41 birthday wishes. everyone of them is for you.


Yesterday was my birthday. Among the host of other holidays, my birthday lost its luster the moment you were robbed from ever having one. The fact that I’ve now had 41 birthdays strung together just doesn’t seem right. Probably because it’s not. Nothing about having your baby die in your arms and then be left to continue on in this world without him is right. No need for a “48 Hour Mystery” segment to solve the rub on this one, Diddy.

I spent my non-happy birthday at your favorite girl cousin’s birthday party. Alina will turn eight next week. I’m relieved she’ll have eight birthdays. She has always made my heart drum a little lighter. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t celebrate her turning eight without simultaneously feeling overwhelmingly sad that you will never have a birthday cake with eight candles to blow out. As always, not a day – particularly a ‘special’ day goes by where I’m not consumed with guilt over the many, many things you will never experience. Though most people are likely unaware – regardless of where I am, and what I am doing – I’m only partially ‘present’. I always have one foot in a parallel universe looking for you, reaching for you – always wondering how very different life would be if I could find you and bring you back to this world with me.

Alina may be your only girlie-girl cousin. However, she is anything but girlie. Oh, that spicy monkey. She truly is one of a kind. Alina ‘strongly dislikes’ anything pink, ruffley, or girlie in anyway. Dolls are not allowed in her room – which is donned in blue from top to bottom. When I say blue, think Cookie Monster, highway sign, Facebook blue. Literally: her walls, her bed-spread, her (self-made) decor…all blue. Your Lala says she always makes sure not to turn in a circle too fast in Alina’s room – for fear she’ll throw herself into a seizure. Before Alina went Back to School shopping this year, she announced that, “…she’s not wearing girl clothes anymore.” So, NIKE sweats and running shorts it’s been. Some of her favorite gifts included: a NERF bow and arrow, Legos, blue running shoes, camouflage leggings, and a skate board. A skate board for which she will build taller and steeper ramps; on which she bust higher and radder ollies. Alina the bold and beautiful. Have I mentioned she is one of a kind?

One of the most difficult parts about my birthday (and the impending holidays which always, cruelly, ensue) is when people ask what I want for my birthday/Christmas. I know these queries are coming from a place of graciousness. None the less, every.single.time. I want to reach out and slap the shit out of the person asking me such an insenstive question as I scream, “What do I want? What the fuck do you think I want? I want my son back in my arms: healthy, happy…and ALIVE. What’s that you say? You can’t find him at Mayfair, TJ Maxx, nor J. Crew? Hmmm. Well, then, it’s official. I don’t want anything…except to die before sunrise.” But even on my spiciest of days, I wouldn’t dare lash out on someone in such a brutally honest way.

Much like my life, my “Wish List” is vastly different than I ever saw it panning out in my head. Bottom line: given all the money in the world, not a single item can be bought.

I don’t want to hear overused cliches, or a string of empty words flung around my neck like a too-tight, itchy turtleneck. No. “…everything doesn’t happen for a reason”, because there is no reason good enough in this twisted-world to justify the pain you endured, nor the ever-present pain in my soul from losing you.

I certainly don’t want the coldness and emptiness that accompanies the abandonment of a cast of characters who I was naive enough to believe when they promised again and again they’d never leave my side.

I want strong, sacred, loving arms to hold onto me while I sob uncontrollably in the middle of the night…soaked to the bone with sweat, due to another gruesome flashback.

I want eyes that see this pain is not the kind of pain from which I will ever recover. Even if given a year. A decade. Or a lifetime. I will never, ever be whole again.

I want hands that remember to trace the letters of your name on my back, and a voice that speaks your name, loudly, boldly, proudly, and often – without needing to be reminded.

I want feet to walk with me – slowly, gently, without pushing or rushing, graciously following my pace – until I can see color, if even in muted shades – once again.

I want ears that can listen to the sound of my heart breaking – over and over again.

There you have it: your Momma’s list of ever-elusive wishes.  For today, I’ll settle for the sound of AC’s giggle as she excitedly opens her not-so-girlie-girl gifts; the sight of sunlight reflecting off the boys’ heads: as they run wild and free through their back yard, and the steady strumming of ‘hope’ innocently moving about inside me.


I will look for you in my dreams.

Stay with me, Sweet Boy.



7 thoughts on “41 birthday wishes. everyone of them is for you.

  1. I know this isnt my business but I have followed warriormomma for a while. Did Paxton’s momma have a baby? Im not trying to be insensitive I have grown to have empathy for her and only wish her the best. Her heartache is palpable through this blog and my heart breaks for her.

    • Hi Kristin ~
      You are so very kind.
      With a little-less-broken heart, I can confirm your suspicions are correct. I welcomed Paxton’s little sister into the world early this year. She is a miracle beyond all miracles; sent to me from Paxton himself. As I become more comfortable in sharing her with the world – without the fear I will then lose her too, I’ll include more details about her in the letters to Paxton which I post on the blog.
      Thank you again for your very sweet words and well wishes.

      • Danna,
        Thank you for replying. Im sorry to intrude. I am in amazement and truly happy for you. You are a strong woman
        and I could only hope to have half of the bravery that you have shown. Wishing you much happiness. Paxton shines on you and your little one.

      • Danna (or Danna-is-cool, the way you saved your name and number into my phone so many years ago…sneaky. I have to admit, I stole your idea and did the same to others’ phones since then.),

        My heart is imploding with joy for you. The picture with you and your niece certainly had me hoping and wishing you were pregnant. Then, the Lovelies event you wrote about that included pictures had me smiling ear-to-ear. Congratulations on becoming a Momma to another sweet baby. I am not even close to as amazing with words as you are, so I can’t possibly express my happiness for you. But I am sure you hear this from everyone and know we are super pumped that Paxton has a lil sis to look after. Omg. Amazing. He sure has some big responsibilities. 🙂

        I cannot tell you how great an influence you had on my confidence as a young teacher when we worked together for a short quarter of a year. You befriended me when I hadn’t yet made new friends. I won’t forget how you included me at lunch in your classroom, the impromptu Happy Hours, and shopping runs. You always had the best style.

        I’m living and teaching back in my hometown (Escanaba). I don’t anticipate getting to see you again, but I think of you so very often.

        I know your baby girl is bringing light to your life again. I’m sure Paxton is holding the match that lit the candle.

        Much love,

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