What else can I say except we miss him? We wish it was different. We wish he was here. I wonder what he would want for his birthday. How 1st grade went. Who his friends were. Would he be in baseball? Soccer? Computer games? Math? Music? Animals? He is still gone. What ifs will always linger. I don't beat myself up over them, but we all have them and he is a big one.
Seven. Years. Seems like such a big kid.
Those first few days, weeks are etched in my mind. The first year stumbling through our grief, then compounded with a miscarriage and, finally, getting pregnant again with Claudia.
That first trip away over his birthday, which set up traditions we still have in place today. Going to the angel statue. Eating cupcakes. Releasing a balloon. Taking a trip. Then, after the kids were born, going to build a bear and having them make something in honor of their big brother.
I find so much comfort in these traditions. I am already stressed out about his 8th birthday. Claudia will start kindergarten and will be in school. But his birthday falls at the end of the school year, it will be hard to be gone 3 or 4 days at the end of the school year, when class parties and performances happen. The last 7 years it hasn't been a problem. And we can go in the middle of the week when it is cheaper. Maybe the trip will no longer happen. We will do our family vacation a different time.
Traditions will have to change. Sure, we can go to the angel still, the kids won't outgrow build-a-bear for quite a few more years...but it will change. With that comes uncertainty which I find very unsettling. I am already stressed out about something 12 months away, simply because I find so much comfort in the traditions we have built for him.
We have built so many traditions for Cole and Claudia that take place throughout the year. The Easter countdown. The Valentine picnic. Christmas tree cutting. Gingerbread house party. July 4th outfits. Birthday celebrations. It is nice to have traditions for Curtis too. Traditions I can say "this is for him. AND for us."
But, here is the thing I need to remember. As Curtis would have grown, traditions or events would have changed as he would have grown. Eventually we won't go see Santa anymore with Cole and Claudia. Eventually making little gingerbread houses with the kids will stop. They won't humor mom in matching jammies. They won't want to do an Easter countdown activity each day.
But it is hard. It will be hard when Cole and Claudia outgrow these traditions and it will be hard on me when we no longer are able to experience Curtis' birthday the way we have for 7 years.
That first year it was just Craig and I, we went to Lutsen and had a peaceful day, trip together. The following year I remember how thrilled we were to bring Claudia with us.
It just feels like with each year, the "older" he is getting, the farther away he is from us...well it just feels like it is slipping away and I am afraid to see these traditions go by the way side. It is hard on a mom without her son. That's all.
It always will be.
We did have a wonderful trip away. The weather, for the first time in a few years we beautiful. We got to spend a lot of time outside. In fact, we were so thrilled with the weather we ran around like crazy people trying to do as many touristy things in Wisconsin as possible. The main thing, we had a blast. The kids were great and had fun as well.
Us 4 at the angel statue
The kids with the Angel
Angel with flowers for baby Abbey, baby Ethan, baby Aaron and baby Curtis. We put 4 flowers in her hands every year in honor and memory of some special babies that passes away around the same time (Ethan being a year earlier)
We lay 4 flowers on Curtis' 3 bricks (one from each of us)
Releasing his balloon
At Build a bear with their new friends
My big kindergartener :(
On a duck boat tour, they let Claudia drive!
At the deer park, the deer loved Craig :)
Me and my cuties downtown Wisconsin Dells