Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Tribute

My oldest turned 8 yesterday. It just so happened that The Lego Movie also opened yesterday, and since he is a Lego fanatic, it was a no brainer that we would do his party at the theater. The Regal Cinema in town did an excellent job, and we would highly recommend it for any of you with kids. Money was well spent! 

But, that's not the focus of this post. This post is about someone else that shares this day with my son. And while for my son it is a day we celebrate his birth, for this other special person it is a day we celebrate the life she had lived. On my son's first birthday, my Auntie Geri passed away. It has been an extremely hard truth that each year my wife and I stress about as his birthday approaches. While we live so far away from my Chicago area family, social media brings us all together in a way never before realized. Understandably, his birthday has become a day of memory for my Aunt by her children, as well as my cousins. So much so, that my wife and I have avoided things like Facebook on our son's birthday to focus on his special day. We post pictures the day before, and then stick to our own personal pages and groups, avoiding the main timeline. Just to stay positive, no disrespect to those in our family still remembering and honoring in their own respectful ways. 

I can't say that I was super close with my Auntie Geri. I CAN say that she loved me. She loved all of us. Everything about her glowed with happiness when she was around her children, her nieces, and nephews. I will never forget her smile as she would talk with us kids. She had a softness about her that made you feel comfortable and safe. So, when I think about the "why." The "why did she have to pass away on my son's 1st birthday?" I don't get angry, cause the "why" is so clear to me. My Aunt passed away on the first birthday of her first great-nephew. He was the first child born to any of us cousins, so in my mind she passed on a day she knew would be a celebration for a child. A child that while she only met a few times, I know she loved with all of her heart. The way she loved us all. 

So, while it is hard, I use my son's birthday to remember to celebrate him the way that I know she would want me to. They way that she celebrated all of us. Because, in my mind and heart, that is the reason she left us that day. She gave us a reason to celebrate the way she wanted us to. She also has given us a day to reflect on our own parenting to make sure we are loving our kids in a way she would be proud. 

Love you Auntie Geri.