Rose is a little cranky today. I have to admit, so am I. Today would have been my youngest brother's 43rd birthday, and instead of harassing him with cracks about his age, my family will gather to write messages on balloons to send them up "to Heaven." Sometimes I feel a small hate towards those balloons, jealous that they get to go where I cannot, but then I remember why we started sending them up in the first place.
My brother died of meningitis when Punkgirl, who was his Goddaughter, was just three months old. I named Happyboy after him, to carry on his name, but not to fill those very big shoes. Happyboy never met Big Bro...but he talks about him and remembers every story we have told him. We have kept big brother alive through our little ceremonies and through our constant chatter about the hilarious Uncle Big. It pains me every year to think that they will not experience the full force of his personality. If my mother is the heart of our family, Uncle Big was the arms that held us all together, a big goofy guy with a wicked sense of humor and a sympathetic ear for anyone who needed it.
The kids are uber-excited for today. To them it means cake, and sending the balloons, and connecting with an Uncle they never really got to meet. To me it is bittersweet...I love that they remember him this way, but it underscores that he isn't here. He was less than two years older than me, and I miss him like crazy.
But back to Rose...she is feeling a little cranky, hating the ride in the car when she has just learned to sit up. It's as if she wants to know how we can strangle her magnificent sitting skills by sticking her in that awful rear-facing car seat? We play take the binky/ drop the binky game in the car all the way to Mom's house, just to bring my stress level up to its highest peak. One thing we never skimped on was her lungs...
As we arrive at Mom's she falls asleep, as if to say "Gotcha!" but never fear, within fifteen minutes she decides she has stranger anxiety. She is wooed back to happiness through Mom's floating false teeth trick, a kid pleaser for years. Pretty soon it will be time to write on our balloons, and I realize I don't know what to write from Rose. "I miss you" doesn't fit. "I wish I had met you" is too...small. I am reminded of song lyrics, and I've got it..."I'll miss you till I meet you."
Suck-At-Home-Moms, what are your traditions for remembering those who have passed? Do they help, or do you too wish you could fly away with the balloons?