This year Jess's birthday was a great one. We'd learned in previous years that picnicking on the temple grounds is rather frowned upon, so we abandoned that tradition and started a new one this year.
Maybe not my personal favorite on the list of things that are wonderful, but it certainly belongs on my kids' list of Wonderful.
So it totally works.
It felt like a celebration.
I never quite know how I'm going to feel as this day circles around each year. But this year the feeling was Family.
McKenzie told me recently that sometimes when we have an empty chair at our dinner table she thinks of Jess. I don't know how things work on the other side of the veil, but I know that Jess was sitting around this Olive Garden table with us that night. We laughed at spaghetti faces, teased about dumplings, cheered at the Coaster Flip game, and had such a genuinely great time that it made an impression on the waitress at the end of the night who whispered to me as we were leaving, "You guys have a really beautiful family."
I smiled and whispered back to her, "they truly are wonderful." And the narrative filled into my mind as I opened the heavy doors to the outside. They are wonderful... we are wonderful... because we have angels around us.
I believe we have armies of angels, really, but that night we were focused on just one.
We drove to the temple next and walked the grounds.
We talked about Jess and the impact he has on our family.
And we loved the feelings and the conversations and the energy so. much. that we stayed until dark.
My heart always breaks when I hear of a friend who joins the Stillborn Baby club. There is so much heartache and pain, and that hurt never really goes away. But in my experience, the joy gets louder and louder to the point where sometimes when I'm thinking of him, I can't hear the pain at all.