Happy Birthday, Ellie.

I was going to write a post for Ellie's birthday tomorrow...on her birthday, but to be honest, the birthday days are pretty rough. And I can guarantee you I'll be poolside drinking a drink that has alcohol in it and eating good food and I can guarantee it because we planned it and it seems to be the best kind of way to spend these types of days. 

My mom even thought ahead and found a pink mixed drink to make..so that's about as festive as I'm going to get.

Sometimes I have felt guilty that I don't do more festive things on these days. In fact, last year I made a cake on Ellie's birthday that said "YAY HEAVEN" on it and then I felt really depressed and I cried.

But I definitely ate some cake. It was chocolate.

Before you get the idea that I drown my sorrows in alcohol and food, let me assure you that I'm relatively emotionally stable and I cry less than I used to. But those days. They hit hard.

To remember Ellie's day of birth is to remember how I tried to memorize what her movements felt in my womb that day...just in case she wasn't able to move outside of it. It is to remember the words of the NICU team as they rushed her to the corner of the operating room and attempted to sustain her life. Remembering her birthday is remembering the bright blue sheet that hung in my line of vision, blocking my eyes from my belly that would forever be marked with a scar from which she came.

It is remembering my best friend as she held her and spoke softly to her the way you would speak to any newborn, and having it feel so right until you realize it's just her physical body and her spirit has already left.

It is remembering the look of pure love on the face of my husband as he tells her she's so pretty and that he loves her.

It's spending those two terrible nights in the hospital without your child, aching to go home..only to realize that when you go home you will no longer be under the same roof as your baby..even though your baby isn't really there anymore.

You see, I want to be the mom who sends colorful balloons off into the distance, or who bakes cupcakes and adorns them with pink icing and the letters of her name. I want to talk about her and what I think she would be like and I want to find all of the creative ways to celebrate her short, but impactful life. 

But I'm not there. And that's okay. There is enough to deal with on these days to then have to sort through guilt and shame. Especially when I know that neither guilt nor shame are of the Lord. It is enough that I have been robbed of my girls in this life...it is enough.

I am thankful that I have family and friends who ask me what I want to do on these days and who don't judge me when I say "I don't know," or "nothing."

I am thankful for my husband who understands simply by looking at my face what I'm feeling and what I need.

I am thankful for my son who is blissfully unaware of it all. Who will smile and laugh all day like he always does. Who will kiss my face and remind me that God sees.

Happy day of birth tomorrow, Ellie. I miss you more than you know.