The month of February is just flying by. In less than a week, Luke's month will be over and Lily's month will be here. I have said this before, but as soon as a new year rolls around, it feels like a fog settles in on my heart until April arrives. It's emotionally draining to have Luke's and Lily's months back-to-back. It always feels like March is looming on the horizon as soon as January comes and I am bracing myself for what will come.
In three weeks from today, we will celebrate Lily's 3rd Birthday in Heaven. How can it have already been that long since I held her in my arms? Only three more weeks until she'd be 3?! She will have a Saturday birthday this year. Saturday birthdays are always special. The countdown in weeks begins and once March is here, the countdown in days will begin.
Last year, I mentioned that I felt a little bit of the birthday excitement and anticipation for Lily's special day. This year, I can honestly say that excitement has grown from what it was last year. And I am feeling it much sooner than last year. For the first two years after losing Lily, I dreaded March, but now I am excited for it. It's such a sacred time for me.
For Lily's first two birthdays, I was so consumed with grief that I didn't really plan much beforehand. I sort of winged it all last minute. But this year, I want to make her day really special and beautiful in her honor. Not that it wasn't for her 1st and 2nd birthdays, but I want to be more purposeful in my planning this year. I feel I am in a different place than I was last year and the year before. I have already been coming up with ideas for Lily's birthday, planning, and making a few purchases. This is the earliest I have ever done it. And honestly it's not that early - it just felt like it was really early until I realized how few days there really are left to get things together.
I can honestly say this year I feel more at peace about her month/day. I miss her more than words can say and I know it will be hard...but I also know it will be beautiful. A beautiful celebration of her beautiful LIFE. I am so thankful we have her birthday, a special day that's her very own to rejoice over her. I am thankful that March 16th will forever and always be my first-born's birthday. And I will celebrate it each year, no matter how much time passes. I am thankful that God has given me a joy in my heart when I think of a month that has brought me so much sorrow. I am thankful that so much joy can coexist with so much sadness. That is only Jesus. I am thankful that I can have that birthday anticipation for my sweet girl. I am thankful that I can plan and make it special. I am thankful I have others who wish to celebrate her life and legacy with me.
No, Lily is not here. But, she was still born on March 16th, 2010. She is still a beautiful life worthy of being celebrated.
My mother heart so longs to be planning a 3rd birthday party for my sweet girl. It is really hard to find things that are appropriate for a little girl's Heavenly Birthday celebration. I am constantly bombarded by things for a little birthday girl who lives on earth. There are so many things I see that I wish there was a need to get or make. So many outfits or things I see and I say, "if Lily were here, that is something I would like for her," or "if Lily were here, I'd like to have that for her party." I wish I was getting her gifts for her birthday, but instead I am getting memorial items for myself and my family. I wish there was some sort of website or store with birthday supplies for parties celebrating Heavenly babies. There just isn't a need for so many of the things that pop up when I search for birthday supplies. And it makes my heart heavy to see those things I will never need for her.
In my searching for items to make her day extra special, I was on Etsy and looked up birthday supplies - not anything to do with the name Lily, little girls, the month of March, or 3rd birthdays. And this picture came up in my search...
I just had to share it. Out of all names - Lily's. The same spelling, her 3rd birthday, and in March. It made my heart happy-sad. Things like this always seem to happen to me. It is hard when it happens, but also a sweet reminder that Jesus remembers my girl and her special day.
I wish I were preparing adorable birthday party invitations like in the photo to mail out to friends and family. And other little toddlers who would be Lily's friends. Little children I will never meet because she isn't here. But, there is no need for such invitations. At least not this year. Maybe at some point in the future, when I am ready, I will have a bigger "party" to celebrate her and I will get to have fun and come up with some sort of creative cards. But, not yet. This year, I plan on being with my family only on her day. That's what my heart needs. And I plan on seeing a few close friends at some point around her birthday. My mom and I also hope to have a special little get-together with our neighbor Joanna, who we are very close with now. It's crazy that her daughter shares a birthday with my daughter! She will be 10 this year. That means she turned 7 on the day Lily was born and we didn't even know it, even though she lives two houses down. For the past two years, we gave her a gift on her birthday. A few nights ago, we asked Joanna what Ashley might like for her birthday this year. She said we don't have to do that...and we know that. But, we enjoy doing it as a part of remembering our girl. This year it will be even more special because we have gotten close to their family. We are going to ask them if they want to do something with us in celebration of both Ashley and Lily.
Anyways...these are some of the special things I have planned. And I would love to hear any ideas you all might have for ways to honor and celebrate Lily's special day. What have you done in honor of your baby's special days?
-Have hashbrowns on March 14th (which was her due date, National Potato Chip Day. One of her nicknames was "Spud," and ironically the food I craved most during my pregnancy was hashbrowns.) :)
-Eat red-velvet cake (a tradition started on her 1st birthday because we had it at her Valentine's-themed baby shower).
-Eat at Cracker Barrel (my favorite restaurant - another tradition).
-Donate hospital comfort boxes to the hospital where Lily was born to be given to families who have lost a baby.
-Everyone wear pink and brown (Lily's two special colors).
-I will be hosting a couple blog giveaways in honor of her day. :)
-My dear friend Elise offered to decorate Lily's special spot (where she is buried) for her birthday. I am getting things together to mail to her since I can't go myself. Any ideas for how to decorate a baby's burial spot for their birthday?
I think I am ordering two of these balloons for her birthday. One to have here with me and one to send to my friend Elise to take to her spot. It's perfect with the color pink, flowers, a butterfly, and her name. :)
These are just some of my favorite plans...I have other ideas and there are other traditions/things planned that I will share once her birthday comes. :)