Matthew’s Sweet 16

Here we are again, the end of another January and Matthew’s birthday is less than a week away. This is never an easy time for Mike and I, but this year brings a different challenge with it. The Pandemic and social distancing have made it harder to stay busy. The past few years, I have had not only my yoga practice, but also the studio and teaching to keep my mind and body moving and occupied. There was an outlet for the emotions and thoughts that are harder to carry before our sweet boy’s special day. While I have been practicing at home, it is harder and harder to stay motivated without being able to escape to the safe space of the studio. With a job I loved and a schedule of classes, there were set times that I had be out and about. Without that, it is easy to find myself comfortable and procrastinating. Added to that, I have never been someone that sleeps well, with some nights, not sleeping at all, which can make days seem very long. That is a lot of time to be missing Matthew.

The other night (one of those long, sleepless ones), I could have sworn that I heard “Mom” being called out from the hallway outside my door. Once upon a time, this was something that was a very common occurrence as Matthew would get out of bed several times a night and call from the hallway to be scooped up and brought into bed. While I know that it was in my head, it was so real in the moment and the memories flooded in. With the memories, came the intense feeling of grief as if the loss was brand new. I began to think about the sound of the voice that I “heard”. It was the voice of my little boy. When it began to set in that I had imagined it, I realized that my sweet boy would be 16 this year. His voice would be different by now, deeper, just like his friends’ have become. He would be taller and more grown up looking, and I am hit with the reality that I will never get to know what he would have grown up to be. I don’t get to know what movies or toys or music that he would have liked. Would he finally have “beards” like his daddy? Would he be taller than me by now? Before this year, my feelings would have been just as strong and just as hard, but I would have had somewhere to be in the morning and could work through the emotions and replace them with the business of the day. This year, there was nothing stopping me from staying home and sinking into the grief.

If he was still here, I would have loved being able spend so much time at home with him during quarantine. There are days that he would have made me crazy and I would have been exhausted, but I would have been able to snuggle with him and hear his silly laugh and I would have known how lucky I was. They say that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone, but for me, that’s not true. I always knew how lucky I was to have that little munchkin.

Even with the social distancing, which I know he would have hated, he still would have loved his birthday. He was all about a day that was just for him. We would have come up with a special way to celebrate him and his big birthday. I’m sure that his wish would have been the same as it always was when he blew out his candles, that his “friends were here”. So my hope is that his friends think about him this year on his birthday and maybe share some stories or memories about him with each other. Mike and I will absolutely still make the day about him and do our very best to keep our mood high as we celebrate our sweet boy. And after the day is over, we will work to get motivated again to “keep moving forward” (a nod to Meet the Robinsons, one of Matthew’s favorite movies) until March, when we have to brace ourselves again for another tough day.

If you are lucky enough to have meet Matthew, please spend some time thinking about him on February 2nd and maybe share a story with someone that never met him. If you are reading this and you did not have the opportunity to meet this amazing boy, please feel free to read more of my blog posts or stories from our Facebook page. I’m sure that you will find something to make you smile. Wether you knew him or not, please do something nice for someone on February 2nd and fill someone’s bucket in his honor. Help us keep his love going!

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