2016 was by far the worst year of our lives but in some ways I didn't want it to end. I will be honest and acknowledge how impossible these last 8 months have seemed. There are some days we weren't sure we could go another second more without you here physically with us, and the holidays forced an even wider magnifying glass on the celebrations we should be spending together. Although we avoided the stores, parties, and even our house, we weren't blind to the fact that special days were still on the faces of the rest of the world. Everyone was rushing off to their festivities but we couldn't hear the commotion through all the surreal haze.
We are FOREVER grateful for the 2 years, 2 months and 23 days you spent with us, and for all the thoughtful people who are still praying and showing us they care, but it was hard not to feel guilty on November 24th for realizing all we had lost. Strangers assume we are a "young couple" without kids, or maybe honeymooners naive in their new love, but we know we aren't the same people we were before we had you. We used to be parents who thought we had forever happily traded playing on our phones mindlessly after work and popping frozen dinners in the oven at 10pm for make believe conversations on your play phone, and cleaning up the spilled peas and carrots that fell off your "Lightning McQueen" plate. It's like we have been dropped in some foreign territory where nothing makes sense and we don't understand what's going on around us.
So, no, it has not been "the most wonderful time of the year."
I hated that the holidays would even have the audacity to arrive without you. Didn't the world know that brightest light in our house is shining wildly in spirit but the twinkling branches of our miniature tree are still stuffed in the attic? Do the shelves at Target know that some of those "choo choos," books, and Star Wars toys should've been in our basket again this year waiting for your excited face? Do the pharmacists wonder why they haven't seen the little boy who probably would have had bronchitis again this Christmas, but who never let that stop him from smiling and saying "hi" to them anyway?
We are doing our best to make you proud of us, Caleb, but sometimes I think the world could use a reminder that you never know when you will go from sitting in the living room together enjoying another peaceful morning with your family to waking up to your worst nightmare. The holidays can bring chaos wrapped in glitter, but I hope when the decorations and elves get neatly tucked away, everyone is left with the treasures that really matter.
Eight months without the center of our universe, but we will always love you and miss you no matter how many pages in the calendar are turned. Although we will not get to make any new memories with you in 2017, we will not leave you behind in 2016. We will continue to talk about you and to encourage others to do the same. We will be watching patiently (or not so patiently sometimes) for your undeniable signs to let us know you are still with us in spirit. When it seems cruel of the sun to rise on a new day, we will do our best to remember all the miraculous ways people have been touched by the love of one small boy, and how once upon a time one small boy brought miracles and rose again on a new day, too.
I love you so much, Angel Baby. I always will.
Someday we will get to spend these days together again and we will never be apart.