Your birthday was on Sunday, so I celebrated on Saturday with dinner from the Cheesecake Factory. I also had a slice of Oreo Cheesecake in your honor-it was delicious! Sunday I took a drive into the mountains so I could experience the beauty of autumn and see God's hands through the myriad of colors displayed in the trees and bushes. I know I shouldn't have skipped church, but I know He will understand. I needed the quiet and solace of the mountains to give me the adequate time to think about you on your very special day.
Immediately upon waking Saturday morning, my thoughts were filled with the memory of going to the hospital and giving birth to you. It was a frightening, exciting, spiritual, painful, and loving experience all rolled into one. The months spent carrying you within me, my own body gifting its nutrients to grow you, the months of morning sickness, and feeling your unrelenting kicks into my sides, created a bond that I feel is as strong now as it was the day you were born. Even though death separates us, the bond we created binds us together now.
I reserve your birthday as a day off to allow my mind the time to think about who you could have been today. Ballerina, singer, actor, dancer, athlete? Potential filled your tiny little body and I was so bursting with excitement to see what you would do in this world. As I looked through the pictures and items I have of you, I noticed your long fingers (a gift from your father) and I wondered if you would have the same gift as your father for playing the piano. I have a feeling you would have been amazing as he was at singing with all those times you filled our tiny apartment with your cries. I watched videos of you kicking your legs, rolling over, and pulling yourself up off the floor into a standing position. With those athletic abilities I hope you would have given dancing a chance for me and given soccer a chance for your dad. I have a feeling you would have excelled at anything you would have tried.
One of my favorite photos of you is the one where, on your own, you clasped your hands tightly together as if you were praying. I imagine you would have a close relationship with God and you would be working hard on getting your young woman's medallion. I'm sure you'd be very interested in boys and very excited about the prospect of dating in a few years. I know you'd probably have had to get braces or glasses, you'd finally be getting your ears pierced, and you'd be begging me to take you clothes shopping.
I am sure you watched me as I brought your baby clothes up to my face to feel their softness and breathe in-hoping to catch some small scent of you. The years have taken away the sweet smell of your infancy however, and has now taken on the smell of the cedar box I store them in. Holding those clothes brought a flash of many memories you made in them. The familiar pain of separation, my constant companion when I think of you, quickly brought tears to my eyes. Before it overwhelmed me, I refolded them and put them tidily back into their container that remains at the foot of my bed.
Before retiring for the day I knelt down to pray. I prayed for peace and comfort to fill my soul on your birthday and that you would feel of my deep love for you. Satisfied with my prayer, I quickly got into my bed and fell asleep while looking forward to my mountain trip on Sunday.
Sunday began with a brilliant sunrise. Beautiful white puffy clouds filled the sky with broad breaks of fluorescent blue sky. I quickly made my way out of Boise towards my mountain retreat for my day to be with you. As I drove I was a little disappointed because of the dried yellow grass that seemed to paint the entire landscape but I marveled at the transformation the land made as I traveled to McCall. The rolling yellow hills soon give way to steep and rocky mountain faces. Still the yellow color seemed to be everywhere and I felt like my trip to see the beauty of autumn wasn't going to materialize. It wasn't too far outside of Horseshoe Bend that I came around a corner and saw my first stand of tall pines, green and full of life, standing out starkly among all the yellow. The thought crossed my mind how they point toward their maker much like the steeple of a church does. It wasn't long before I came around a bend in the road that was exploding with fall colors. Reds, greens, golds, oranges, and yellows glowed amongst the deep green of the pine trees behind them. The sun that streamed between the breaks in the clouds illuminated them even more making some of the colors so bright it was as if God had taken a highlighter and drawn it across their leaves. I gushed with excitement for the entire day as every corner seemed to dim the last with its colorful display.
I made my way slowly toward McCall, trying to enjoy every beautiful scene. I stopped several times along the bubbling Payette river that cuts the way from McCall to Boise. The sound of the water as it tumbled over the rocks brought such a feeling of peace to my soul. The glittering quaking aspens along the way sprinkled their golden leaves into the gentle breeze as I drove past, making me think they were aware of my passing and the reason I was there. I rolled my windows down and was amazed at the sweet freshness of the air and how it seemed to refresh my spirit with every breath. I looked above at the brilliant sunshine that was peeking out behind the clouds and was amazed to see almost a iridescent quality to them. The white clouds shimmered with pink and purple, like the surface of a bubble does. It is too hard now to remember everything I saw that day but each was a gift to my soul and an answer to my prayer on this sacred mountain trip.
As I have reflected over my day with you, I have come to realize this. I spent the day looking for the beauty of God's creations, partly as a distraction to feeling the sadness of our separation, but ended up seeing you in everything! I became emotional many times on our trip, at first out of sadness but then changing to gratitude for the wonderful gift it is to be your mother and for the angel daughter I have that is there to protect, guide, and comfort me in my times of need. I write this letter to you, my dear Sage, feeling overwhelmed with the love I know God has for me and you. I know He answered my prayer to be comforted and to be filled with peace on your birthday, and I know He has expressed to you my love. Happy Birthday Sage! I look forward with eagerness to the day we will be reunited!