boy Matthew, and we want you to know that you are a blessing in our family.