Joe's birthday this year was a challenge, to say the least. It was 2 1/2 weeks after we lost Grace and my heart was still in a million pieces. I was in a complete fog, not eating or sleeping. I remember at that point, I gave myself 1 tiny task a day just to feel like I had a purpose. I barely changed out of my pajamas, and I'm sure Joe's teachers were worried after seeing me in the same yoga pants for days on end.
Those were the hardest weeks of my life.
I think our family assumed we were going to cancel Joe's party. Actually, at one point, I assumed we would too. But I remember waking up one day and telling James, "We are going to throw Joe the best damn birthday party we can, no matter what." And we did.
His party wasn't over-the-top, but it was the best I could do at the time. I bought some quick decorations at Party City. I made his favorite meal, sloppy joe's and mac & cheese. Despite having grand plans to always have home-made birthday cakes for my kids, I made it easy on myself and ordered it from Publix. Even though I felt self-created mom-guilt, it didn't make any difference to Joe. His face lit up the second he saw it.
Looking back now, it warms my heart to see him so happy in these pictures and I'm proud of myself for throwing it. And even though I can see the pain in my eyes, I see the strength too.
"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have"