I've been reminded a lot this month how precious life is. My baby turned one, her life just beginning; and in the same breath, my grandma passed away, her beautifully full journey on this earth coming to an end. I walk through my days both celebrating and mourning. There are so many reminders of the life lost that stop me in my tracks, a punch in the gut. The pillow my Grams made us as kids that has now been passed from one crib to another in my house, awaiting one final crib. The ghost magnet my boys pilfered from her fridge one visit years ago that now oddly hangs on a pipe in the basement playroom, haunting our memories. The handwritten cookie recipe. The baby clothes she hand picked. The cat oven mitts she sewed years ago that now adorn the play kitchen, one look at them reminding me of the day I brought them home from her house. And all the other zillions of memories flooding my brain.
With the grief comes sadness, but then I watch my babies and I know my grandma's physical life on earth may have ended, but she's still with us. This new life brings me immense joy, and I like to think my grandma surrounds us daily as we continue on, plod through our days, trying to restore the balance without her constant presence in our lives.
My grandma wasn't well enough to make the drive to Jillian's birthday party, quite possibly the first party she's ever missed. But now as we celebrate these big moments in her absence, we will think of her and eventually smile without tears. She lived a long, full life and now it's our turn to follow in her footsteps.
Life is precious, indeed. And the year marker in my children's lives has always felt monumental to me. Jillian's big day was no exception. One night she went to bed my baby, and the next morning she woke up this big girl teetering on independence. The days zoom into years, and soon enough she will wake one morning a teenager.
We celebrated her birthday with a small gathering of family at our house. It was an intimate affair that had me smiling. Once the party goers left, my mom, sister and niece stayed for a sleepover.
In the midst of this heartache, my middle guy turned five. His party was pushed back a day because of the funeral arrangements, but it didn't phase my newly minted big boy. Five years with this boy. Hardly seems possible. His bigger than life personality lights our world. His imagination cannot be contained, nor would I dare try. This is the last year he's home with me and I'm struggling to acknowledge this so I can soak up each and every moment. We celebrated his big day with his first ever friend party at an indoor playground. The kids ran around, barely stopping for pizza, cake and presents. Then the parents came to fetch the kids and we realized just how easy it is to have parties at outside venues that are not our house.
Just yesterday I stood Ashton up against the giant growth ruler in the hallway and etched another notch. Five years worth of notches, with so many more left to leave their mark. One very precious life left us last week, but our lives here on earth go on. One foot forward, carrying our memories and the essence of Grandma Faye along with us as we continue to walk our path in life.