This post has been incredibly hard to write (hence it being 5 months late). I can't believe that it's been a year. It simultaneously flew by and dragged on. I think a big part of me had set Annalee's birthday as a point to get to- just make it through the year, get through the birthday and all will be well. As it turns out, that's not really how it works. The pain doesn't go away after a year, in fact, celebrating the first birthday of a child that doesn't get to smash a cake or open presents feels a bit like starting back at square one.
The weekend before her birthday, we had some family over for an informal celebration. My mom brought wish papers and we all wrote down our wishes for her, lit them and watched them fly up into the sky. It was such a special and emotional moment. What's so heartbreaking/heartwarming is seeing our little nieces and nephews participate in these things for Annalee. I don't know how much of it they understand, but the fact that they include her as part of the family, even without seeing her, is so special.
Eric, Elliot and I celebrated Annalee's first birthday by making a family trip out to Forgetmenot Pond. I got a horrible stomach ache, Elliot had a huge poo explosion all over his car seat and it was so windy that we could only stay for about 15 minutes. I was feeling a bit defeated about it, but wouldn't you know that as soon as we sat down at a picnic table, a little robin wandered right into our spot and I knew she was with us. Perhaps the disaster of a day was her way of trying to make us laugh again.
Happy birthday, baby girl.