Up until the morning of Sunday, January 14th, I had every intention of celebrating Brady’s first birthday that day. Though he was born on the 15th, I figured that had he lived to see his first birthday, Sunday would’ve been the day we had people over to celebrate. I doubt we would have had great turnout for a party on a Monday night. However, when we woke up that day, we decided we’d rather visit and celebrate on his actual birthday.
Another loss mom friend told me she hadn’t decided what she wanted to do for her son’s first birthday until the day before, so I wasn’t alarmed by the last minute nature of our plans. Spoiler alert: they get even more last minute coming up. I also tried not to put pressure on myself to come up with a perfect tradition – and I think I did pretty good with that. I don’t think there’s any need to do the same thing each year, though you can if you find something you really love. I just didn’t want to put so much pressure on myself to come up with the “perfect” thing, because the way I see it, things will never be “perfect” because Brady will never be here to celebrate with us.
On Sunday, we had a very special gift delivered to our doorstep from some friends. I was out grocery shopping when my friend delivered it, so Jeff grabbed it off the porch. In the process, he accidentally grabbed the tissue paper and saw its contents. I was thinking we’d wait to open the gift until Brady’s actual birthday, but when I got home, Jeff shared that he’d “seen what was in the gift and wanted it for today.” That obviously piqued my interest, and we opened it. Brady got his first football! And it’s the perfect Brady Blue color. Jeff and I tossed around Brady’s football during the games that day, and it felt like our little man got to watch with us.
Though it was the 14th, and not the 15th, Sunday brought up a lot of memories from the day that Brady was born. Since Brady was born on a Sunday, in the midst of playoff football, watching those games reminded me of the day we’d spent in the hospital. During that day, I got sicker and sicker from what the doctors would soon diagnose as HELLP, and ended up in the emergency surgery that would bring Brady into the world. Brady was born during the late game (Pittsburgh vs. Kansas City), which was the same time slot that the Vikings played in this year. It might seem like a stretch, but I think that Brady and his lucky little football had something to do with the Vikings’ incredible win.
Not only did receiving Brady’s first football bring us comfort, it also got the wheels turning in Jeff’s head. When he went to Target to get an air pump (since we couldn’t find the one we’d had at the old house and Brady’s football always needs to be perfectly inflated, obviously) he saw little Vikings footballs. He decided Brady should have one for his grave too.
On Monday, we both got out of work a little early and were able to visit Brady while it was still light out. We brought him a little birthday balloon, a slice of his birthday cake, and the Vikings football. On the way to visit him, I saw a sun dog, which I very rarely get to see. I couldn’t help but feel that was Brady’s way of saying hello.
Our day finished out with cake, and Jeff and I watching TV in bed by 9:00 PM. Even days that go “well” by grief standards are totally exhausting.