Today marks the day you should have turned two years old. Today also marks the second birthday we did not spend together; making our average 0-2. Pretty shitty stats, which have been pre-determined to only get shittier. It just doesn’t add up. Among a host of other reasons behind the fact that I simply cannot make sense of it all, I’ve now had 40 birthdays: complete with cards, candles, cakes, presents, and parties celebrated amongst family & friends. You got zero. Zero. The thought of it all makes me want to drown myself in a pool of my own puke.
The day you were born is, hands down, the happiest day of my life. There are so many days which are extra-difficult as they are now impossible not to associate with losing you: May 8th, July 2nd, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas…and Mondays-Sundays too. However, February 12th, 2012 is the day I associate with warmth, happiness, peace and – for the first time in my life – wholeness. February 12th will forever remain the most beautiful day I know. I refuse to let cancer steal your birthday too. Fuck cancer.
In the spirit of celebrating your special day, I decided I couldn’t allow another February 12th to pass without buying a birthday cake. I enlisted the help of your ever-present Lala to aide in my quest. Lala contacted Aggie’s Bakery, and explained that she was calling on behalf of her sister, who had a special request. Lala told the owner, who we now know as the lovely Deb, that I wanted to pay for a cake for a 2 year-old. She then gave a brief summary behind my desire. I couldn’t be in the room when Lala made the call; when she was done – I asked her how she possibly got the words out. With tears still falling over the brims of her big, almond eyes – she said, “I was okay, until Deb started crying.”
We quickly composed ourselves and headed to Aggie’s. Our composure didn’t last long. As soon as we identified ourselves to Deb, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Even her husband, Aggie, couldn’t come to the counter. He did, however, greet our eyes with a gracious smile and a kind wave. Deb grabbed my (freezing cold and shaking) hands and held them within hers, as she said over and over that she was so sorry. She also told me how honored she was to be a part of such an amazing gesture. In an effort to collect herself, she went to the back room to get the sketch of the birthday cake she is in the midst of designing for the 2 year-old ‘little dolly girl’. I envision her to be adorable ~ her cake is adorable too. When ‘little dolly girl’s’ mommy picks up her order on Saturday, she’ll be met with a bill paid in full – and a card from you and me. In return, a simple request…when singing “Happy Birthday”, as her 2 year-old tries (probably more than once) to blow out her candles, that she pause for a brief moment to feel the peace and innocence of your life spark. As I have a feeling you will be among them…watching over ‘little dolly girl’ on her special day. Before we parted ways, Deb rounded the counter, and hugged me good and long. She told me I was an incredible woman, with a beautiful heart. I corrected her. I told her it is you [Paxton] who is the incredible soul, with a beautiful heart – who inspires every ounce of good within me.
We met up with some of my most favorite lovelies and spent the rest of the day spreading PaxLove all over town. It should come as no surprise that imparting good fortune onto others, in your honor, brought a sense of much needed peace to my heart. Yet, I’d be remise if I didn’t admit that doing so required every ounce of my fragile strength to refrain from free-falling, face first into a snow bank – and staying perfectly still until I froze to death. With each step I took, I imagined how differently February 12th would be had life worked out how it was supposed to, and you were here where you should be. The complete juxtaposition of all the forces at play made my head pound, my stomach twist, my heart hurt, and every cell of my being ache.
The first thing I said this morning was, “Happy Birthday, Diddy.” As with each moment I experience or sediment I express that is even remotely happy, rip tides of guilt ensued and swallowed me whole. That being said, I want to clarify a few things with you – solely for the sake of making sure you don’t misinterpret Momma’s words. Please consider these my wishes for you, on this – your 2nd birthday.
When I say, Happy Birthday –
I really mean the happiest day of my life, and the only real “Happy Birthday” was the day you were born. Every birthday thereafter simply serves as a cruel reminder of another year you didn’t get to experience.
When I say, Good Night –
I really mean I stay awake all night, worrying if you are warm enough, wondering if you are safe, apologizing that you got sick, and begging someone to help you catch the kisses and feel the love I beam up to you.
When I say, I miss you –
I really mean I search for you everywhere I go, among every crowd I scan, and in everything I see; as though you are merely lost – and if I can just find you, I will be able to finally bring you back home.
When I say, I love you –
I really mean that I would trade places with you – endure all your pain, absorb all your discomfort, take all your sadness; that I would give my life for yours…over and over again.
When I say, Forever –
I really mean forever and ever. And then a little bit longer.
Happy 2nd Birthday, Paxton Bowe.
Stay with me, Sweet Boy.