Although all days are significant, some days are certainly more significant than others and Saturday was such a day for me.
Saturday, in the lives of each of my boys, was a good and significant day. Saturday morning my goalie child got his first "big team" shut out, which means he didn't allow the other team to score any goals on him at all. It also means I owe him twenty bucks. He was very, very proud.
9 extended family members, many of whom barely know Greg, came out to watch his game at an out of town tournament. He scored on an amazing play, was awarded player of the game (MVP), broke his stick, got a penalty and overall impressed his fans. He was very, very proud.
Eric's team struggled at home going down 3-0 early in the game before coming back and tying a team they have struggled against all year. Again, in the life of a 12 year old boy, a good and significant day.
Saturday was also my Nan's 84th birthday. I called to wish her a happy birthday from the home of my cousin, while holding my cousin's precious son I was meeting for the first time. This baby, also my Nan's 8th great-grandson.
A happy day you think? Yet we all choked back tears because Saturday was also the 9th anniversary of my aunt's death.
My aunt, the mother of the now 20 year old cousin on whose couch I sat, who was not very long ago, a terrified 11 year old little girl who cried in my arms the day I took her to the funeral home and held her as she saw her mommy laid out on a gurney and got to say goodbye.
My aunt, my Nan's precious, much loved, youngest daughter. Her friend. The daughter that called her every day. The daughter that loved the family dinners, the parties we held. The daughter that remembered her mother's birthday every year with special gifts and wonderful acts of thoughtfulness.
My aunt, grandmother to the baby I held. Grandmother to his brother, still a baby himself. Boys that will never know her laugh or the way she could sing a song at every occasion. Boys who won't know that their grandma would have spoilt them with gifts and worried endlessly about their mom.
My aunt. My friend. My fill-in mother when I needed one. Gone 9 years. My boys came home weeks before her death. She was coming to spend Christmas with us, and died a month before. She never met my boys. She never met her grandsons.
My aunt, killed; suddenly, tragically, accidentally on her mother's 75 birthday. 9 Years Ago.
It was a day of significance. And I don't understand why sometimes God, or fate or happenstance so intimately ties together days that you can never forget. We will never forget my Nan's birthday, and because of that, will never forget the day my Aunt died.
And I find my heart filling up with dread for the days ahead because in an awful twist of fate I too share my birthday with a lost "daughter". The baby girl I loved and cherished and held for a year before she was suddenly gone from our lives. The baby girl I could never forget if I ever tried. My baby girl, even if just for a time, even if just in my heart.
Because THAT baby girl and I share a birthday. And I dread it. Once again, after the rush of Christmas and the joy and the expectation comes the weight of another January. Of another birthday. A birthday shared once but now always, forever, apart. She will be 3. I will be 35. I have a lifetime of birthdays ahead to dread.
There is no more joy in my Nan's birthday because of the reminder of the horrific loss we all suffered on that awful November day 1997.
My birthday is also no longer mine. I don't want it to be mine. Instead, this year, as last, I will run away and forget.