Today we celebrated our son, Patrick’s, 4th birthday. Four. If I’m being honest, I think this has been the toughest birthday yet. I’ve very much felt the pull of life moving on without him, so today has been rough.

I almost didn’t take Stitch to “school” this morning.

We were very late, but we made it. I dressed her in the giraffe and elephant shirt I’d bought in two different sizes because it’s just too perfect. See, Patrick is our little giraffe, and she’s our little elephant. I adore this shirt, because the giraffe is saying to the elephant, “Stay wild.” I love the thought that her brother is sending her messages.

At school the theme for the month of April is “Family.” In today’s craft, the kiddos made handprints to represent their families. Her teacher handed me the orange paint. Usually, I’d ask to trade for purple, but today the orange was perfect. Orange has become Patrick’s color.

When the teacher asked for sibling names to add, I proudly said, “She has a brother, Patrick.” It felt good to be able to say his name in her class today, especially on his birthday, and to include him in her family portrait.

Delivering Books in Patrick’s Name

After Stitch’s class, we headed into Boston to meet my husband so we could deliver 100 Usborne Books & More books, donated in Patrick’s memory, to the child life department at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children.

After dinner we had a little birthday celebration.

We put four candles in our traditional key lime pie and sang Happy Birthday. There was a bit of drama tracking down the key lime pie, as the store where we normally buy them apparently went out of business. But, we tracked one down, and Lloyd picked it up in Boston to bring home.

Tonight, as we put Stitch to bed, she started singing Happy Birthday again. At the end, she clapped and said, “Happy Birthday, Patrick,” and the tears filled my eyes for the 117th time today.

Four years since he silently slipped into the world. Time keeps marching, but mama still misses her sweet boy. Happy Birthday, Patrick. We love you, and we miss you.

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