Curtis' birthday came and went fairly quietly. This was our 3rd year that we went up to northern MN to celebrate and remember our son.
This year, like I said before, has hit me especially hard. Taking the time away was exactly what we needed as a family. Our tradition is now going to build-a-bear and allowing Claudia to pick a bear to make. Well, in the future she can pick. Right now, we still have to pick for her. But she reached for two and we helped her narrow it down. She was _not_ happy when we took away the non filled bear away from her to get filled up. When we handed it back to her...she took off running with it, refusing to pose. I am pretty sure she was worried we were going to take it from her again:
After build-a-bear, we stopped at the Angel of Hope statue where Curtis has 3 paver bricks in his memory. Claudia was very over tired and not interested in posing:
We laid 4 flowers on Curtis' bricks. One from myself, one from Craig, one from Claudia, and one from a future sibling of Curtis' who will hopefully be born screaming in October of this year.
I also brought 4 flowers to lay in the angel's hands. One for Curtis, one for Aaron, one for Ethan, and one for Abbey (the red one! She is a girl, after all. The boys got blue!) I met their moms through our mutual losses. Aaron was born premature and lived 33 days before passing away the same day Curtis did, May 31st 2006. His mom, Nikki, and I knew each other online while we were both pregnant with our boys. We share this sad date, but have a great bond. I met Ethan's mom online. Ethan lived for 12 days from June 2nd to June 14th, 2005. He was born full term but inexplicably stopped breathing his first day on Earth. His mom is an amazing woman. Abbey is someone I have recently become acquainted with through her mom's blog. She and Curtis were due around the same time. She was born still 6 days after her due date, June 4th, 2006.
We tried to take a picture of the 3 of us, Claudia was not interested:
We drove to our condo later that day, and luckily Claudia did well the entire trip. Sadly, the weather was miserable (back home it was warm and sunny!) It was very windy and cold. On Curtis' actual birthday there was freezing rain! Okay, Minnesota is cold, but geesh!
Sunset from our condo our first night:
We spent the days together, as a family, lounging, swimming, and taking in the local restaurants. We talked about Curtis and the should have beens and what would it be likes. We talked little about the day we lost him but more about him in general, if that makes sense. We took a gondola ride up a mountain and sat on the shores of Lake Superior and were just a family....
We decided Curtis would insist on an ice cream cake. I mean, it is his mom and dad's favorite. Surely it would be his too. We hit the local DQ and found the perfect cake. We ate plenty, enough for us and him.
(Claudia has to wear the eye patch for opthamology issues. Don't worry!)
We came home on Monday. I was lucky to receive about 4 or 5 cards in the mail from various friends and that softened the 'blow' of returning to the real world. Knowing people back home were remembering Curtis meant the world.
It was a good weekend.