Happy 11th Birthday Caleb


I was really resisting the balloon launch this year…

I was looking for something a little different…

But we went ahead with it anyways, and I’m so glad we did…

It ‘s just us, you know?

It’s just how we remember.

And it fits.

We went to Buck or Two and got 4 helium balloons with birthday wishes on them.

And one for Elijah to bring home – because helium balloons are just fun to have around, so he tells me. And why not anyways?

I drive to a different spot, because I’m still trying to change things up, still trying to change things, always wishing it was different somehow.

But we get to the different spot and all I do is wish we were at our “usual” spot.

So my very understanding boys tell me it’s alright if we just keep driving – back to the place that is just us, the place that just fits.

Josh isn’t with us this year, he’s out of town at a conference, he called me earlier from the cemetary.

The conference was close enough to Caleb’s resting spot that he was able to drive right there.

He brought flowers for his boy and cupcakes.

I’m not sure if it was good for Josh to be there today, he’s still processing so differently than me.

We try to love each other and understand each other in the grief that will always linger.

We do our best, and it’s OK as long as we keep doing our best.

Josh wonders who will win our Who can spot the balloon the longest? contest this year – because Eagle Eye Josh always wins.

I know it won’t be me, because the optometrist informed me just after turning 40 that it’s all downhill from here in terms of eyesight.

I guess I’ll never win this contest.

Ah well.

The two boys I am raising climb out of the van at the park and we each grab a balloon to release at our leisure, in our own time, in our own way.

And the last balloon we’ll release together.

I sing Happy Birthday like I always do and I kiss the balloon.

Then I watch it soar along with Josiah’s balloon.


Elijah saves his release for another minute or two, then lets the balloon loose.

It gets caught in a tree for a few minutes, not wanting to go.

I get it.

I wish Caleb would have stayed too.

I wish I was watching him blow out candles and open presents with us.

I wish things were different.

Just like I want something different every year, something other than these balloon launches.

But I am grateful to have these, at least these, anything of Caleb, anything we can do together.


The balloon breaks loose, helium balloons aren’t meant to linger when they are released.

Off it goes, up to heaven, up to our Caleb on his 11th birthday.


One balloon remains, and these two boys and I grab hold of the string, then we let it go a moment later.



We all watch the balloons soar out of sight – I can still see a couple of them…

Can you?


Josiah is the new Eagle Eye champion, but I’m sure Josh will reclaim the crown next year.

Then again, he just turned 40 as well.

Us old folks might have to make way for the young ‘uns.

I look around at the beauty of the place, our “usual” spot, and I think how blessed I am to live here…


The clouds were really giving us a show today as well…


Yes, I wish it all was different…

I always will…

Some things just never change.

Loving you forever angel boy…

Happy Birthday Caleb.


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