Our Sweet Nate,
What are birthdays like in Heaven?
Today is December 23rd, 2014. 8 years ago today you came into this world and brought so much joy to our lives. Drew was just 19 months old but was so proud and honored to be your big brother. Daddy was in love with 2 boys in ways he never knew possible and Mommy’s heart was just overflowing with joy, hope, and love for our family. In the 5 and a half years you spent with us; we were completely in love with every moment with you.
Today, we would be celebrating your 8th birthday. It’s so hard for me to imagine you as an 8 year old boy. Would you still love monster trucks, tractors, running outside, and playing in the dirt? Or would you be into sports, bey blades, or building even bigger lego creations? How would you have grown and changed? Would you like your hair short or long? Would you be enjoying school or skipping school like you used to joke you would? Would you be playing baseball, soccer, or wrestling? Which would be your favorite?
On December 23rd, 2011 we celebrated your 5th birthday. We took you to the Japanese steak house at your request! I’m not sure you really even liked the food… actually I don’t think you ate much of anything. But you loved going there because of the production. You smiled from ear to ear the entire dinner. You loved to laugh and see others laugh too. This was the big birthday! I remember how excited you were to hold up one whole hand for the yearly birthday picture! 5 whole fingers! In my mind you are always 5. Your 5 year old face will stay etched in my heart forever. You will still cuddle in my lap, have the sweetest smile and laugh, and will forever be my baby boy. Your heart will still flutter against my chest when you are scared and your face will smile from ear to ear when you are headed out to play. You will cuddle your baby sister on the couch and wrestle around the family room with Drew. You will go from sweet to spunky in the blink of an eye. Your 5th birthday is one I will never ever forget. These images of you are some that I will always remember as you at five years old.
We pray every night for God to share our love with you. We hope you feel it every day. We cannot see you with our eyes but we can feel your love in our hearts always. We think of you every day. Drew is so proud of you and he is especially proud of Go Out Be Great and all that it means. Drew talks about you often. Sometimes the stories make us laugh and other times we cry. We miss you. He often talks about his memories of you and all that you and he did together as brothers and best friends! You should see him play his guitar Nate! You would love it and be singing along beside him I’m sure… or making up a silly dance to go with the music! Kaylee has lots of questions about you and wants to know all about who you were and where you are. She’s asked to visit heaven so she can play with you. A few weeks she was singing about you. She calls you her “Angel Nate”. She feels a very deep love and connection to you that she is still trying to figure out. You poured so much love into her that she knows you are special! She’s sweet Nate, and she’s awnry too, she’s so much like you. I know that you would just eat her up and you would be taking care of her if you were here. Last week I was finally able to make Drew and Kaylee photo books to put on paper their lives with you. It was really hard to go through all your pictures, all our family events, trips, and just daily life full of pictures. But I know that Drew and Kaylee will each treasure their books and we will be able to talk and share even more stories about you through pictures.
Today we celebrate you but we also hurt. My heart feels torn. We miss you Nate. There are many things we just don’t understand but I know there will be a day when every tear is wiped away and we are rejoicing in the streets of heaven together. We don’t understand. Our hearts break. But we will keep being great for our Nate the Great. When you went to heaven a piece of my heart went with you. You are part of me and I will forever make you proud.
We always made a point to show you how special you are on your birthday. That will never change. This year I had a hard time deciding what to do to honor you. But then I remembered that we always, always, always honored you on December 23rd and that should never change. We always made sure you had a special day outside of Christmas that felt like it was all yours. Today, we hope to fill the streets of heaven with balloons for your birthday! We invite family, friends, and anyone who is thinking of you to send their balloon to heaven too!
I am sending him back to you, and with him comes my own heart. - Philemon 1:12
What are birthday’s like in heaven… I wish you could tell us. But I hope that you feel all the love is that is being poured out to you today.
We love you to the moon and back and back again little man!