It’s been a dozen years since you stubbornly and dramatically took your first breath.
Counting that many years without you is more than I can fathom, really.
If someone asked me right now, I would say that it felt like just yesterday they placed you in my arms, all pink and mad.
But if another person came up right behind them, I may say I could barely remember the smell of your skin or how your lip curled just a little at the corner.
While there’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think about you, there are long stretches of hours when the hole in my heart feels plugged up and dare I say, whole. And then, maybe it’s a glance at the clock at 9:19 or a giraffe figurine in a window, memories come back. I know sometimes it’s you nudging me to remember, to think, to take a minute and thank you for going through life with me.
I’m thankful you were born, Charlie.
Without you, I wouldn’t be who I am today. That sounds strange, doesn’t it? I mean, obviously I’d rather you be here, but there were clearly much bigger plans for you. You were never supposed to stay.
Do you know how many people your story, as tragic as it was, has helped? A lot.
And do you know how many people I talk to who are grieving the loss of their child who just want to know from someone who has been there, that one day it’ll be ok? A lot.
You sitting on my shoulder, walking life with me, helps me help them. They’re my friends now, just like their babies are playing with you up there. (Make sure you share your cake with them today.)
So instead of finishing the 5th grade this week and headed to middle school, you’re saving babies’ lives and helping me give grieving parents or scared soon-to-be parents hope.