Last Friday was Annie’s 3rd birthday. I expected the words to flow freely onto this blog, as they usually do on the hard days . . . but it just didn’t come. And that’s okay. The longer this grief thing wears on, the more I realize that there is no “expected”, no “normal” to these days. They hit hard each time, in a different way then before. It is exhausting.
And so we ate pancakes. Funky Monkey pancakes, to be exact. How I love the ways in which God blesses us and the ways He reminds us that He cares. Often I am sad that we have so few things that we knew about Annie . . . what her favorite color would have been, her favorite food, what her voice would’ve sounded like. Birthdays bring that sadness out in me because I always make something special for the kids, as so many Moms do. But with Annie, I don’t know what to make since she only really ate rice cereal (and I can’t imagine my family being too excited about that for breakfast. Ha.).
I was flipping through a cookbook and I found a recipe with a note:
Instantly, I was transported back in time. I remember carrying tiny Annie Jane into our house for the first time. I was slightly traumatized at having two rambunctious kids running circles around me, begging to see, kiss, hold, suffocate their new sister. And then the smell of banana muffins hit me. Mom had made muffins, timing it perfectly so that they were coming out of the oven just as we walked into the house. I cannot tell you how good they tasted to me.
That little, powerful memory has allowed me to have a “favorite” to celebrate Annie. Seems a little silly, but nevertheless it’s something. When we miss her we make banana muffins.
And on her birthday we tweaked it a bit (because muffins have too many steps for me to process in the mornings) and made banana pancakes instead.
It went over quite well.
Happy Birthday, Sweet Girly. How we miss you.
P.S. In our grief, I’ve found that finding ways to celebrate Annie regularly has been very, very important. These rhythms that we’ve built into our life help us to look forward to something, to share it with each other, and to process her death. The next day, we took a trip to the hospital, as we do each year, to deliver cookies to the PICU. One of the most powerful ways to heal is to bless others . . . it may sound strange, but it’s true.
P.S. #2 I have the best Mom, don’t I? Here she is attempting to teach Will and Kate how to be quiet and gentle with Annie (FYI: It didn’t work)