I am planning a birthday party. I am marking the sixteenth birthday of my oldest son. As I plan his special day, my entire family tiptoe’s around the elephant in the room. We will not be planning any birthdays for my daughter, Lily. We lost our angel and on days like this, when we celebrate life, we understand the importance of marking these special occasions. Events that affirm life should not be taken for granted. Always before, birthday parties were just something we tried to get through. They were these hectic, frantic events we wanted to make fun for the kids. As adults, we just wanted them over. But now I shall relish every moment. I will make (with my own little hands) my son’s favorite, Red Velvet birthday cake. I will dance and sing and eat birthday cake. I will enjoy all the Life around me. I will memorize every expression on his face. I will hug and kiss his beautiful face until he begs me to stop. I will thank God for the opportunity to bask in the warmth of his life and see his smile.
I will never plan a party for Lily. I will never bake her a cake. I will never blow out her birthday candles. And so, I will make the most of all I have. I will remember the birthdays that have gone before. I will revel in the life and love of all those I hold dear. And as we blow out the candles on my son’s cake I will whisper the name of my Lily. I will let her name be carried on the wind of our wishes. And as my son makes his birthday wish (for a PS-3), I will be making my own wish. I will be lifting him up in prayer; asking God to grant him many, many more birthdays.