Through the years we've done lots, and we've done not much to commemorate. We've gotten together with family and friends. We've released balloons into the blue. We've written notes to her, looked at pictures, told her story. One year we didn't say a word about it until after the day had passed. The years we were in Arizona were hard because of the whole being-hundreds-of-miles-away problem. I love to be at her spot in the cemetery, listening to the magpies and watching our other kids play.
But this year we ran away. We will ride roller coasters and boat rides and some bumper cars. I will push my bare feet into sand. I'll watch waves as they reach and crash, reach and crash. I'll make a sand ladybug because I'm good at ladybugs, and I will wish with everything that she could just be here. I'll wish she could've been in the car with us while Sally gave her stuffed bear a squeaky voice. I'll wish she could jump with the boys from bed to bed every time we come back to the hotel room. I'll wish I could catch her eye and quietly laugh about Sam and his nerdy ways.
But my wishes won't come true, so I'll go back to having the hope which drives me forward into each new year. I will hold her again.
I'll bring you a bucket of sunflowers when we get home, my girl.