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