It’s been one of those weeks. There are a few days out of the year in everyone’s lives that have Meaning. When you are little, usually it’s just your birthday. It’s a Momentous day. The Day you were Born. As you get older, you add these Days. Anniversaries of events like First Dates, First Kiss, Proposals, Weddings. And Funerals. They are all there, the days that you know are coming that you look forward to and dread all at the same time. Sometimes they sneak up on you. Just ask any husband about that time he “almost” forgot his wedding anniversary. Everyday life can make you forget these moments are coming. Other days are there, constantly there, in the back of your mind.
Sunday was a Day.
March 14th, “Pi Day” for the math nerds, is my sister Celeste Marie’s birthday. This year, she would have been five. Five is a pretty big deal. You are officially a “Kid”. You probably aren’t taking naps, you are hopefully potty trained (although we won’t ask you about the nights) and you can most likely tie your shoes. You have fashion sense (of a kind) and you make your own decisions. You are halfway to double digits (even if you don’t know it) and a fifth of the way to 25. Five is a big deal.
But Celeste didn’t get to celebrate five with us. She didn’t even get to celebrate five months with us. Instead she gets to celebrate with Jesus (yeah, probably a better deal).
With Celeste, I have two Days. March 14th is the first. The other is her feast day, her day of Celebration, July 23 the day after my birthday. March can be easy, it sneaks up on me and catches me off guard with promises of sunshine, warmth and remembrance. July is harder. I’ve looked forward to July all the time, thanks to a deep love of getting shower with gifts. Now my birthdays are a bit bittersweet, because I know what’s coming in the morning.
This year, we celebrated five. Five years of growth, sorrow, grief, joy. Our family has changed dramatically. My youngest brother, Luke, doesn’t remember Celeste (he was only 3). My Grace and her cousin Zeke (and all future cousins) will never meet their aunt until they join her in Heaven. And that’s what we all have to look forward to.
This week, I’m thankful for my welcoming committee that’s waiting for me. My sister, Celeste. My uncle Greg who passed this past December. My grandpa Norman, who I never met. My “Busia”, Great-Grandma Anna. My unknown sibling, the baby my mom miscarried. Great-Aunt Nancy, who had spectacular parties with Easter Egg hunts on Palm Sunday and the coolest house. My various great aunts and uncles who I never knew, but who are up there waiting. It’s a big group, but we all have one. Who is in your welcoming committee?