Five years ago today, we met our firstborn.
It feels like a thousand years ago, and yesterday, all at once.
This past weekend, we celebrated Hudson’s beautiful but short life with close family. I want for Hudson’s brother and sister to always associate July 11 with celebration instead of grief, so every year, I make Hudson an elaborately decorated birthday cake and share it with those who shared those three awful/wonderful days with us in Spokane.
We have very large pictures of Hudson on the walls of our home, and have never been shy about talking about Anson’s big sister. Now three years old, Anson is beginning to have some small concept of mortality. While decorating Hudson’s birthday cake this year, Anson asked who the birthday cake was for. I told him it was for his sister.
“No, this cake is for your big sister, Hudson.”
“When is she coming over?”
“Oh honey, Hudson isn’t going to be coming over.”
Ugh. I quickly contemplated the various forms of response that I could serve up to my 3-year-old to explain where Hudson is and why she can’t come to her own birthday party. She’s in heaven crossed my mind as perhaps the rosiest of responses, but instead I just shot him straight.
“Because, Anson. Hudson died.”
No sugar-coating or fairytale-ing it.
Anson looked at me for a moment as if he knew this meant something important, then returned to decorating the frosting patch I had given him to distract from decorating the real cake.
During story time before his nap, Anson looked up at me and said “I’m so disappointed that Hudson died.”
Me too, buddy.
At bedtime, it felt important to include Hudson in our night-night tradition of “With — in the family, happy happy home”. A heavy-lidded, PJed Anson interrupted me mid-verse:
“Hudson’s not here anymore, but she’s still in the family.”
Well put, my wise little man. While Hudson’s not here anymore, she is still our first-born, the first to make the Hubs and I parents, a true heartbreaker who didn’t get much time with us, but somehow still managed to change the world.
My sister-in-law has a grandmother who is turning 101 while we celebrate what would have been Hudson’s 5th birthday. Think of what Hudson could have accomplished with 101 years. She moved mountains in just 3 days.
And while she’s not here to blow out the candles on her rainbow layered birthday cake, to rule the house and boss her little brother and sister around, to sass and dance and skin her knees and sneak a lick of frosting from the bowl, she’s still in the family. I see her in the beautiful blue eyes of her siblings. I hear her in their belly laughs. She’s the extra squeeze in our goodnight hugs.
She’s in those moments when we stop doing what we think is important and focus on what is truly important.
Happy birthday, girlie.