I Can’t Believe You Would Be Six
I’m spending another one of my daughter’s birthdays celebrating the life she lived, rather than celebrating her turning another year older.It is hard to imagine that Mila Rose would be a six year old. I try to imagine her chubby toddler hands as the big-girl hands that they would be now. I wonder if her big blue eyes would have darkened or stayed the way I knew them to be. And if those perfect curls would have stuck around.
More than anything I wish that I knew what six year old girls love now. All the trends and tv shows and YouTube videos. I wish that I was picking out special presents and going wild with whatever party theme she picked out this year. I wish I was sitting at the dining room table helping her fill out the invitations that she would give all of her classmates-because she would be in school with all new school friends this year. I wish I could help her pick out her clothes and fix her hair in the mornings for school. I wish I was listening to her little voice read me her favorite book all by herself.
I bought her cake today, this year it is a big cookie cake with blue and pink and purple icing and sprinkles. I asked the lady in the bakery to write “Happy 6th Birthday Mila” in pink icing, while only one chunky baby boy sat in my basket. I wondered if she could read it on my face that it wasn’t an easy request to make. That to say it out loud made me long for my child to be with me even more. I almost blurted out some semblance of “she passed away almost three years ago” to push through my awkwardness. Something that let her know that I wasn’t crazy for being sad in line at the Walmart bakery, that this cake wouldn’t be going to the normal kind of birthday party. No, this cake is going to a cemetery-to a beautiful castle stone where a few of the people who loved my girl the most are coming to celebrate her little life and what we wish it could still be. We are filling pink balloons with helium to let them float into the sky, for her. It’ll be sad and the stories told about her will be both beautiful and hard to swallow. It will be special, because visiting her and hearing her name always is.
The truth is I cannot imagine not celebrating all of her birthdays to come. She deserves this celebration. Mila was the one that made me a mama, she came in and flipped my world upside down. I swear I had no idea what love was until that tiny baby girl was laid on my chest. She was my first true love, and my biggest heartbreak. She gave me more love in the three years that she was mine, than I had ever known.
She came 2 weeks early, in a February snow storm. The drive to the hospital was so slow and from the time I was in the room it went so fast that I wasn’t able to get the epidural properly. I pushed that sweet baby out in ten minutes, and although I hadn’t planned it that way we had a perfect natural birth.
Maybe Mila was preparing me for the unexpected, from the beginning she showed me that life doesn’t always go as planned and that you can still survive it. The biggest lesson my daughter ever taught me is that I am stronger than what I ever thought I could be. Stronger than I ever wanted to have to be for sure.