We made it.
Another birthday has come and gone.
We spent the weekend in a way that I thought you would enjoy: Eating junk food, watching movies, and visiting you up in the mountains.
It's strange how I've come to think of your birthday as almost my Widow New Year. Even though other milestones have happened since the anniversary of your death, I always think of your birthday as the beginning of the next year of milestones.
And now we've celebrated our 5th birthday without you.
Hard to believe, isn't it?
So much has changed.
She's so beautiful and independent. Today when we threw rocks in the stream, she broke off from the two younger ones, ready to do her own thing. I guess that's something I should start preparing myself for. Creative, smart, and never one to give in to the girl drama at school...I know you'd be pretty damn proud of her.
He's so smart...half the time I don't even understand the questions he's asking so I'm completely ill-prepared to give him the answer (Google-ing has become an every night activity). I know he wishes he had the parent around who would help him take things apart to see how they work...rather than the one who sighs with impatience at the mess he's created. Sweet, mellow, and the kid who has most of the moms at school saying to their sons, "Ask him over for a play date"...I have a feeling part of his brilliance later in life will be quietly creating trouble and not getting caught. Just like his dad.
And her. The one you got to know the least. Fierce. Funny. Fiercely funny. Her personality matches that wild head of hair and she insisted that she wear her pink cowgirl boots today. She's in ballet now, but I have a feeling that it won't be too long before she discovers that she can't be contained in a light pink leotard and tights. She's already passed all of her requirements for school this year and spends a lot of her time socializing and making a little mischief. Sound familiar?
And me? How am I doing?
Well, this year was easier than last. There was less fear of your birthday looming before me and not as many tears. I think I've spent more time recently looking ahead than glancing behind. Life has had its hiccups, as life does, but they haven't derailed me as they would have in the past.
Going to the cemetery on your birthday will never be something I get used to and every year I wish we weren't doing it. I brought you your usual beer and the kids stared at me and laughed as I toasted your headstone, took a sip, and then poured the rest on you.
It makes me feel good that they are learning that grieving in an unconventional way is sometimes the best way to go.
As I took the pictures today, I couldn't help but wonder what was the point.
But then I realized I wanted to pretend, just for a second, that I was coming home to show you pictures of the kids and let you in on what we're up to.
And I guess in a way that's what I'm doing.
But in my heart I hope that you're always with us.
And that you already know.