It feels as awkward rolling off my tongue as it actually is to be thirteen.
It’s hard to fathom, really, the possibility of Charlie being here and being thirteen. Waking up with scruffy hair on his head and a hint of facial hair. He would surely talk back to me with a cracking voice and when he might smile, the little boy in him would likely peek through every so often. He would have an attitude like he’s either king of the world or the most sullen teen who ever lived.
Lived. If only he’d lived.
Damn, there are so many things I would have — WE would have — done. All of us. Together.
If only the good didn’t die young. If only God didn’t take the best angels first. If only bad things didn’t happen to good people. If only we had prayed more, gotten him to the hospital sooner, been more vigilant, hoped more. If only we had waited one more day to let him go so we could have one more day of touching him. If only we had gotten a miracle. If only I knew why… If only. If only. IF ONLY.
Here we are, though, at another birthday. Another “trip around the sun” that will never actually happen. But he IS the sun. He IS the clouds. He IS the moon and the stars and the air that fills my lungs. He is everywhere.
Forever, he may not be here, but he’s everywhere.
Thank you, Charlie, for making me a Mom. For showing me that I’m stronger than I ever thought I could be. And please keep showing me daily that you’re always with me.
Happy 13th birthday, baby boy.