And we know that in all things God works for the good of those that love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Approaching Kinley's Birthday

I'm so quickly approaching Kinley's first birthday and my feelings and emotions are rising daily! My experience so far has been that the build-up to the holidays and "tough" days has been much worse than the day itself. Usually there's a day about two or three days before the big day that I completely fall apart. So far, I've been "home" for all of those days and either Megan and Brenna or Destiny and Cayden have stepped in to be there for me by coming over and not only listening, but providing a distraction. This time, I'm here in Knoxville, and to large extent, I'm alone. I've been trying so hard to prepare myself for that day and to remind myself of all the good that's come from us having Kinley. But no matter how much I focus on the good, the bad is still there!!

I'm now ten days from her birthday and I'm finding my mind wandering so much to the "could have beens" and "should have beens". I should be planning a birthday party, but instead I'm trying to figure out what to do to celebrate an event that doesn't warrant celebration. I'm trying to navigate what's appropriate for the situation and how to best honor Kinley. I find myself wondering, if she can look down from heaven and see me, would she want me to celebrate, to mourn, or to let the day pass without doing either? A large part of me wishes we could just let it slip by without drawing any attention to it. But the Mom in me knows that she deserves more than that. I know that I'd feel guilty if I didn't do something. So I'm going to combine celebration and mourning. That's the best that I can do!

Brenna asked me the last time I was home if we could give her any presents for her birthday. She wanted to send them up to heaven with a balloon. I told her we really couldn't do that, but that we could draw her a picture and write her a letter and send that to heaven with a balloon. She said "Well when we go to heaven or she comes back here, or whichever one happens, I'll give her some of my toys for her birthday." I told her that was really sweet of her. In true Brenna fashion, she followed with "well I'll give her the ones I don't play with anymore and I don't want!" (Hey, she's wise beyond her years, but she's still 3!!) But the point is, I think we'll use Brenna's idea and at least send her pictures tied to balloons. I'm also trying to find an idea for how to give a gift that would honor Kinley's life.

For now, the plan is to meet at Kinley's gravesite on her birthday, Friday September 24th. We'll spend some time writing letters and drawing pictures for her, and then tie them to balloons to be sent to her in heaven. We'll sing "Happy Birthday" through our tears and let the balloons go at the end of the song. Then I'll spend the rest of the evening with my family eating pizza and celebrating the mark that she made on our hearts and in our lives. Her first steps may be in heaven, but her first footprint is on my heart!

And I'm still left thinking...."Has it really been a year?"

By the way, if you feel like Kinley has touched your life and you want to celebrate her brief time on this earth, you're welcome to join us at the gravesite that evening. The plan is to meet there at 6:30 Friday evening. She's buried at St. Boniface cemetery, in the Baby Land toward the back of the cemetery. If you plan to come, please send me an email or comment on this post to let me know so that I'm sure I have enough balloons. I'll also have plenty of paper and markers to make the cards/letters. If you can't be there, feel free to send your own balloon to heaven. Be sure to let me know if you do!!

"I thank my God every time I remember you." Phillipians 1:3

"But Jesus called to him, saying, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God." Luke 18:16


  1. definitely seems like a year in some ways and in others it seems like that cannot be right. Wow, she must be a one great big joy up there, little princess that she is. I wonder if she's learning to dribble a soccer ball yet....sigh, there are still days it pierces so deep huh. its so so so not fair, but we also cannot wait to honor her on her special day and send up all the gifts we just dont need anymore...hahaha. jk. but we will for sure be there. love ya, love her

  2. I know her birthday is fast approaching and I'm certain that she's a ray of sunshine in heaven and can't help but think she looks like you some, Erica, as you ran to aunt Ti Ti and said, "Catch me Ti Ti, Catch me." We can do some catching up there one day when we get the opportunity to play with her in that heavenly city. And that day will come. Oh what Joy we will feel just to see that precious face again.
    Love you and Jacob so much, Mamaw

  3. Is it crazy that I have been dreading this post...and all the emotions that I know you are being flooded with?? I sit here tears many words to say...simply you! The days leading up seem unbearable the closer it gets, but somehow the day comes and goes, and we survive. We will def be there to wish Kinley a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  4. Thanks Meg, your post made me cry bc Jacob and I almost always get babies a soccer ball for their first birthday. I hope someone gives her one in heaven!

    Grandma, I think she looks like me too! I sure can't wait to see for myself!

    Destiny, I knew I could count of you to be there!!! I too have been dreading this post and trying to decide how soon was too soon to bring up the fact that it was coming! It's dominating my thoughts and I couldn't put it off much longer!! We love you guys!!!

  5. You are a wonderful mommy, Erica.

  6. Oh Erica... I simply can not read your blogs without completely falling apart. You write what my heart aches to recognize and say. You have been in my thoughts so much, as you approach Kinley's birthday. And I know God will lift you and Jacob on that day and surround you with his amazing love. I am already anxious as I know our day will be here before we know it. What a wonderful way to celebrate, recognize, and mourn Kinley's short life...and I know she is looking down from heaven, smiling at what a great mother you are. Lots of love.

  7. Erica and Jacob~we can't be there with you on Friday but you can sure count on us to sing Happy Birthday and send a balloon up to Heaven for Kinley from our family, here in Evansville. The girls can't wait to color special pictures for her to hang in her bedroom of gold! We love you guys and send you our hugs. Love, Johnna, Patrick, Madelyn and Natalie

  8. Katie, you should stop reading my blog until Baby Sparks arrives safely!! :) I feel guilty making you emotional at this point!!! But thanks for your thoughts and prayers!

    Johnna, thank you so much!!!! I can't even tell you how much it blesses me to know that you care enough to celebrate with us (even all the way from Evansville)! We love you!!

  9. Again I want to tell you, Erica,you are a great mommy to Kinley. I believe the post that had the statement, "The picures will decorate her bedroom of gold, was totally from the Lord, to you Erica. A word of comfort from the Lord to you, her mom.
    Will be praying for you especially this upcoming week. Hugs! Cindy