I hope you have a good heaven birthday… Love you.”
Yes, we will sing the birthday song at his grave—that’s where we decide he might be able to hear us best—and leave him cards and balloons. We’re going to tell him how we’ve been doing (he’s not going to like that Mia has a new second grade boyfriend or that Payton got in trouble with the teacher last week).We’re going to tell him that Brayden got straight As on his report card again and went snowboarding for hours on a recent snow day. We’re going to tell him that an anonymous person from our church community did something really huge and generous for our family and I guarantee it’s because of who HE was and the legacy he left here, so we’ll tell him we’re eternally grateful that he was ours.
Even though I’ve got a headache the size of Texas today and would like nothing better than to cry in bed all day… I’ve decided we’re NOT going to be sad today. We’ve decided to celebrate his birthday. I tell the kids we’re going to do all the things daddy would have wanted to do today.
So after leaving the cemetery later on, we’re going across the street to his favorite family-owned restaurant, where they serve big steaks and smoked ribs. They have a couple of his favorite bourbons in there, too. They make kiddie cocktails with cherries in them and they wipe the crumbs from your table between courses. We decide we better warn them we are big crumb-makers.Daddy loved laughing. It might be why he found me in the first place. We loved laughing at anything —stand up comedians, The Office episodes, his friend’s Michael Jackson jokes or houseboat trip storytellings —his laughter was contagious. If he laughed, you laughed.He loved watching scary movies—even though he would cover his eyes through the entire movie—he was always up for something scary. (We didn’t sleep for weeks after seeing Insidious).Daddy loved making homemade chocolate chip cookies —eating half the raw cookie dough and of course making a big mess in the kitchen. It was one of his biggest challenges —getting just the right amount of chocolate chips in there but still get the cookie to be soft and gooey. Lord, did he love chocolate chip cookies.
Daddy also loved going to the gym and working out, but we decide that maybe Sunday should remain a day of rest, so we’re just going to leave that one alone today.
Daddy used to love having his car washed, so we’re going to take his car to get spiffed up and shining bright for his birthday. Bye, bye backseat Fruit Loops and broken crayons, we’re headed to Johnny’s Car Wash today. His will be the cleanest car cruising along the interstate next to all the dirt and snow covered trucks on the road.
He loved the beach and boating, but since we can’t do those things in January, we’ve decided to wait and do those on his half-birthday in July.
Happy Birthday to our dear, Daddy Matthew. We love you to Heaven and back.
This post originally appeared on Andrea Remke, Writer
Andrea Remke lives in Arizona. She has a degree in communications and journalism from Saint Mary’s College, South Bend, Ind. She is mom to a 14-year-old, twin 11-year-olds and a 9-year-old. She is a freelance writer at www.andrearemke.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @andrealremke.