Today is Landon’s 5th birthday! We celebrated the last few days with bubbles, music, cuddles, and balloons. He is doing very well right now, and seeing him smile is a highlight of any day.

Big brother helped set the stage when it was party time by putting out a few blue and green items. Blue, for Landon.   Green, because like me, he doesn’t know how to celebrate Landon without remembering Nolan. And that’s just fine.  He even found a way to take his sister’s new Elmo letters to creatively spell their names as one. Today, one without the other just wouldn’t be right.

Looking back over the last 5 years, and even the final months of the pregnancy, I always knew that we had some hard days ahead. And I knew that if there was a window where we were celebrating a birthday for 1, that day would be among them. This is Landon’s second birthday without his brother, and this one is no easier than the last.

This is a 5 year anniversary of sorts for me too. I’ll admit I often think of my own timeline as before the twins were born and after. I’m not who I was. And among all of the things I feel, both good and bad, I feel an immense gratitude that through this God has allowed me to become stronger.  My survival is largely based on my ability to both celebrate and grieve simultaneously. To smile through tears, and to cry through smiles. Today, one without the other just wouldn’t be right.

I am thankful to have so many happy memories of Nolan, and that he isn’t suffering or declining.

I am thankful that Landon is doing so well, and that he is growing and smiling, and bringing joy to me still.

I am thankful strength is not measured by the absence of tears. But rather, those tears are just evidence of memories of that which has made us stronger.

Happy Birthday Nolan!

Happy Birthday Landon!

Someone got a taste of icing…