Madox was born at the end of March. He was suppose to be an April baby but he was just too eager to join our family. He was tiny but full of life. He clung to me right from the beginning. We didn’t know it at the time, but we needed those 2 1/2 extra weeks to enjoy him a little more.
Madox should have turned 14 years old this year. It has been 5 years since we last celebrated a birthday with him. That doesn’t even sound right. 5 years? It’s a lifetime ago. 5 missed celebrations. 5 missed blowing out the candles. 5 missed notches on the height board. Five. Really hard to grasp. We will forever wonder what gifts he would have requested. What cake he would have asked me to bake. Where he wanted to go for dinner. Things we all take for granted and don’t think twice about. These simple things we dismiss in life, I now yearn for. It keeps me up at night wondering. Wishing. Longing.
Instead we continue traditions we started after Madox died. We go out for a pancake breakfast on his birthday, to keep happy memories alive. Pancakes were Madox’s goto when we went out for breakfast. Looking across the table and not seeing Madox is always difficult to swallow. We try to treat a family to breakfast who are in the restaurant, in honour of Madox. Valin usually helps choose which family we treat, but this year my eyes stayed focused on two littles sitting near us. I think they are twins, enjoying the morning with their mom, dad and extended family. I smile at the sweet little girl sitting by her daddy, walking around in her socks. Then my eyes focus on the little boy. He was wearing a superhero shirt and piling up the creamers into a stack. That instantly brought me back to many days watching Madox and Valin do the same thing when we were at a restaurant. I knew instantly this would be the family this year. This small gesture of buying a family breakfast makes me smile, yet so important. It helps me honour Madox, even if it is small. My only hope for the family we choose in turn, appreciates their kids, their life just a little more. Sometimes we lose that with how busy we all get with our lives and the world.
The other tradition we continue to do is meet at Madox’s plot with family. We all solemnly sing happy birthday, eat birthday cake, and release blue balloons. This always pulls at my heart watching the balloons fade away, up up up into the sky. I hate this tradition but need it to feel we have celebrated Madox. My emotions are everywhere.
We have been doing this for 5 years. How can it be 5 years already? Wasn’t he just diagnosed? Weren’t we just living in the hospital by his bedside? Wasn’t it just yesterday we were begging the world to take us instead of him? 5 years. Looking back, I don’t know how we survived these 5 years. It has been a difficult road. Many tears shed, sleepless nights, and silent screams. Sadly, we have many more years to celebrate Madox without him. Something we can never change. Something we will continue to do, as long as I live.
Wishing our sweet Madox a happy birthday. You are the light that completed our family. You are truly missed. We love you forever.