one more

I did something I shouldn’t have the other morning. And it’s tearing me up inside.
Kate and I were playing with Ryder and trying to get him to roll over from his back to his front. These days he is enthralled with the cell phone and mini iPad. If I’m holding him and typing something or reading, he just stares and reaches for it. Of course, I don’t let him play on it. He really just wants to chew on it to soothe his gums.
So, Kate and I were showing him a video of Kate in the hopes of it motivating his little body to stretch and reach for it and ultimately roll over. It wasn’t working, but we were practicing. I left the room for a moment and soon overheard, “One more. One more.” coming from the phone.
It was Jackson. Kate was watching a video I filmed of Jackson the day before he moved to Heaven. He was chasing her at the bus stop, begging for one more kiss before she got on the school bus.
I immediately said in an exasperated tone, “Kate, can we please not watch that right now. Turn it off. I can’t handle it.” As swiftly as it rolled off my tongue, I wanted to jump up and catch my words in mid-air before they touched Kate’s ears. 
She quickly turned off the video and ran away from me. She jumped on her bean bag, hid under her blanket and started crying. I knew I made a big mistake, and I am so mad at myself.
Next month marks two years since Jackson left us to be with Jesus. Kate is sad and hurts too. But we all grieve differently, and for her watching those videos could be helpful. Or maybe watching those videos makes her heart smile. Who am I to stop her? 
The last thing I need or want is for her to not want to talk about Jackson or watch videos or look at pictures of him. I certainly don’t want her to be scared or worried to watch them in front of me. One of the things that gives me the greatest joy these days is when she does include Jackson in family drawings or when she prays to him or talks about him. Those instances are fewer and father between these days, so it’s extra special when she does. Why would I ever do anything to possibly stop that?
I knew I needed to apologize and talk to her right away. I did, and I can promise, I will do everything in my power not to make that same mistake twice.
From the outside looking in, I think most people think, “It’s been two years. They’re all better. They have Ryder now. Everything is ok.”
It’s not, and it never will be. I still can’t watch those videos. We have pictures of Jackson scattered all over the house, but most of the time when I walk by them, I look down so as not to see them. It hurts too bad. I know it’s been almost two years, but the pain never goes away.
I can’t believe it’s March already. April is quickly approaching. Most people are looking forward to spring and are ready to say good-bye to winter. I am too. But I’m dreading April. 
My anxiety kicked into high gear last month because as April approaches, so does Jackson’s Angel Day and Fourth Birthday. (My heart skips a beat when I type that or say it. Four. How can he be four?) I should be planning a fourth birthday party. I should be thinking about the kind of cake he’d like. Should we have a party with all his friends? Or a small family affair? What kind of games should we play? Should we have a pinata? Some kids this age are still napping, so we need to have it at a good time to accommodate them. 
I should be thinking about all of these things, but I’m not. Instead I’m trying to figure out how we acknowledge Jackson’s Angel Day then celebrate his birthday the next. It’s a difficult balance. 
Individually, they are very tough days. And for us they are back to back, which makes it harder. Painstakingly hard. And I hate it. 
Jackson’s Angel Day is a day that I will play back the events from two years ago, minute by minute. I can tell myself not too. I can try and stay busy that day to keep my mind off of it, but it’s inevitable. What I would love to do on this day is send Kate off to school and then curl up in a ball in my bed and cry. All day. Ryder won’t stand for that, and that’s a good thing. I’m glad I am needed. I need to be needed. 
But on April 21, I want to celebrate. Kate thinks we should have a pirate party. I don’t know if she thinks he would be into that right now or what. Maybe we will. Maybe the four of us will all wear pirate bandana’s and eye patches and sing “Happy Birthday” to Jackson. We’ll stand on the top of the hill behind our house and remember our little buddy who brought so much happiness and light into our world. We’ll light a lantern and send it high into the sky, and hope it reaches him. As we watch the lantern’s light fade into the night sky, we will all wish for “one more”. One more hug. One more kiss. One more moment.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7