Max’s 5th Birthday

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I wrote this on my instagram on April 24th.

“I wish I could go back five years. Unwrap his little swaddled body, hold him just a little bit longer. See his fingers and toes and feel his soft fuzzy head. I’d tell myself to lean in to that grief, to be sad and feel it hard. I’d tell myself that it gets less painful, a tiny little bit at a time until one day there will be a day you don’t break down.  And days will be months and months will be years.  Five years have passed and today we celebrated that little round babe in your arms– with cinnamon rolls and cupcakes and a group of people that love you so much that they carried you many times when you couldn’t stand on your own.  And five years later- though it is hard to imagine- you feel the kind of joy that you were sure you could never feel again. You can do hard, impossibly sad, beautiful things. Happy fifth birthday to our sweet boy Maxwell.”

UGH. Five years. Five years has always seemed so far away. Five years old means kindergarten. Big kid stuff. It’s half a decade. Five years seems so daunting compared to the tiny minutes that he lived. So much time.

Max’s birthday fell on a Wednesday this year. On the Monday before, I was so sick with food poisoning- more sick than I have ever been in my entire life. I legit thought I might be dying. I spent all of Tuesday in a hole in my bed with barely enough energy to move. I cried and cried knowing that our traditional birthday activities would be postponed.

But Wednesday, prayers were answered. I woke up early and rallied- baked all of the cinnamon rolls we planned to delivered and got things ready for a cupcake/balloon party at the park with the family.

We went the hospital first, and the same nice nurse is always sitting at the station, it’s so comforting that people remember us and remember Max. They called our other nurses up and we gave them all hugs. We stopped by the NICU and I usually do really well until the NICU and then I just cry. I can’t help it, it feels like a reverent place to me.

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L and D, NICU, and my OB’s office
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One of my most favorite people
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paused in the NICU hallway
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So happy to walk out with this little pal

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We stopped by our lot and they officially broke ground. Perfect day to remember.

After dinner, we drove across town to meet the family at Max’s park. We brought cupcakes and balloons and pens to write messages to Max. (We don’t release the balloons. #savetheocean)

 

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Sweet Madilyn brought her violin to play Happy Birthday with us

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And Sean! Agh, Sean. He surprised us with his ukulele and played What a Wonderful World. Sean was in Texas when Max died, but he facetimed in for his funeral and played a lullabye on his violin. I remember that just broke me into pieces, I did okay at the service until the music. 

 

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You can really see how close the fires were to the cemetery. 

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Well, we did it. I’ve heard the first five years are the hardest. Feels all equally as hard but we are doing it. I’m so thankful for so many people that remembered his day and remembered us and thought to text or call or drop a note. Five years closer.

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