Curtis' birthday was wonderful.
I wonder if four years ago I could have ever imagined saying that about anything surrounding him. But it was.
Did I shed tears? Yup.
However, Craig and I have worked hard on making his birthday something we look forward to. The first year, we took a trip away. We enjoyed it so much, we did the same trip again bringing Claudia along. As well as adding a few more traditions in the mix.
An annual tradition was born.
this year we did change it up. The place we used to go was wonderful, but not very little kid friendly in ways of things to do inside. So, if it was rainy, we were stuck. This year we chose to go to the Wisconsin Dells area. For those of you not familiar with the midwest, it is pretty much the waterpark capital of the world. I think Craig was apprehensive, he loved our old place. He had never been to the Dells.
One of my fun little things is to research. So I researched the heck out of resorts and found one that claimed to be great for toddlers and smaller kids when it came to the waterpark. There is access to their other resports with larger parks, but this one was suppose to good for the little ones. Craig agreed, I booked it.
And I was excited. I was excited about his birthday. BECAUSE of what we had planned. Craig works crazy hours in the spring and this was going to be our time, finally, as a family.
We left on Monday morning. As our tradition, we first stopped at Build A Bear. Bears have become Curtis' "thing" since he was posed with one in the hospital. His urn is a teddy bear and our tattoos are bears. Each year we have taken Claudia to build one and this year we got to bring Cole with. We let Claudia pick whatever she wanted, this was the first year she really got that aspect. She picked a pink flamingo. I picked a lovely black bear for Cole. In the future, he can pick his own...but for this first year, he needed his own "Curtis Bear".
We had a great time doing that. Then we were off to the Angel of Hope statue in Maple Grove, MN. Curtis has three paver bricks in his memory at the Angel. The Angel is dedicated to any one who has lost a child. Since we have Curtis' ashes with us, this is our "spot". We laid four white flowers on Curtis' bricks. We also laid 4 flowers in the Angel's hand. Blue ones for Curtis, Aaron, and Ethan. A pretty red one for Abbey. Aaron was premature and lived 33 days. He died the same day 5/31/2006 Curtis was stillborn. I knew his mom when we were borh pregnant with our little boys. The fact we both lost them on the same day is horrible, but we are forever bonded because of it. I met Ethan's mom after my loss. She lost her beautiful boy June 14th, 2005. He was born on the 2nd of June and lived for 12 days. Abbey's mom I know through the blog world. Abbey was stillborn June 4th, 2006. Half a country away, another mom was going through the same heartbreak I was.
As we laid the flowers in the Angel's hands, Claudia was repeating each name I was saying. She actually talked about "Abbey's flower" long after the day ended.
We had grabbed some subs and had a little picnic near the Angel. I had brought cupcakes that we lit a candle in and we said Happy Birthday, Curtis. Right then, the wind picked up and blew out the candle. It gave me chills. I put a cupcake on his bricks and left it there.
We drove to the dells and had an uneventful car trip (about 4 hours). We immediately threw on our suits and headed down to the waterpark. We had a BLAST. It was perfect. Claudia is shy and tends to get overwhelmed and needs time to warm up. It was a good size for her. )The next day we were able to explore the outside waterpark, and it was perfect as well. Fun little water slides and even jumpy swings for Cole.)
That night of Curtis' birthday, Craig and I sat and started to talk....we talked about the things that haunt us most about that day. We talked about how far we have come in four years. How given how that day went, we could have never predicted how right things could be four years later. Claudia's and Cole's pregnancies were hard. Debilitating, really. But we are on the other end of them. They are both here and cute and funny and loved.
We are happy. The ache, yes....the ache is there. We miss him. All the time, but I can't change what happened. I try, in my mind, all the time. I still play the what if game.
But, on a day to day basis, I am happy.
We had a wonderful rest of our trip. I would bore you with the details but they are: eat, waterpark, eat, nap, waterpark, eat, sleep and repeat. We mainly stayed at our resort, but we did check out a few others.
I hope this tradition continues as long as we are able...in the future kid's schedules and own interests may get in the way. But right now, the time around May 31st will be our little family get away time. I want the kids to know he is a part of our life and we will celebrate him. But I also know they won't be able to form a relationship with him like we have. So, this is our way of building memories in his name.
I don't have my own computer (Craig took it on a work trip and I am on my work comptuer) so I don't have my pictures. but I do have this video uploaded of us laying flowers for our babies.