On my boys’ birthday

Originally posted on Facebook, January 16, 2018

Today is Thomas and Jude’s birthday. Thomas is four, and Jude isn’t, and the reality of this is awful.

I’ve been sitting on this post all morning, wishing for the right words. They aren’t coming. I miss my boy. I hate that Isla and Thomas had to learn about loss at such a young age in such a big way. I’m watching Thomas grow and I’m constantly in awe of the ways he’s learning and changing. He blows me away every single day.

And I look at him, and I look at Isla who is so tall now, so funny and clever and a complete privilege to share our lives with. They’re both growing into wonderful kids who Craig and I are enormously proud of, and it’s all you could ever want in your children.

They keep getting bigger, funnier, more aware of the world around them. And Jude never will. It gets harder all the time to imagine what Jude would be like now, running around with his brother and sister who he loved so much. His life was cut short so soon.

I see it all the time. ‘Stop growing.’ ‘Can’t they stay little forever?’

No, they can’t. And I get it, because they’re adorable and amazing when they’re little. But how desperately I wish I could have seen all of the nexts and firsts and new things that waited for Jude ahead of him. The tiny versions of my kids were adorable, but it’s the rest that life is made of. Love them. Hug them. Document the moments because they’ll go fast and you’ll love looking back on them. And embrace every next step. They’re supposed to get bigger and louder and take up more space, and eventually move on and leave your home. I promise you that you want that. Cherish it and anticipate the adventures ahead.

Jude will be two forever. He won’t wake up to birthday balloons like his brother and sister do. He won’t eat any more Mickey Mouse cupcakes. He won’t play t-ball in the summer or start kindergarten in the fall. He’s just gone, and I miss him.

Today, on his birthday, I’m asking you to make sure you’re doing everything you can to prevent the spread of the flu. If you haven’t already and you’re medically able, get the flu shot. This season is rough and the shot isn’t an ideal match, but it can still prevent cases and reduce the severity for people who get the flu after the shot. It saves lives.

Stay home if you’re sick. No school or work until you’re 24 hours symptom-free without medication. If a sick kid had stayed home from school, Jude would still be alive. No one wants what you have, and no one wants to take what you have home to their families or friends or the person sitting next to them on the bus.

Wash your hands frequently, at least eight times a day, and avoid touching your face. Clean frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs, counters, and keyboards. Cover your coughs and sneezes. The flu can spread up to 6′ away through talking. Be aware of that.

These all seem like little things, but all of these little things can mean the difference between life and death for people around you. Do your part. Protect yourself and every other person you come in contact with. It might mean someone keeping a lifetime of birthdays ahead.

Happy birthday, Thomas.
Happy birthday, Jude.

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