June always starts out rough for me. My son’s birthday is June 2nd but for us, it isn’t as joyous occasion as it should be. He would have turned 6 this year, and this month we celebrated it for the 4th time without him. Every year, I dread the plans and try to avoid the emotional reaction whether it be positive or negative. Do we even make plans? Do we get him a gift? It’s all just too hard to deal with sometimes. That ends up biting me in the butt when it all sneaks up on me the day of.
This year my parents, sister, husband, and I got together at the cemetery for a picnic style celebration. Our great dane Ivy even enjoyed the day out there with us. Bringing her was more for the positive distraction than anything else. Luckily she behaved and gave everyone a little bit of dog therapy. I brought cupcakes for us to enjoy… even though they started to melt in the Sunday heat.
When my son was born I signed up for the Baby Center online newsletter. The kind that sends you emails with milestones your child should be tackling, health advice, developmental information all according to their age. As a new mom at the time I found it very helpful. After my son passed, I would still receive the newsletters in my email and would immediately delete them without even reading. But 3.5 years later I still have not been able to bring myself to unsubscribe myself from them. This month I received one titled “Your Big Kid This Week – Now we are 6”, and I opened it. Had tips about ‘what to do when your 6-year-old is teased about his height’ and ‘what to expect at your child’s annual checkup’. I wonder when I’ll get the courage to unsubscribe to the emails.
My son hadn’t yet fully understood the concept of gifts at birthdays and during holidays. During a gift exchange on the last Christmas we celebrated with him, he was amazed that everyone had presents not just him. He said to me excited and confused “happy birthday me?, happy birthday you mommy?”. I said “yes baby happy birthday me, and happy birthday you”. That’s how I remember him.
Another year behind us, and God willing many more to come. The rest of the summer provides a little bit of an emotional break, until my birthday comes along in August when I cross another milestone without him.