I should first say, I did nothing. It wasn't because I didn't want to do something. It was more because it was impossible for me to do something. I think I was just lost. I literally thought about it a lot, (trust me) and since I normally do all the planning and prep for the parties if I didn't do it, it wasn't getting done. At one point maybe two days away from Charlie's birthday I called my mom in tears and explained that I didn't know what to do. She assured me I had nothing to worry about and she would take care of it. So I stopped trying to make myself plan something. I stopped feeling guilty for not having everyone over to celebrate with a big party or whatever you do on days like that. I just decided whatever we did would be great and I couldn't change our situation.
Now as you read you'll know the entire day was made possible by my sweet family and dear friends. I will never forget the perfect way Charlie was honored and remembered and celebrated. My family took incredible care of me and my heavy heart that day beginning with a special delivery for Macy and Johnny and breakfast delivered by my mom from my sweet sister that was away on vacation. It was the perfect start!
While we enjoyed breakfast and John and I tried to figure out how to act and what to do with ourselves we were instructed to come on outside. It was John, Macy, Johnny, and I along with our parents. This is when my mom announced we were splitting up into two teams; the boys and the girls. She explained that Charlie J. Gesenhues was 17 letters and for each letter of Charlie's name we had a small gift or treat to pass out to someone else. We divided up the acts of kindness and then headed on our way. Let me just say that there is no possible way to do something for someone else and not be lifted up. All day I felt a natural smile come to my face (without me having to force it) when I was able to give something to someone else. You get to see (and receive) a smile or an unexpected emotion when you do something for someone else and it's an incredible feeling. I am so glad this was how we celebrated his birthday. The care and time my mom put into gathering everything, making gift bags, printing pictures and signs for each gift, and then calling to check on the delivery and timing was amazing; more than amazing. I was blown away. I will forever be grateful that she took care of planning Charlie's first birthday when I wasn't able to.
As we drove around town delivering a little bit of "Charlie love" to different people I saw sweet reminders of my Charlie. Single blue balloons were spread all over town in some very special places. (If you haven't heard the story of Charlie's balloon I will share it someday.) There were actually 17 of them to be exact and three very special friends decided to wake up extra early that morning to tie them all over town. It was just another indication of how much Charlie is loved and how special he is to so many people in our lives.
Another HUGE blessing that day was the stack of birthday cards for Charlie I received when we returned from our adventures. My sister had arranged that everyone send her a card that she would then share with me on Charlie's birthday. I am overwhelmed by the kindness I read in those cards. I have no words. Truly.
So, this feels like a rambling mess of words (and at some point I want to share what each letter represented and so much more about that day) but I wanted to make sure that I wrote how truly blessed I felt to feel joy on a day that you should feel joy. I will always be thankful for each of you that played a part in Charlie's first birthday, even if it was just a prayer. I felt them, every last one of them. I laid down that night and as soon as my head hit the pillow I was asleep. It was a good day and it was a good night of sleep too.