Happy Birthday buddy! Today you would be turning 2 if you were still with us. You would probably be speaking to us pretty easily and starting potty training tomorrow, This would probably be the first occasion in your life in which you would have actually cared to some extent what gifts you got for your birthday. I bet you would be loving playing with your siblings now, and really getting into wrestling with your dad.
I wish I could tell you just how much I still love you, and how much I miss you. It’s been just over six months since you left us and so much has happened. After we laid you to rest, we returned to Mexico to finish up our mission work in Juarez. From there we went back to the states to await the birth of your younger brother. He was born on January 7, almost 4 months to the day after you passed away. His name is John Ezekiel, after John the Baptist who went before the Lord to prepare his way and the Ezekiel is of course after you who went before us and are helping us on our way! He looks a lot like you. He has longer dark hair like you did when you were born, but I can see the blonde roots, so I am sure he will end up a blondie just like you 🙂
We also felt God calling us to begin a new mission in Peru, so here we are! It’s beautiful here. There are coconut, cacao, mango, papaya, orange, cherry and a billion other types of trees all over the place. The sky is so blue, and the greenery is soooooo green!!!!! I wish you were here to enjoy it with us. Maybe you are . . . I don’t know what you can do with us now that you are living in heaven. I wonder if it’s even close to as beautiful as where you live.
I had been wondering what we could possibly do to celebrate your birthday, if we could in fact celebrate at all. It’s not exactly fun to think of celebrating when the guest of honor can’t be present. Nevertheless, we will celebrate! We will eat a tres leche cake and churros (we just have to include your Mexican heritage!) and tell our favorite stories about your cuteness and all the silly little things you used to do, like when you played with our kittens by grabbing them with both your hands around their neck and then running away with them (of course clad only in your diaper), or when you would throw a fit and all we had to do was give you that little mp3 player while it was playing “La Pancita” and you would immediately stop screaming and start dancing. Or how we would go to ejidos and you would raise your hands and sing and clap with the music. Or that time we video-taped you head-banging to “Send Me I’ll Go” by Lecrea while sitting in your carseat. Oh, and how whenever you saw Padre Rogelio, you would get so excited and giggle as he approached. Oh, how I loved it when you did those things! It still can make me smile, even as tears fill my eyes because it makes me miss you even more.
I have been thinking about what I would say to you if you somehow could come and talk to me today, just one more time. I would want to say so much. I would tell you I am sorry that I was so upset when I found out I was pregnant with you. I’m sorry that I thought I didn’t want you. I’m sorry that I was scared about having to hear others comments about how many children we had. I’m sorry I was so weak. I’m sorry that in my selfishness, I thought you would make my life to difficult. I am sorry I was so self-centered. You were just the BEST gift. I had no idea that I would love you as much as I did, and still do. You were one of a kind, beautiful, funny, cute, smart and affectionate. You were an awesome little missionary, always willing to go to others and give them a smile, showing them the beauty of God’s creation and drawing them closer to our Lord. You blessed me everyday you were alive. God proved to me that He has a better plan – a beautiful plan. He knew best, and my life was so much more full of love, laughter and joy because you were born. My heart will never be the same, not just because you died, but because you lived! I had no idea that my life would be so much better with you in it, and even though you were only here for a little while, I am so thankful that you were here. I hate having to endure your loss, but there are no words to describe how thankful I am that God gave you to us for the time that He did!
So here on your birthday I want to promise to you that I will never forget the gift you were here on this earth. I promise that I will never again be upset with the possibility of having another child, no matter what others say. I promise to take every opportunity to tell others about you and how I know that every child is a huge blessing and we should be thankful. I promise I will continue your beautiful missionary work here, telling others about you and reminding them that if my little 18 month old could make a difference in this world, surely they can do the same. I promise I will do everything in my power to serve the God that gave me you. God gave you to us for a time, and blessed you by bringing you back to him. His ways are always the best ways and I will not stand in the way of His work. I promise I will take every opportunity to allow your death to bring about greater glory to God!!! We will see each other again, and the choirs of heaven will rejoice as we are once again reunited!!!!! Until that day I will rejoice in the Lord always, and praise Him for all He does. You have received your heavenly crown and I hope in God’s mercy that I will receive mine in time,
You are still very much missed and very much loved! Pray for us Cheke. I love you so much. Happy Birthday!!!!!!!
With unending love,