Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Deal with turning 5...

It has been really difficult this fall thinking about Knox being five. Five is a big birthday for me; I think I probably say that about most birthdays, but here are some of my thoughts about what would be going on with a 5 year old in the house...

I'd be teaching him to read or maybe he'd already be reading...
He'd be playing soccer with his siblings(or maybe like Liz he'd feel blessed to sit on the sidelines and watch ;-))...
He'd be learning to ride a two-wheeler...
He'd be making his way through saxon math--doubles, +2's, doubles + 1's...
He'd be learning so many more things on his own and becoming more independent...

Those are things specific to being five, and then I wonder....

Would he still have his really blonde hair or would it be darker now?
Would the birthmark on his belly still be there or will it have faded like the Dr. said it would?
Would he still love to play with trains?
Would he patiently help Creed set of tracks and play with him for hours?
Would he be as crazy about baseball as Jack and Creed are right now?
What would be his favorite food?

I could keep on going...

Maybe it seems hard to imagine the hole when there are 5 other kids in the house, but it is a constant. One day last week the kids were out in the yard playing. The weather was beautiful and they were having a ball. The windows were open, and I could hear them laughing as they enjoyed their play. I just started crying. Jon hugged me and said, "It just seems like he should be out there with them playing doesn't it?" And it did. There are just times that I can almost see his missing silhouette just plain as day, and it is just incredibly painful. Matthew Knox, we miss you!!!

Here are a few pictures of him from the park that we go to when we celebrate his birthday.

Yesterday morning, the kids(minus Anne Michal who was babysitting) baked and decorated a cake for Knox. They also made signs and Elizabeth decorated the house with our birthday banner and paper chains and made up a special area to celebrate his life.

She arranged some pictures and scrapbooks on the piano.

Then she moved this little desk, hung some signs, laid out his big scrapbook and arranged his stuffed dogs(one had already made its way to a child's bed for the night when I took the picture.)

Then we carried out our usual of going to sonic, going to the park to play and release balloons, and then we took some balloons and a mum out to the cemetery and watered the peach tree.I realize these seem like the same pictures every year but there is comfort in tradition.

Creed eating his burger. He kept saying, "It good, Mama! It good!"

Jack and Creed playing on the playground. The more the day went on the dirtier and dirtier Creed got.

The cake. We lost part of the icing on the lid. It was chocolate with peanutbutter m&m's and sprinkles.

Digging into the cake "Knox style."

Creed was so dirty and covered with sand at this point that he had to have his own personal piece.

The balloon launch:

I love this one of Creed watching his balloon in the sky. I was afraid he'd cry because he had to let it go, but he thought it was fun.
Anne Michal holding the ones we were taking to the cemetery.

Leaving you with this poem Josh wrote; he seems to always know how we feel:

For Knox, on his 5th birthday

Tomorrow is a listless day,
A restless day,
Another day without you.

Tomorrow is your fifth year,
Our fourth year,
Another year without you.

Tomorrow is a day to weep,
A day to keep,
Another memory of you.

What of these days,
And of these years,
And of these tears?
What of tomorrows gone by,
Another day,
Another sigh?
What of the pain, and the grief,
What of our hope,
What of relief?

Creation groans, and with it we,
For the brokenness we see,
We feel, we know, we work against,
We fight, we claw, we raise defense,
We pause, reflect, remember too,
All our memories of you.

Some memories are wisps of want,
Imagined dreams, and faded streams of consciousness,
Like the one of your learning to ride a bike,
Or racing your brother in the yard,
Or holding your other brother in your arms.
Like the one of you helping mom to bake,
Or helping sisters with leaves to rake,
Or the one of you reading aloud to dad,
And others, which we might have had.
And all the tedious, glorious toils,
What for others is drudgery, would be our spoils,
Could we have but one more with you,
But there is nothing we can do,
To make such memories real and true.
Nor can the ones we would like to know,
Be as good as what we have to show,
For God has not stolen you away,
For you were His from the first day.
And He's with us while you are away,
For we, like you, are His too.

Not separate, though we are apart,
Not broken, though we are battered,
Not bitter, though we are cut,
But hopeful, joyful, expectant, full,
Of what times we have yet to see,
With you!--so many more than one,
When the counting of years is done.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Time to Mourn...

We only had Knox with us for one birthday. Since he has gone before us, we have weathered his 2nd, 3rd, and 4th birthdays. Wednesday will his 5th birthday. When I look back, I know it has gotten easier, but maybe easier isn't even the right word. Different might be a better word.
Regardless, I find myself having certain expectations for myself, like being able to follow our traditions but not be as sad. I find myself thinking that I should be able to focus more on the good memories and not the bad ones, but really in October and April especially the bad memories hover like dark clouds before a storm.
I was thinking this through yesterday and realizing that, however I feel is okay. As Jon has said before there is no rule book for this sort of thing. While his birthday is a time to rejoice because he was and is undeniably a great blessing to us, it is a time to mourn as we wish we could have known his as a 2 y r old, a 3 yr old, and a 4 yr old. And I fervently wish I could know him as a 5 yr old. Yes it is a time to mourn, and that is OK.
If I wake up Wednesday morning and long to lay in bed,crying all day, and eating chocolate, there is no shame or wrong in it. While practically that can't play out and may be only what I feel like doing and not what I actually do, his birthday is definitely a day set aside for remembering and mourning. We will remember his big blue eyes, his soft blond hair, his smiles, his love of books and trains, his hugs, his laughter, his love of his siblings. All those things will make us smile, but they'll also make us cry as we wish we could continue sharing all those things with him rather than only holding onto memories that move farther and farther from reality.