I sometimes pause when I go to write or say Cale's age. Because is it a would be age? A should be? A could have been? I guess it's all those things and I want whatever I say to convey how much it absolutely sucks that whatever I say, would/should/could, all those imply that his age is not referred to in the present tense. He will never be. A six year old, a kindergartner. A growing, thriving, living boy.
Six feels hard. They are all hard in their own way. But six somehow feels heavier to me than five did. Maybe it's because he would/should/could be off to kinder in the fall, or maybe it's because Miles and I unfortunately (and yet somewhat surprisingly) aren't together for his birthday - the first time we haven't been. Miles is attending a course out of state right now, but the other weekend when he was home we went out for dinner and talked about what we wanted to do on Cale's birthday. I mentioned that I didn't really expect him to do anything other than think about him and miss him and he gave me a little shrug and with glossy eyes said, "yeah, but I don't need a day to do that." It was a simple thing he said, but one that will stick with me and reminded me how lucky I am to have him as a partner through the thick, complicated, beautiful grief that we both still carry.
His birthday is always one for reflection, but it's true that I don't really miss him any more today than I do every day. I think his birthday is like ripping off a band aid on a wound that never heals.
I hired a sitter to come over this morning so I could go for a run. I wanted to run six miles for Cale's sixth and was glad to not have much pain from an off and on injury I've been dealing with of late. Plus it was nice just to have the time to myself. I'm so grateful for the needy little brother and sister who are jumping all over me as I type this, but it's nice to just have some time to get lost in my own thoughts and memories for a bit.
After my run I took the kids to the beach and once I wrap up this blog we will decorate some birthday cookies that Finn helped me bake yesterday. Finn has been so sweet about Cale's birthday saying some pretty funny things throughout the day, such as when he asked me if the guys on horses were going to bring Cale a birthday gift. I had no clue what he was talking about so said, "I don't know buddy, what do you think?" and he replied, "I think they will because they brought baby Jesus gifts on his birthday." Ahhhh, right. The wise men. Maybe we need to revisit the details of that particular story, but I love how his little brain connected things. He also said that Cale died and is in Heaven, then paused and excitedly said, "he's in outer space!"
As always, the love and the thoughts and prayers are appreciated so much. Miles suggested that this year we donate to The Birthday Party Project which helps give birthday parties to children in homeless and domestic abuse shelters. Additionally, we've had some really sweet gestures done in honor of Cale and it is really comforting to know there is so much beauty and kindness sent out on the world because of him.
Thank you for missing him with us and thank you for the birthday love.