I only allow myself to do this once, one time a year. One time and not on her actual day. I am allowed to cry. I am allowed to just get it all out. I can have my fit, wash my face and move on and celebrate. But it seems like August 27th every year is the day I just want to punch life in the face.
I know the gifts I have been given. I thank God every day for another day with Lily. Always.
But birthdays are hard. And friends… 16. 16 is like a punch in the gut.
16 is the year I always seemed to referenced when I would think of the nevers. It always seemed to be more focused on the big things. Driving, boyfriends, prom, college visits… gah. The place we expected and the place we are now.
We went camping this weekend. If you know me that is not a sentence that flows freely from my mouth. I like the outdoors. Actually I love the outdoors. I just don’t like the sleeping in them and I certainly don’t like being the mom of all the people needing to be feed. We had such a wonderful day sitting in the flowing creek enjoying the weather and water and having such a great time. Then they all started to get hungry and I was like why is no one offering uber eats out here?
But anyway it’s weekends like this where our families uniqueness really stands out and I am grumbling half the time at how difficult it all is. I did give myself a time out and made myself breath and not be a joy sucker and thank God I was able to turn the ship around. And we actually really had a nice time this weekend.
But our sweet Lily, did she? I don’t know. She had some tummy troubles and I hate to post that about her since it’s embarrassing but she went through about 8 diapers Saturday, all blow outs. Messes everywhere. Changing her in the dirt near a creek. Changing her in a small camper where 8 of us were staying. The smell was tough to handle but the kids knew better than to complain about it. We don’t mess with Lily. She can’t help it, do not say it stinks. It’s a rule.
Getting her down to the water was a lot of jiggling her around and physical work on Andrew’s part but I know he would do it any day, all day and we do think she enjoyed the serene spot in the shade.
We had planned another swim day on Sunday but when it came down to it, our energy tanks were empty and nothing sounded better than home sweet home.
Had we had kids able and ready to hop in and out of the car themselves we probably would have spent the day there. Had I not had to worry about special meals and medication for Lily maybe bringing food for everyone else would be easier for me to manage.
Worrying about poop is an honest fear now. I am prepared now wherever we go. But being prepared and dealing with it are two different things.
I just find myself exhausted and I hate that. I hate that a family vacation is just not the same for us. It just isn’t. And I get jealous of those who it is. And I am not a jealous person.
I think of Lily with maybe just one tiny piece of her DNA that went right and I think of that Lily. Would she have been annoyed with all of us this weekend. Would she have demanded we spent her birthday weekend doing something different. Would we have been practicing for her drivers test. Would we be watching her play volleyball, or dance or acting on stage. Would she have been studying for a test because she takes her academics seriously. Would she hate us for a billion reasons. I would rather the silent treatment than a life time of silence.
I would have rather slammed doors literally than all the figurative ones we knew were shut for good.
16 is so close to adulthood. So much stretching and growing and learning and figuring things out to eventually spread your wings to fly.
But Andrew and I are doing a delicate dance with God pleading not to outlive her but also not for her to outlive us. Who else would love and care for her like us.
These thoughts are dark and I would rarely ever say them out loud but I think them and maybe it’s my job to put light on them.
I am an easy going, happy go lucky woman. I feel I was given a beautiful gift of being easy going. I love that part of me. And I can usually make a joke on a whim about anything and most especially when things are hard. That’s when I do my best work. But today. Today it’s Monday, I’m up way before everyone and it’s still dark. My coffee is good and the silence is welcoming. My heart is aching a little bit and I am going to choose to tend to it. I am going grieve my losses. I am going to cry my tears and I am going to finish my coffee, wash my face and go wake up my beautiful 15 year old on her last day of being 15 and get her ready for school and say her morning prayers and fix her gorgeous hair and kiss her and send her on her way to school. I will be thankful for the gift of being able to serve her today and every day I get the opportunity.
I know she is my gift. Every day. Even and especially on August 27th.