Hi Little Man,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! It doesn't fully process that you'd be 11 today. I close my eyes and I can picture your sweet round face, and your beautiful eyes. I can hear the sounds of your first words. I can't imagine what you'd be like at 11. You'd be in 5th grade. I think you'd be tall and tough. I know you'd love mommy time still because you were such a little cuddler. I'm sure at 11 it would be something that was our secret because you'd be a mini man by now! You'd have lots of friends because I'm sure you'd be just as outgoing and kind as your big sister. Would you be interested in sports... video games... music? As each year passes I think you'll always be my little baby boy; my angel.
10 years ago I was getting nervous because your 2nd birthday was quickly approaching. I didn't know how a mom was supposed to spend the day that was supposed to be her son's birthday. Was I supposed to just let it pass like an ordinary day? No way! I wanted to celebrate you still. The typical birthday seemed like it was going to be too emotional to handle. I didn't want to get you a cake because I would be too sad that you couldn't blow our your candles. I didn't want to get you gifts because then I'd cry when you couldn't open them. After talking with a friend she shared with me what she does on her sister's birthday... her sister passed too. She told me about the balloons. I knew that was it. That's what we were going to do for you. Ever since then we have sent you balloons every year on your birthday. Some years have been harder than others. Some years it's just us, and some years friends and family have joined us. Every year is special though.
Today I bought you orange, blue and green balloons. Kenzy, Liam and I each wrote you. I sat there watching your brother and sister write to you and I smiled thinking about all the other years. I love waiting to see what they write to you. Liam has done it since he was a baby. It started his first year with just his hand print, then the next year some doodles to eventually his first words and this year he wrote you a little message all on his own. He LOVES you so much. He looks to you as his guardian angel.
Kenzy being days away from 13 filled your balloon with things I didn't even understand. Ha. She drew silly pictures, wrote silly words, hashtags, told you a secret....(that she has a boyfriend. Even though you're younger I'm certain you'd be pretty protective over her!) and she wrote you a sweet simple message. I felt like it was just the thing a 12 year old sister would write on her 11 year old brother's card. It is clear to me just how much your siblings love you!
After I wrote you we got in our car and we drove to one of my favorite spots. One year when we released your balloons they got stuck in a tree! That wasn't very fun. So we always want to pick our spots carefully. We went to Stone Bridge, the location of the first major land battle of the Civil War. Neat, right? ;) Our family likes to go for walks there. It's just a beautiful place and it was the perfect spot to release your balloons. We each let them go one at a time, saying a little something for you. I gave my balloon a kiss and sent it on it's way up to you. It is always a special moment. I feel connected to you. I imagine you up there above me, smiling down, waiting for your balloons. You are such a special Little Man and I love you to the stars and back.
This year you're lucky because you have your dad with you. I hope that you're both together and that you continue to be proud of us and your legacy. I miss you, Meatball. I know you already know that. I wish there was some way to hold you again. Give you a big birthday hug and celebrate with you. I hope that this next year is just as special as the last for you. I am looking forward to working more on Zachary's Way at the Mission and visiting it as many times as we can. You're always with us.
Until I see you again,