Yesterday was Jim's birthday. A year ago on his birthday, a bunch of his friends, Marley, and I met up for dinner. Not even three months removed from his passing, we tried to celebrate, but mostly we were just sad. As his birthday approached this year, I put a lot of thought into how I wanted Marley and I to celebrate Jim's birthday from here on out. Jim loved birthdays so much...
I want it to be a day for her to be happy
and remember her daddy.
So, after school we headed to the store to buy some balloons and birthday cake. Marley was just sure that we needed four balloons~ one for me to let go, two for her, and one to keep at home, just for fun. We both wrote notes...
...and headed to the cemetery to send notes off to Daddy in Heaven. I just love her precious notes so much! She came up with them both on her own (because ONE just wasn't enough!), and she told me what to write so that she could trace the words.
Once we got to the cemetery, she just could not contain her excitement at taking the balloons out of the Jeep
and sending them skyward.
She squeeled and giggled as they headed off.
At first they dipped down low over the newly-planted field and I was afraid that they would get snagged up in the trees in the distance. Then right at the last second, an updraft sent them soaring high into the sky. We watched until they were out of sight.
After that we went back to Jim's stone and chatted about his picture on the stone and the crocus' we had planted there last fall.
Right about then, one of Jim's childhood friends showed up, two beers in hand. We hadn't planned to meet there, but I was so relieved to see him.
He'd come to "have a beer with Jim".
I helped Jim drink some of his.
We hugged and cried and talked for a bit while Marley ran around with the happy abandon only a child can possess, smiling over the pictures on the stones, the flowers, and just how FAST she can run. At one point she climbed up on the foundation of Jim's stone and traced the etching of his face.
"Oh Daddy, I miss you, Daddy."
After a bit, we headed back to our vehicles and went our separate ways, Jim's beer perched for now beside his stone.
Once we got back home, we were treated to an incredible grilled steak dinner, courtesy of Jim's oldest nephew. Wow, can he cook!
After that, it was time for
Next, a little bit of playing with her balloon, a quick shower, and off to bed for Marley.
She's been making a big deal out of being my daughter. I don't know if she's just just figuring out what that word means, but she kept telling me over and over that she's my daughter.
And Daddy's daughter.
I love this little girl with
Throughout the day, I heard from friends and family...calling, emailing, FaceBook, texting. I'm not going to lie- this year Jim's birthday had some rough spots for me.
But it was also the start of a beautiful tradition of joy and remembering...
...with my daughter.