This is the week.
I knew my joy-grief was packed tightly into this month, but the alignment of the calendar brings that so into focus this year. One week to mark birth birth death.
Sunday Kathleen turns three.
Thursday Elizabeth turns one.
And Saturday Henry will have been gone four years.
We have a busy, but low key week planned.
Tomorrow evening, if we can, a train ride through the park to see the lights. A cupcake she doesn't have to share. A gift. Monday birthday dinner with neighbors. Tuesday more cake with friends. Thursday. Oh, my. I haven't planned anything special for Elizabeth's actual birthday. More cake? Something to open (her real gift will be blueberry bushes, as was Kathleen's on her first birthday, though they have yet to be planted). Poor second/third child. I was okay with not giving her a big party, but perhaps, I should do something to mark that day.
All I knew was I didn't want a birthday party that day, for my girls or anyone else. It was one thing I didn't think I could handle. But we got invited to two holiday parties. We could easily have bowed out of either, but we're going to both. Part of reclaiming this month. Part of reclaiming our lives. And right now, it feels okay, good even. I need to go to the cemetery in the morning, so that we we head out in the evening and drive by his grave, I'll have been there already.
The next day, the 18th we start the Christmas cycle.
But first, this jam-packed week.
And to start that week, a birthday.