I hate this fact yet I love it at the same time. I hate the fact that she makes us better peopleby the tragedy she faced, but I love her and the way she makes our lives mean more. I have come to terms that my life from this point on will always feel a little mixed up and contradictory. But I am learning Joy and sorrow can co-exist.
This week we have a big milestone coming up. It’s our Emilea’s birthday. No it’s not double digits. Still not at teenage years. Won’t be driving yet. And can’t vote. It isn’t a milestone birthday like most think 10, 13, 16, 18, 21. Nope it’s 9. But to us birthdays are big—real big. They always were. But now they are just even more special. The reality in our house is that birthdays aren’t guarantees. It will never be “just another year”. Our family now realizes that another year is not promised. So we choose to celebrate. I don’t want to say bigger. Because that isn’t what Melina taught us. We celebrate special.
We have come to value the goodness in our lives. They say when you have seen the greatest darkness you see the light so much brighter. And I couldn’t agree more. That is my survival. Those bright moments help keep you fighting. So we focus on those bright lights. We focus on those friendships, on the ones who love us most. The ones who never stop showing up. We focus on the cake and the sprinkles because well it’s your birthday so why not. Ice cream, cake, and candles. Trust me we sing big. Because the one thing our Melina taught us is even if you can’t hit a note go big and no one questions it. So I will always sing in tears praying she shows up in a reflection so her sister knows she is right there. I will sing because I can take a deep breath and know we got to nine, and I will never take a moment of that time for granted. And I will cry knowing that one is always missing and somehow never made it past four.
But in the end we focus on the love. I watch the Joy as Emilea is surrounded by the friends and family that love her big. I pray she feels it. I pray she knows how amazing she is. I pray she knows that she has survived a trauma that alters people. And she has done it with grace. I pray she knows how big her NINE years on this Earth have been. And how much bigger everyday from here on out will be. I pray she knows that we love her so big. And that this is a day to celebrate just her and the fact that she is one of my greatest miracles forever.
So this Thursday as we continue to blow out the candles, I will thank you Melina for making it that much more sweet. Thank you for reminding me that milestones are always brutal without you. But the Joy never leaves. You my sweet baby always make me better.