Saturday, July 12, 2014

Emma's First Birthday

On Wednesday, July 2, 2014 it was Emma's first birthday. In some ways July 2, 2013 feels like decades ago, and in other ways I have trouble believing its been a year since my sweet girl went to Heaven. It's all so strange and surreal.

In the days leading up to Emma's birthday I had some pretty big meltdowns. The emotion of what was coming was hard to handle. Having all of those strong emotions ahead of time left me feeling strangely peaceful on her actual birthday. My mindset was to focus on Emma as she is to me today, and the ways in which I honor and love her now. I fought hard not to let my mind wander to July 2nd a year ago, to relive and remember what that last day was like before she was born. It is too traumatic and painful, and thankfully my mind does not really let me go back there too much.

On her birthday Britt was working during the day, which left me on my own. My instinct was to stay in my pajamas all day and curl up on the couch. However, I have some very special friends who asked if they could do something with me on that day. I know that spending time honoring the birthday of your friend's child who has passed away is a hard and probably awkward thing to do, and I am so so grateful that these special women didn't let that stop them from being with me in my time of need. In the end I'm glad I wasn't alone all day. I decided to take pictures throughout the day to record how we spent the day honoring Emma.

In the morning I went out and spent a little time in Emma's butterfly garden. We have planned on expanding it for awhile now, but haven't yet. It contains black eyed susan's, a butterfly bush that was transplanted from my Grammie's garden, a butterfly feeder, a "you are my sunshine stone" that was given to us after Emma passed away, a solar butterfly light, and a new garden stone that Britt and I made.

Some of the pretty blossoms on Emma's bush.

Some of her black eyed susan's.

Three of my beautiful sweet friends came in the afternoon and brought me Chuy's for lunch. Chuy's is absolutely delicious. If you haven't been please go. I had chicken soft tacos and loads of their amazing chips with salsa and creamy jalapeƱo dip. During non-pregnant times I love getting a margarita there. They are so delicious! 

They brought a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I loved how bright and happy these sunflowers were. They were just perfect. I have a weird thing now with certain flowers reminding me of funeral flowers, but these were just right. 

They also brought this happy little butterfly wind chime. I hung it next to Emma's wind chime, both of which hang over her garden. I love sitting out there on a breezy day and hearing their songs. 

This was the cake they brought for after lunch. It couldn't have been more perfect. I just love that my girl had her very own birthday cake, and honestly I'm glad I didn't have to go through the heartache of ordering it myself. It was a strawberry cake from Pearl's Cupcake Shoppe and was absolutely delicious.

I have a serious thing for petit fours, so my sweet friend Lauren also brought these. She may be the one person I know who likes sweets more than me!

After the girls left, Scooter and I snuggled and napped on the couch until it was time for Britt to get home. I had the perfect combination of time spent with friends and time to decompress and be alone. 

After dinner Britt and I used a kit from Michael's to make a garden stone to be added to Emma's butterfly garden. I wanted something tangible that we could do and then have as a keepsake for how we honored her first birthday. 

Our finished mosaic stone in Emma's garden. 

That evening while out with Scooter I took a picture of Emma's solar butterfly light in her garden. It changes through a bright rainbow of colors. I just love it. It is so bright and happy, and just the thing that a little girl would love to have in her garden. 

A little bit later when I was out with Scooter I caught this moth having a snack at the butterfly bush. I did see several little butterflies during the day, but none that I was able to get a picture of.

The last part of our day doesn't have a picture, but at 8:56 pm, the time Emma was born, Britt and I lit a candle and each had a slice of her birthday cake. That was the hardest part of the day but also the most meaningful. I am so thankful for my husband and marriage, and the way we have supported each other through this last year. 

All things considered I was very happy with how Emma's birthday was spent. There were hard emotional moments, but also moments of peace. I had wanted to spend the day loving and celebrating my girl, rather than being weighed down with hard heavy grief, and for the most part I was able to do that. Today was the last of the hard first year milestones, as it was this time last July when we had Emma's funeral. Now we begin the year of second anniversaries. I can't believe it. 

My wish is that each of her birthdays will receive this amount of attention and love. As a parent of a child who has passed away, one of your biggest fears is that as time goes on she will be forgotten. For everyone else life continues on, but for us these rituals are all we have of our daughter. So friends, please remember and honor with us, not just in these first few years when its so fresh and new, but always. We are Emma's parents and we love when you support us in parenting her. 


  1. What a wonderful day! We went to the Butterflies Live exhibit at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden over the July 4th weekend, and it made me think of Emma. I definitely recommend it if you haven't been!

  2. Emma's birthday will never be forgotten. I'm so glad you have wonderful friends there for you when I can't be.

  3. What a perfect day to celebrate Emma. I'm a little jealous! I didn't have friends come over with food and cake on Luke's birthday and that is awesome! I'm glad the day went well and I think you made great choices in honoring Emma on her first birthday.