It was around 11:30 on Sunday night when I started to feel that all too familiar sting…the cyclical sting that comes on those special days and anniversaries. I realized that exactly 3 years before that very moment I had been getting prepped for my cesarean. I had unexpectedly gone into labor at 31 weeks 5 days with the triplets and my OB saw that my babies were coming whether I was ready or not.
While I do feel the joy of celebrating another year with Heath and Reese, I also mourn the unmet hopes and dreams for Hayes. It is hard to balance those emotions of both happiness and grief. As another year comes, I realize that I have to prepare and plan for the babies birthday regardless of how heartbroken I feel and I will have to, year after year.
I made the mental decision that I was going to make their birthday memorable and celebrate Hayes along with them. I knew I wanted a pirate and mermaid birthday party so I asked my amazingly talented friend, Elly, to use her creative genius and somehow incorporate Hayes into that theme. What she came up with truly took my breath away. Each layer represented one of the triplets starting with mermaid Reese then pirate Heath and topping it off with sweet angel Hayes looking down on them both from the clouds. It was beautiful and it was the perfect way to set the mood for the babies party. It was everything I could have hoped for!
I continue to find myself looking down the road, though. Imagining the new future that inevitably is on the horizon. As the babies interests change each year and progress with their age, I will continue to celebrate Hayes with his favorite things, Elmo and Daniel Tiger. I can already see their future parties filled with soccer balls and ballet slippers and sweet Hayes will always be represented with his Elmo balloons and green stuffed animal. I hold onto the hope that Hayes will always be my forever baby until I can raise him in Heaven.
I desperately hold onto what I imagine about that one day when I pass on. Hayes will be waiting for me, whole and healthy, toddling on his frog legs in a grassy field. He will only feel like he has been away from me for a short time. And the sweet joy that I feel in the imagery of that reunion is what keeps me going every day. He is going down slides, digging for bugs and getting dirty knees as he waits for me in Heaven. He hardly misses me with how busy he is! Although, I have a feeling he was there with us when we sang Happy Birthday to the triplets and blew out the candle. Of course he was there, he is a Tate triplet forever!