Sweet 16, another milestone

Sweet 16, another milestone

As a new parent, you spend much of your time worried for the futures of your children, yet getting excited at pending milestones. As time goes on, you dare to romanticise about those big days yet, equally deny yourself the thought and feel the guilt for wishing the time away!! With the exception of turning 13, the 16th birthday is considered a big deal for our children. Not quite adults, but old enough to take on responsibility, work and of course, thinking they are wise as they’ve almost finished their school years.. I always imagined that there would be a joint party to organise for my two,..at the time I hadn’t considered that parties were no longer the ‘done’ thing..neither had I considered that there would only be one of my twins I would be preparing to celebrate….

We imagine all sorts of futures for our children, but never the one I am living, never the one that doesn’t exist.

This year has been a tough one, not only has it been 10 years since Harry died (not sure of the significance of 10, in reality every day, every year is the same in terms of grief, pain, outcome, tragedy,,. But 10 is a milestone!! Just not the sort you want to mark!) but it’s also the year my first born turn 16.

Every year we have been at home for Jessica and Harry’s birthday, and sometimes we will visit Harry’s resting place on his birthday and sometimes a day later (all depending on what we collectively decide. It was, and still is, important to me for Jessica’s birthday to be about her birthday, and not about how Harry can’t celebrate his birthday so until she was old enough to decide, we didn’t take her to visit Harry on her birthday. She is now old enough to choose if and when!)

This year is different. We made a change. We chose to travel away from home, further from home than we’ve ever been before. There’s no choice on whether we visit, it has been taken out of our hands.., by us! We visited before we went away and will no doubt go again upon our return. We may even buy something while were away, for Harry.

Can you imagine never buying your child a gift for their birthday?? Not watching the anticipation on their face when they feast their eyes on the gift wrapped parcels, eager to feel what’s inside before the neat package becomes ripped at the seams..?! I do that, I do that every year, I don’t need to imagine it. Every bereaved parent knows that sadness, regret and finality of failed birthdays…and again the longing and mourning that replaces the celebration. I feel rather lucky at times, though, because I can still celebrate Harry’s birthday, with Jessica at the very forefront of it. The decision to be away from home was not to avoid the inevitable, to escape, not from Harry’s birthday anyway, it was to escape everyday life, to be in the moment when it matters the most.

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