On February 8th 2015 my Ava turned 4.

We had planned to spend the weekend with Jane and her family.  Last year we went away to the water park and it was a complete distraction.  This year with Matt’s car accident and all the pressures it brought with us we did not have the cash flow for such a trip away so we planned a trip to the cottage with friends.  It was supposed to be filled with inappropriate card games, wine, cake and hopefully a little lightheartedness.

And then the flu hit us.

And yes, we all had the shot.

Matthew went down hard with the flu 4 days before her birthday and somehow Lillian and I were spared.  By the time her birthday rolled around he was a shivery, miserable mess.  No inappropriate cards, wine or lightheartedness for us.  I did my best to embrace the new plan and instead decided to find a way to include Ava into our life that day in a big way.

Lillian’s crib was Ava’s.  My parents bought it as a present for Ava and it remained assembled for the year between the girls.  It was were I placed her ashes for the longest time and was a very important part the grief year between Ava’s birth and the preparations for Lillian. Lillian has always loved the crib.  I wanted to co sleep with her from birth but at 2 weeks old it was apparent she did not want to be close to us while sleeping.  I put her into her crib and she slept for 4 hours straight for the first time in her life.  She asks for naps and bed regularly (stop throwing things at me). With Ava’s birthday upon us I knew it was time to change that well loved crib into something it never had gotten a chance to be, a toddler bed.

On Ava’s birthday we did just that.  We changed Ava and Lillian’s crib over to a toddler bed.  It stung and salved, buoyed and cut us to watch it finally transition with a living child. It is the last of Ava’s things still hanging on and now, at four, it is gone.  

Lillian has transitioned very well. I was scared that we were going to be up all night, everyone crying and miserable as I repeatedly walked her back to her room but nope, straight to sleep the very first night.  Naps have been more tricky, mostly because she is too excited to sleep but I have taken to reading a story with her before nap and it helps with wind down time.  Yup, you read that right, my kid is too excited about napping in her big girl bed to sleep in it.  She’s a fruitcake.

After she was tucked into bed and we neurotically checked that she was asleep a few hundred times we continued our tradition for Ava and sang her Happy Birthday together. Just Matt and I for Ava.

Ava girl, I cannot explain to you how much I miss you.  I miss all you are and what I imagine you to be.  Four has not been gentle but it has been quiet, aside from your Dad’s constant sniffling, just as I imagine you are.  A quiet, smart and beautiful girl so loved and badly missed.