A boy born crying and kicking with a head full of dark, silky hair.
A little one at just under 5 lbs, with quizzical blue eyes and long, skinny fingers he just couldn't keep out of his mouth.
Today is the 6th birthday of a special little prince who changed our worlds. Who taught us all about faith, determination and strength.
6 years ago today, after 10 weeks on hospital bed rest, after 10 weeks of having such a limited amount of amniotic fluid surrounding him, Matthew was born.
When he wanted out, he wanted out. He did not show the same patience and restraint he had the weeks leading up to his birth. My contractions started around 1 in the morning, by 3:30, I was fully dilated and he did not care one bit that he was bottom first, he was going to descend all on his own, if I wasn't going to push. By 4:30 a.m., mere moments after reaching the operating room and finding an OB (who just happened to be mine!) on the stroll down, he was born. He cried. He was shown to me over the curtain and he was quickly whisked away to the NICU.
And so started our roller coaster.
26 days in the NICU. A place we called home. The place where he met his big sister.
The place we spent our spare time. The first place I held him, 5 days after he was born. The place where he had his first baths, his first bottles, his first change of clothes, his first ultrasounds, so many of the only firsts he would ever have were here.
The following 44 days of his life were spent at home. Reading stories with his big sister.
Going to the park.
And then one day, the morning after this picture was taken, it was over.
There would be no more of that. There wouldn't be anymore memories created or shared. There would be a dark spot where he should be.
6 years can be so long and so short all at once. Today, Matthew is turning 6. His golden birthday. There are so many things we should be doing. So many things I wonder.
Would he like his birthday pancakes plain like Kaitlyn or filled with chocolate chips and doused in whipped cream and sprinkles like Samantha? Where would he want to spend the day? Would he chose to go to Chuck E. Cheese, or take advantage of a rare beautiful day in August by going to the zoo? Would he want pizza for lunch or chicken McNuggets? What would he chose for dinner? What kind of cake would he like? Or would he want pie instead?
There are so many things about him we never had the opportunity to learn. To know. So many things that we take for granted. So many things I wish we could be doing with him. So many experiences we would have had together.
I walked by Kaitlyn's room last night. She had built a big bed on the floor and her and Samantha were watching Looney Tunes together. Charlotte had already gone to sleep for the night. And it was hard to realize there should have been a little boy under there, on his birthday eve, too excited to sleep knowing there would be presents.
But, he wasn't.
Instead, we carry him in our hearts. We honor him in our actions. We celebrate his life, no matter how short it was.