The first thing that came to my mind when I woke up this morning is that Barron would be celebrating his 5th birthday today. Unfortunalty, we never even got to celebrate his first birthday with him. We do have a yearly tradition though, and that is releasing balloons on his special day. It is of comfort knowing that he is in heaven. He now has NeeNee (Grandma Carol Battles) with him. I am certain she is helping him celebrate. She was always great at birthdays and holidays. She NEVER forgot birthdays. There was always gifts and cards in the mail for the kids for their birthdays and  holidays. I guess Barron is the lucky grandkid then, because he gets all of NeeNee’s grandmotherly attention in heaven.

I didn’t get to dwell on thoughts of his birthday too much this morning. I was up and moving quickly because it was the first day of preschool for all 3 kids! Brielle went last year, but this is the first year for the twins. They all will attend a Christian preschool program on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-2. On Thursdays, I assist in leading a bible study of 30 women, so it was a busy morning for me after I dropped the kids off as well. Which is probably a good thing. No time to dwell on sadness and what could of been of his life at this point.

I also make the conscious effort to find gratidute in the situation. He had a very serious, debilitating disesase. If he were alive, he would be suffering greatly. Not that all SMA children suffer immensely, but most do. His level of SMA I would have required a trechatomy tube in his throat, cpap machines for breathing, suction machines to keep his saliva to a minium, and he would have not even been able to ever walk or even sit up unassisted. I am thankful that God ended Barron’s suffering early and that it was done by God’s intervention. If you followed our Caring Bridge Blog while he was in the hospital I wrote about how we had to make the decision to take him off of life support. The doctors had encouraged us for several days to look at picking a time and day for removing support, as he was suffering in pain and was on continuous morphine. What is miraculous is that when we did decicide to take him off the life support, we told the doctor we would like it removed that upcoming Sunday. He never made it to that Sunday. As soon as we made that decision and the doctor left the room, Barron’s oxygen levels plummeted on his own and he began passing onto the other side. The doctor came immediately back into the room and simply said “I guess he just needed your permission to go”.  He passed away that night within the hour. It was a peaceful passing and he was no longer in any pain. God is good. We knew that God had promised us a life with a “hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). Barron’s future was in heaven. I believe he was a special angel that was only meant to be with us for a while. He was a precious gift that taught us how important our loved ones are in our lives. We also learned to value of human life and the blessing of babies. We had faith that God would give us babies and the family we so desperately desired. I knew in my heart that my “hope and a future” was in that of being a Mother. God would provide that if we remained faithful. We were foster parents and we even tried to adopt our foster daughter Elizabeth. I still love that precious girl like she was born from my own womb. God had different plans though. He did bless us abundantly. We have our hope and our future in our three blessing: Brielle, Alexander, and Charles.

It was a beautiful day today as I ushered them off to their first day of preschool. I got the joy (and challenge) of taking first day of preschool photos. The twins wanted to run in separate directions. I worked up a sweat, but those moments this morning were precious and valued so much more because of the birth of our son Barron and our subsequent loss. We miss him every day. That ache in the heart never goes away, but it does make those joys even more precious.

Below: First Day of Preschool Photos. Not a huge success, but it does capture our morning.

After preschool all three kids released balloons in honor of Barron’s birthday. Brielle honestly believes that Barron will be catching them up in heaven. How sweet is the mind of a 3 year old!

Happy 5th birthday Barron! We love you and miss you everyday! Give NeeNee a big hug for us and have a wonderful birthday celebration together!