It's the milestones that get you. The first year is expectedly the worst - the first Christmas they miss, the first family vacation, their first birthday. Each one of those days is bittersweet. Heartbreaking for all they're missing, yet bittersweet when you remember all that they had, even if it was only for a short time. One would think that each year that goes by, you miss them a little less. Not true. You never stop missing those you love. Every year, you add to your mental list all the things that they missed. This year marks 5 years. Five years since Tyler & Ethan were born. And died. Five years since we held them. Five years since we said hello and good-bye, all within a couple of hours. When I think about everything they've missed in those 5 years, it is so sad. They never got to go to school, meet their baby sister, be held by their big sister, learned to ride a bike, play fetch with the dog, go to Disney. On one hand, five years doesn't seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things, but on the other, there is so much that happens in five years. So many experiences they have missed.
But have they really missed them? That's the question I keep asking myself, even though I know the answer. They haven't really missed a thing. I believe in angels, and I believe my boys have walked beside us every day for the last 5 years. They knew their baby sister before I did. I still believe that between Tyler, Ethan and our friend Monica, they brought our rainbow baby to us safely. It is so hard to look at her and think that if Tyler & Ethan had lived, Lexie would have never been born. Not that I would ever trade one for the other; it's just human nature to want it all but know it never would have happened. Lexie was talking about her friend Madison the other day. Madison doesn't have any brothers or sisters, and Lexie was asking "Where is Madison's sister?" I said Madison doesn't have brothers or sisters. Lexie says "Oh, only I have brothers and sisters?" I said yes. You have two brothers in Heaven and your sister. She's big into asking "why" lately, so I was bracing myself for it. It never came. She just said "oh" and moved on. It was so interesting to me that this child who is curious about everything and asks me "why" twenty times a day, did not bat an eyelash at the fact that she has two brothers in Heaven. She's only 3, so we've never had a big explanation about death and Heaven. But it's like she knew. Because she did. She probably knows her brothers in a way that I will never understand, and that is so beautiful.
So no, they haven't missed a thing. They see us every day. They see the good things we are doing in their memory, and the amazing birthday party we throw every year for them to benefit March of Dimes. And they are proud. And happy. And they love each and every one of you for keeping their memory alive. And so do I.
Happy 5th Birthday, Tyler & Ethan.