Tom and I were sitting on our bed trying to find some place that little people did not interrupt, so that we could figure out what we wanted to do with the rest of our Sunday, how we wanted to celebrate Noah's birthday. We had decided against the traditional balloon release (after seeing some information on what happens to all of those balloon pieces after they pop we just didn't feel comfortable with doing that anymore - no we're not becoming environmentalists, just trying to be good stewards). After discussing some of my thoughts and hopes for the day, Tom helped to refine the plans. We would do a pyre - write notes to Noah (something the kids have always loved to do on their balloons), stick them in a homemade raft, take it to Lake Mary, and set it on fire (what 8 year old boy (or any boy, for that matter) wouldn't love fire for his birthday?).
I was still feeling a little bit grumpy...truly I was thinking that the day's plans were about me and my grief when I mentioned to Tom that we should go to Freddy's before we went to the lake. I explained that it really wasn't that much money when one considered that we wouldn't be paying for presents, a birthday party, and party favors. That kinda flat, off-handed, selfish statement, broke Tom down into showing me that I wasn't alone in my grief (not that he was trying to hide it, but who really wants to dive into sadness?). It was a sweet moment that we shared and I was instantaneously brought out of my funk.
After a couple minutes of wiping tears, Tom and I gathered the kids and told them our idea for the rest of the day. They thought it was wonderful! Some of the boys did, however, start asking some questions that we assumed that they all knew the answer to - we've been celebrating Noah's short life for 8 years now, didn't they remember? It was interesting after answering their questions and watching the memorial video, that I realized that some of this information was new to them. Because the three oldest kids' memories weren't cemented yet, and to some degree still aren't (they were so little when we learned about Noah and lost him) and the younger three weren't even born yet, they didn't fully remember all of the details. We'll be retelling Noah's story for years to come until the littlest one's memory becomes permanent. Which, is kinda a nice thing.
So anyway...Tom built the raft, everybody wrote some notes (I wrote one from my parents per their request), we had a wonderful time enjoying Freddy's burgers, french fries, and custard before heading to Lake Mary. Once at Lake Mary, everybody stuck their notes into the raft, poured a little lighter fluid on it, set it on fire and pushed it out into the Lake - next year we need to learn how to shoot flaming arrows at it like they did in How To Tame Your Dragon 2. Now that would be cool!
All in all it was a very special day, shared with my very most favorite people in the world. What a joy to be blessed with such a forgiving, kind and loving husband, and six of the most wonderful kids! Take comfort, God is good!