As promised, here is an update and pictures of how we celebrated Tristan's 1st Birthday on Wednesday, December 3rd.
We began our day by going back to the hospital where Tristan was born. Trayc had already talked to the head of the Labor & Delivery and asked that she contact all of the nurses that were there last year because we had a special presentation to make. We were blessed to have had 3 of our 6 nurses there along with the rest of the nurses that were working that day, most of which knew us because of Tristan's story/blog.
We had asked that the nurses be there around 12:00 noon because Tristan was born at 12:42 and we wanted to do our special presentation at the same time. Our gift to the hospital was 56 knitted baby caps personally made by Trayc's mom and grandma because the little handmade caps the nurses put on Tristan were too big and they started unraveling. Anyone who knows my mom, knows that she is the perfectionist (that's where I get it from) and she didn't like the fact that her grandson was wearing a hat that was falling apart. The nights my mom and Trayc's mom stayed at the hospital together they would have long nightly conversations about how the caps could be made better. Trayc's mom knows how to crochet but didn't know how to knit. She felt as though the Lord was leading her to learn how to knit so that she could make the caps better. When she and grandma returned to Tennessee they signed up for knitting classes and learned how to knit so they could make little caps in memory of Tristan by his 1st birthday.
As you can see, she and grandma have been working very hard. They also sewed in a label that says Tristan Asher Foundation and tristanasher.org so that every person who receives a cap and from the nurses will be told about Tristan and they can go to our website to read about him.
Aren't the handmade, knitted caps beautiful????
As we got off the elevator at the L&D floor we started talking about how we felt a year ago as we were only hours from holding our new little boy and the days ahead were so uncertain. As the double doors opened to the L&D area, the nurses all started running towards us, hugging us, grabbing Tayden and Tanner to hug them - they couldn't believe how big they were. It was such a sweet moment to be able to go back to where our little boy was born, where he took his first breath, to see the place we left a year ago with our arms full of new life and then to see our precious nurses again - the ones that rejoiced with us, prayed with us and cried with us daily!!!!
After the hospital we went out to lunch and then drove 45 minutes to the cemetery. This is the first time I have been back since Tristan's service. Trayc is in that area of town often so he stops by frequently to think, pray and remember. I have really put it off this past year knowing how very difficult and extremely emotional I was as we drove away after the service. Never in my life have I felt the deep pain and grief I felt in those last few moments and had no desire to relieve that again, especially in front of my boys. Trayc has been sweetly mentioning for a year now that we needed to look at headstones but it's just that final step I have not wanted to make!
As we pulled into the cemetery on Wednesday, Trayc reached over and took my hand without saying a word. I took a deep breath as we made our way through the entrance and then took a turn to the left and approached the "Garden of Innocence" area. I thought back to January and how it looked when we pulled up: a tiny little white casket with a beautiful arrangement of miniature white roses and 5 miniature blue roses on the top, and all of our family members standing quietly as we exited the car. Stepping out of the car and walking up that little hill, that day, to Tristan's casket was by far the hardest walk I have ever made - it was a visual and reality that no mother ever wants to experience. So I have been afraid of going back but knew we would go back on his birthday.
Wednesday was a little different than I expected. We pulled up and let the kids sit in the car for a moment. I got out of the car and slowly walked towards Tristan's little marker. It looked so bare, like no one had ever visited, like no one loved him, like he had been forgotten - compared to all the other headstones and markers. I felt so sad and it broke my heart because I knew how much our little boy was loved and what a miracle he was, it's just that his mommy couldn't do this any sooner. I was so thankful I had made a "It's A Boy" bow (it matches the Christmas tree we made for Tristan last year, remember?) with the number 56 and I made a bouquet of 4 white roses and 1 blue rose tied together by a "Baby's 1st Birthday" ribbon to lay in front of the marker. I looked at Trayc and said, "That looks so much better now. Okay, I'm ready to order his headstone, we need to do it, he's our little boy and we love him. No more putting it off." I smiled as I laid the flowers on his grave site knowing it meant we loved our little boy and that he wasn't forgotten. I believe the hardest part of the day was kneeling down to place the flowers on his site and realizing he was within reaching distance from me, that his little body that I held for 56 days laid only inches away. I know he is in Heaven but that little body, the one that I held tightly, kissed on, changed clothes/diapers, changed the leads for the apnea/heart monitor, held the oxygen tube for, that little body is there and my heart longs and my arms ache for my precious little boy. I am so thankful he is being held by our Heavenly Father until I can hold him again. This mommy longs for Heaven more than ever before.
After we had our moments, Tanner got out of the car with the balloons. He was so excited about bringing them to Tristan's grave and letting them go. Tayden was asleep when we pulled up, we could have let him stay in the car sleeping but I told Trayc that I wanted him to be in the pictures, not just for today but 10, 15, 20 years from now I want him to know all about Tristan and see that he was a part of it. So, being the photo parents we are, we took him out of the car and then fortunately he woke up, saw the balloons and said, "Balloon!!!!". The boys released the solid balloons only because Tanner wanted to take the Mylar birthday balloon back to the house for the party.
We came home, had Tristan's birthday party and ate cake. We put the cake on his blue blanket and had his little doggy beside the cake. Tayden was excited about eating "caaakkkeee" and Tanner wanted to blow out the candle.
We had a really sweet day as a family remembering Tristan and celebrating his 1st birthday.
Thank you so much to every person that left a comment on our blog, Facebook, emailed, texted, called or sent us a card. We greatly appreciate you remembering our family and our little boy on his birthday. We have never taken for granted the love we have received from our family, friends and our blog family.
VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU to Trayc's mom and my mom for coming up with the idea and to Trayc's mom and grandma for knitted each cap with lots of love and in memory of their grandson.