I think I’ve spent the past 7 birthdays fretting over how best to celebrate, commemorate and acknowledge such an important baby while simultaneously grieving that she’s not here with us. I don’t just mean “important” because she’s MY baby and I’ve experienced that profound maternal love for her. She really was important to so many people. Every so often I step back, slack jawed at the masses of people that became captivated with her story, her sweetness and her extraordinary personality. She touched A LOT of lives.
I think for the most part, we have adjusted to life without Nora’s physical presence, but that is not to imply that it is easy. We talk about her and think about her every single day. She still is and always will be very much a part of our family.
In the days leading up to and on what would have been Nora’s 9th birthday (WHAT?!?), I received some pretty amazing winks from heaven. The first were the 3 geese that flew over the highway and right “through” a rainbow spot in the sky as I was about to pass the cemetery. Were I not driving I would have tried to have taken a photo. But perhaps that was one of those winks that was meant for only me to see. The next happened again while I was driving, but I had to circle back and get a picture — because I just couldn’t believe my eyes. I was driving along, thinking about Nora. I audibly sighed, “I miss you, baby girl.” At that EXACT moment, I glanced over and saw a tenant panel of a sign that said, “MILK & BEANS”
My eyes flooded with tears. I imagined us talking for her in her voice, “Dat place sounds kinda nice! I kinda like milks n beanz!!” Yeah. Milk and beans. She loved her milkies and her Tupperware container of dried beans. She loved to swipe those beans off of her Bumbo tray and all over our living room.
Seeing that literal SIGN at that precise moment was inexplicable and brought me so much joy! I bet she has all of the best milks and beans that she could ever want up in heaven!
Yesterday on Nora’s actual birthday Gavin went with me to the Bonbonerie to pick out a cake for the party. On the way there Gavin commented, “We should have angel foodcake for her!” I agreed that angel foodcake would be perfect, and said we’d have to remember that for next year. It was later in the day, so I wasn’t expecting a huge selection to be left at Bonbonerie. Upon seeing the line out the door when we got there, I figured we might have a chance at some pretty cookies and that would probably be about it — which was totally fine. We didn’t have to wait too terribly long. (The “socially distanced” lines always appear longer than they actually are.) Once inside, it was indeed slim pickins. My eyes were immediately drawn to the tray of beautiful bluebird cookies behind the glass — those would be perfect! Gavin made his way over to a shelf of prepackaged cookies and tarts and pastries. “Hey look!” he exclaimed, “Angel foodcake!!” And there they were, only 4 little cakes left, dusted in powdered sugar with pretty yellow icing flowers on top. How absolutely perfect. An angel foodcake and two sets of 3 little birds were purchased before we made our way back home. Thank You, God! 🌼 What a sweetly specific surprise!
The last uncanny wink happened as I was in the car in the driveway waiting for William. He decided to come with me for a last minute trip to the grocery before guests arrived. I picked up my phone to check the time. It was not only 4:17 on 4/17 — but the random song that was playing took my breath away. “Thinking of You.” Of course I was thinking of her — but was she thinking of me too? Wow. My eyes welled up with tears again.
As in years past, we decorated the kitchen with the same decorations we used for Nora’s two birthdays while she was here with us. The invitation to family was last minute, so not everyone could make it, but those who were there made the day extra special. We talked about Nora, sang Happy Birthday to her, watched some cute videos, and we laughed and we cried.
Such a special and important little old soul she was. Her time on this earth was brief, but she left behind so so much. Sooo many life lessons, so many precious memories, all while pointing us in the right direction, toward the Author of her life, of all life and of LOVE.
Happy birthday to you, my squishy Lady Baby! Enjoy your heavenly milkies and beans!
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)