It was by very definition, a blustery day. The wind whipped our hair, the sand stung our cheeks, and we were chilled to the bone.
We chose to head up to Holland, Michigan, to celebrate Amelie and Adaline's first birthday. I wanted to keep things simple. . .release some balloons, sing happy birthday, look at some mementos from their brief time at the hospital.
We stopped by the local party store and purchased two pink balloons, some birthday candles, and a few baubles for Hayden to play with. After a brief check-in at our hotel, we drove to the local beach to release the balloons and look at the twins' keepsakes.
The weather had other plans. Hayden could barely maintain her grip on the balloons and was shivering with cold. Caleb wrapped her in the blanket the twins used in the hospital.
As soon as Hayden let go of the balloons, they sailed away and out of sight within a minute. Instead of being able to savor the moment, we quickly snapped some pictures, and stumbled back to our car.
In the hotel room, I spread out the girls' keepsakes on Hayden's bed and we took some time to look at them. Foot and hand imprints, special pictures, their bunny hats, and small handcrafted gifts from loving strangers.
We all love ice cream, so we put two candles in a small bowl of chocolate ice cream, and sang happy birthday to Amelie and Adaline. Hayden quickly blew out the flames before the hotel's fire alarm could go off and then loudly insisted in getting out of her party dress.
And that was that.
I had spent a year building up great expectations of this day. I pictured myself sobbing over mementos, planning beautiful memorials to the girls, writing flowery prose about how special the day was.
The day was special, just not in the grandiose way I had pictured it.
And it really wasn't about me, was it? Even though I worried about how I would feel, how I would react, how I would grieve.
Grieving isn't always a dramatic action. Sometimes it's the quiet, unplanned moments that are the most important.
At the end of the day, Hayden turned to me and asked, "Did Amelie and Adaline get their birthday balloons?"
Yes, they did, honey. That wind blew those balloons all the way up to their birthday party with Jesus in heaven.
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