I'm trying so hard to keep hold of the peace I felt on her birthday. So I share with you her beautiful birthday. It was such a special day and through it all, I felt so much peace from my baby girl.
Loving Lily is the greatest accomplishment of my life. I'm never one to brag on myself, but giving Lily life is the only thing I've ever done that I know with 100% of my heart I did it right. But now here I am one year later and I can't stop the selfish thoughts. I want her here. I want to protest the over the top, extravagant first birthdays. I want to dress her in something simple and sweet. I want to hold her and kiss her and reminisce about all the beautiful moments and milestones she should have made it through this past year. I miss her, and not because it's her birthday. I miss her because it's every. single. day. Every single day for the past year, that I have had to figure out how to live this life without her. I haven't figured it out yet and I honestly don't think I ever will.
I thank God every day for the gift she is to my life. Deep grief is a sign of deep love. I will spend the rest of my days missing her and longing to hold her, but this one day of the year, her first birthday, I set aside the ache in my heart and I celebrated my perfect and precious girl.
Because she is the greatest gift of my life.
The night before her birthday we went to decorate her grave. Ted picked out balloons for her and a stuffed animal. He kept saying, "Happy Birthday Lily!" Some of the decorations my friends had left the week before were still there and it made me smile.
I woke up the morning of her birthday feeling so much peace and I was so grateful. I haven't felt peace like that since she was in my arms one year ago. I know it was Lily. I know she wanted me to enjoy her birthday.
We went to Mass that was offered for Lily. My sister, brother-in-law, and friends came to celebrate with us. It was so wonderful to start our day surrounded by people who were praying for us.
Then it was Jason, Ted, and me off on a family day. We celebrated with donuts and then spent a wonderful morning at the zoo. We did all the fun stuff. We fed the giraffes and went for a camel ride. We went on the train and pet the sting rays. Ted really loves seeing all the animals. Feeding the giraffes was definitely a highlight of our day!
We came home to flowers, treats and gifts. My dear friend Nellie took pictures at Lily's funeral. She gave me a book full of pictures I had not seen. I didn't cry all day until I saw this book. Words cannot even describe what it was like to have new pictures of Lily. It is truly a priceless gift. My cousin Emily always makes a personalized ABC book for 1st birthdays and she made one for Lily too! We are so grateful for the outpouring of love, prayers, and thoughtful gifts. It helped make her day so special.
Jason and I went out to dinner just the two of us. We shared our memories of Lily's birth. We toasted our daughter and our family. My love for him is more than I ever imagined. He is the most sensitive and loving husband and father. It breaks my heart he has to miss his daughter at all.
Jason has also been working on a project for Lily (me) and it is finally complete! He's been working for months to build this beautiful trunk! I've been wanting something to house all of Lily's memories. I kept showing Jason trunks I wanted to buy and then he told me he wanted to make it. More love went into making this piece of furniture than anything money could ever buy. I am so grateful for his commitment to our family and his immense love for his daughter. Isn't it just beautiful?!
We ended Lily's birthday with pumpkin ice cream with Ted. Again, the day was filled with so much peace and so much love for our sweet girl. We miss you so much Lily girl and we would have given anything to celebrate this day with you. Thank you for showering us with your love and peace. We felt it baby girl...all day long.