This Sunday, January 24th, is Michaela’s birthday. It is always such a struggle to find a way to honor this day. And it is a day that needs to be honored. Michaela was my first child. It had taken me five years and a prescription for fertility pills in order to be able to have her, so you know how desperately I had wanted her, and what a purely joyful day that was, when she was finally here and I got to hold her in my arms and look into her little face.
It was not only the most joyful day of my life, it is the day that came to define the major part of who I am. It was the day I became “mommy.” It was the day my heart was given away. In her birth and her life, Michaela changed me, changed who I was. And then when she was lost, she changed me again, so deeply and profoundly, to the very core and then further still. And let me tell you, even in that worst of worst things, all those changes are not bad. How could they be? Michaela transformed me through love, in her life, and again in her loss. And love is a powerful force, and always a force for good.
I have done various things over the years to honor Michaela’s birthday. I used to get cakes, but about five years ago I went into the grocery store and looked at all those foofy cakes and the thought of even trying to get that sweetness down my throat on that day just gagged me. So I don’t do that anymore. Usually on Michaela’s birthday, I write something for her, and I am sure I will this year as well. I personally will go to the gym for awhile, because I have recently started doing that and I find it to be the world’s best stress reliever. My son has been wanting to take me to see Avatar in 3D Imax, and maybe we will do that on that day, or maybe not. I might just want to be alone with my thoughts. I never know what is better, to have a good time and distract myself, or to just let myself feel my feelings.
But around 8:00 p.m., I will light a candle for Michaela. The candle is a symbol of light and warmth, to light her way home, to light my way through this endless maze of not knowing, and to remind me of the warmth she brought to me. You know, my kids used to fret over who was the favorite, and I was always telling them that when each child is born, he or she gets their own private room in your heart. Michaela’s room is still there, and it is still warm.
(Photo is of Michaela with my mother, the day she came home from the hospital.)