A few years ago after falling apart year after year I made a promise to myself, I will never again work on Emma's birthday. For me, it became a family holiday. Regardless of my current job, September 8th was a day off. In the beginning it was a logistically sound idea so I could cry all day without worry that I had to leave my house. But, in the past few years we have come to treat the day as a special celebration and make plans that we would never do on an ordinary day.
Some years my husband and I take the day alone and revel in the silence as we do whatever we choose. One year we re-created our first date at the state fair and drove the back roads antiquing (that was my favorite!). Last year we included the girls and spent a family day navigating a local farm's corn maze, splitting up, getting lost then finding each other again and rolling down hills until we were dizzy and covered in hay.
Also last year, at their instance, we had a "real" party with cake, ice cream, presents and singing happy birthday. I wasn't sure if I was ready for any traditional spin but we just couldn't say no to their serious little faces scrunched up with concern that I might vito their well presented idea, "But she is our sister and she is turning seven! Every seven year old gets cake, ice cream, presents and the birthday song. But" Bear added her tone now equally serious as if trying to figure out a math problem, "since Emma lives with God and not us I guess she would want us to play with her presents". And so, that is how it happened. Our first traditional celebration.
This year, they haven't mentioned anything and I am really not up for it. I am feeling very internal, not broken, just introspective about the magnitude of the year. I decided to spend the day alone. I don't know why I feel so inspired to do this, but something about this eighth year has really struck me as "my time". My journey is being so vastly effected by the power of this number that I feel called to attend to my innerself on Monday. This year I celebrate Emma by feeding my body for the day. I am not sure of all the details, but I know I am more in touch with my inner voice than ever before. I will start, like always, at her grave and follow my heart for the rest. I will medidate for as long as I like and a massage sounds good at the local spa, maybe a yoga class and a definately a long soak in the hot tub.
I like that every year seems to have a life of its own, similar to the evolution of birthday party themes. When Bear was 3 The Comedian 1 a Dora party fit perfectly, but this winter when they turn 6 and 4 it just wouldn't work. I can look back and see how I spent Emma's day in year one, year three, year six and now year 8 and just that glance back reflects my annual growth in healing, affirming each powerful step, even the teary ones.
A similar soul,