This past Thursday, April 11th, 2013 we had a very special family day, celebrating Zoe's 1st year in our forever family. It was a Zoe Day, perfect in every way.
We started the day off at the cemetery singing Wheels on the Bus (Big Sister Londyn's request) and Happy Birthday to Zoe at her grave with the warm sun shining down on us.
After visiting Zoe, we shopped for a few items to make a memory box that we will give to the hospital to be gifted to another family who will lose their child. We picked out a soft blanket, photo album and a candle for them to light when they are missing their own baby. We picked the blanket and album that have elephants as they remind us of the stuffed animal elephant that Londyn cherishes from her sister Zoe, which she has named "Gracie" and sleeps with every night.
We then had lunch at Red Robin in the very booth that we shared together as a family with Zoe. We rarely took Zoe out in public to avoid germs, so the few times we ate at a restaurant together were memorable.
Last but not least, we went to Bullwinkle's and played a game of mini golf. The weather was gorgeous and we had so much fun!
We shared lots of smiles and laughs, memories of Zoe here with us and new ones with her here in spirit.
It was a wonderful day. We truly appreciate all of the text messages, phone calls, FB comments and even several bouquets of flowers that were left on our doorstep.
Having others remember Zoe's birthday and knowing she will never be forgotten is the best gift that we could receive.
Yesterday we threw a birthday party in honor of Zoe's birthday. We invited close friends and family to wear RED and bring an unwrapped gift appropriate for a one year old child to be donated to heart patients at RCH.
I spent so much time planning this event over the past month or so because I wanted it to be perfect. I wanted each detail to be just right and capture the meaning of Zoe's short life and how much she has blessed our family this past year. Some of the little details I had planned didn't work out and we had to roll with it. Go with the flow. Our heart baby taught us patience, not sweating the small stuff and of course, "Zoe Time."
My centerpieces didn't turn out how I wanted... who cares?! We wanted to serve heart-shaped slider hamburgers and we quickly learned on Wednesday night that it was not as easy as we thought. Did it make any difference? Of course not.
If everything went as planned and expected, we would never be given opportunities to learn, grow and step outside of ourselves to reach a greater potential. This past year I have been given more than I ever wanted or thought I needed but I can see a better me in the distance. I can see a stronger mother and wife with more purpose than I ever had before. That is a gift from God that Zoe has so graciously shown me.
Lulu and some of her cousins
From the random Diet Coke drops on my front doorstep, to the sweet text messages of encouragement, I am blessed to have amazing friends, sisters and a mother who are willing to "bear one another's burdens, that they may be light... mourn with those that mourn and comfort those in need of comfort."
Being surrounded by our loved ones and singing Happy Birthday was beautiful. Blowing out the number one candle as a family was painful. I could hardly hold it together. I know this party was purely for us and our broken hearts, but all of me grieved that I will never see my one year old Zoe digging into her 1st birthday cake or see her joy in the wrapping paper instead of the actual presents. These tiny milestones are not important in the grand scheme of things. I cannot give my daughter her first baby doll, but I can throw a party in her honor and do everything I can in this life to be worthy to join her and my Father in Heaven again someday.
That eternal gift will bring so much more joy than any monetary gift.
Following the party, we headed to the cemetery and unveiled Zoe's headstone. We then released a dozen balloons for every month that we shared with her.
Sweet cousin Emma
Families Are Forever
Thank you to all who made Zoe's headstone possible. It is everything we hoped it would be. We would not have been able to place such a lovely memorial without all of the generous support and donations.