It was Angelo’s birthday yesterday. When I told the boys it was coming up, Rocco said, “YES! I love those days!” It made my heart sing. He also asked if he could bring cupcakes into his classroom to celebrate, but I honestly don’t think that’s the reason he was so excited.
We always spend Angelo’s birthday eating at Kidd Valley and throwing flower petals into the lake where his ashes rest. Some years it is raining sideways and we toss the petals then high tail it off the dock. Some years, like this one, we toss the petals and watch the flowers floating there and I think about Angelo’s ashes and wonder how far they floated, wonder where they are now.
Afterwards, we paused a moment to take a family photo.
Then we went to the beach and the boys dug out a giant castle (they are into building inverted sand castles, which go down into the sand instead of rising up). Their castle had all the usuals: stairs, pantries, a sink, secret rooms, a throne, and Rocco also added a funeral room for Baby Angelo. I love how he cares for the memory of this brother that he never knew—he, like me, seems to know that it’s up to us to keep Angelo alive.
The evening was golden. We all got milkshakes that we drank long after the straws started making rude noises. We made up burger related jokes, like “Why is the fast food restaurant rated R?” (Because the chicken strips!) We dug in the sand, eek’d at the cold water, played lava monster, made futile attempts to get all the sand off our feet before putting our shoes back on. Kevin and I found a quiet moment to remember what it was like, that day we found out our baby was not going to be with us long.
Angelo does not show up in that family photo we took. And yet, that family photo exists because of him. That’s how it’s always been with Angelo: he is always here, silently handing us treasure after treasure. Sometimes I feel him living quietly inside me, like a diamond pendant that’s slipped below my shirt. Sometimes, like yesterday, I feel him living everywhere outside of me, turning the world into one where flowers drift by on top of a sun-dappled lake. Always, I am thankful to have been the home for such a beautiful soul.
I love you, Sweet Baby. Happy tenth birthday.
WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Soccer field dinner–
Mason jars with pesto, bowtie pasta, peas, and tuna