It’s been two months today since we celebrated Caleb’s 8th birthday.
Once upon a time, on a family blog I used to keep, that would have been how this post started. Instead, references to Bub’s birthday will always include “what would have been his __ birthday” and that makes my heart hurt. It sucks even more that my kiddos can’t celebrate a birthday without thinking of him and how old he’d be in relation to their age. Some of them still struggle at the thought of getting older while he isn’t. One of those milestone struggles we deal with and get through.
The milestones are what’s been causing me to struggle lately. Somewhere, in the recesses of my mind, I’ve been keenly aware of this year. Yet, I haven’t really let it register. It still hasn’t, but it’s starting to.
This is the year that our baby girl will become older than her big brother ever was.
On the 26th of this month, we will celebrate my Snug’s 3rd birthday. On that day, she will have officially been alive one day longer than Bub.
And I’m terrified.
What if something happens to her?
What if something happens to me?
Do we have a party this weekend? But if something happens, people will say she was 3 when she wasn’t just because we had a party.
Do we wait until the weekend after? But if something happens, then again I have presents left ungifted and my fear wins.
What if I can’t get my PTSD bull in check?
What if we don’t get there?
What if we do?
My mind won’t turn off. I’ve been constantly battling to keep rational thought at the forefront of my mind. I snuggled her this morning and breathed in each coarse curl on her sweaty head like it could be the last time and rational told me I was being ridiculous, but experience tells me I’m not because we never know what will happen.
I’ve had to check myself the last few days. I had a wakeup call over the weekend that I can’t make everyone happy and I shouldn’t try because it’s okay to say no sometimes. We should say no sometimes. I’ve been in overdrive with the “it’s not a big deal” thought process in trying to please those around me. I’ve been trying to be all the things, in all the ways, for everyone. When I failed, I fell apart. I’ve been an absolute wreck. Everything makes me cry. Everything makes me worry. Sleeping and eating have eluded me.
Then, in cry texting it out with a friend, it finally all clicked.
My PTSD has been rearing it’s ugly head in a big way lately (see above thought questions). I needed to be happy, understanding, agreeable, kind, willing, patient, and giving to fulfill everyone’s wants and needs because I’ll never be able to bring Bub back, so I’ve been trying to do everything else. I needed to be heard, understood, and validated because I didn’t when my son died.
And now his sister is almost 3 and I again have presents stashed away and every time I see them or the closet they’re hidden in or the date or her or the stores I bought them at or open my eyes in the morning or close them at night my breath catches for a moment at the thought that we might not get there.
Or we might.
It’s all like waiting for her to be born after Caleb’s death and the subsequent miscarriage all over again, but on steroids. Thanks to therapy tools, listening ears, loving kids, and the most patient, understanding, and forgiving husband ever, I’m finally reeling it in.
Tonight, I left the dishes half done to watch a movie with my boys when asked. I scolded my kiddo who teased a sibling and reminded her to always be someone who laughs with people and not at them. I pondered more my daily counsel to my kids to be safe and make good choices. I laughed with my toddler as we played chase with my love. I tended my flu stricken teen. I listened to and counseled my oldest over struggles with friends. I smiled as my love ran the bedtime routine with baby Snug while I tucked in the girls upstairs.
And my breath only caught a little. It caught at the beauty of it all, of them all. I remembered what it feels like to have faith and live life intentionally. To intentionally be present and put my faith and trust in God. He carried me through hell before, I just needed to remember he’s still walking beside me now.