"Our children change us... whether they live or not."
~ Lois McMaster Bujold, "Barrayar", 1991
Today would be Riley's birthday.
Today, he would be FIVE years old.
Next year he would start kindergarten.
With his bright blonde straight hair, his fair skin, and his bright blue eyes.
He'd be potty trained by now.
He'd be running, jumping, and just as fast as his big brother.
He'd eat popsicles and get a little colored ring around his lips from the flavored goodness that we all know comes from the excitement of eating a popsicle in the summer-time!
He'd have a sweaty head & dirty shins after an all-day play adventure in this great weather.
...Riley and Trystan were Double Trouble. They were...what....17 months apart?
They were what Team-Work was all about.
When they were younger, if they wanted to reach something on the counter, but neither could reach---Trystan would convince Riley to lay down, and he would stand on Riley's back to reach up on the counter...or was it the other way around? I can't remember, and it doesn't matter. They worked together to achieve that common goal of getting things they weren't supposed to have!
It's hard to imagine that it's been almost 3 years without Riley.
Every year that passes, puts his existence a little further away....as if I'm stuck on some two-dimensional time line in a history class, moving further away from him.
Time makes things fade.
I can't remember his voice anymore.
I can imagine him sitting on the cement steps in his diaper, saying "Bye-bye, Nana." But, I can't remember the sound. Like a memory has been taken from color to black-&-white.
But...there are other things that I remember clearly. Clear as can be.
Things that are insignificant.
I remember what shoes I wore to his funeral.
I remember the floral arrangement that spelled his name out in little blocks. I remember all the different white flowers in that spray. I remember the drive home after the funeral. I remember eating Wendy's with my mom after we spent the afternoon shopping for his burial clothes. I ate at Wendy's. I ate lots of french fries. Who cares? Why do I have to remember that, but for the life of me can't get my brain to bring back his little voice?
Riley died when he was 2 years, 2 months, and 4 days old.
The last time I saw him was at his birthday party when he turned 2.
The day that Gage was 2 years, 2 months, and 4 days old...I remember making a blog post about it. How I dreaded the day coming, but I knew that it would. Gage has now lived longer than Riley, and Gage was born right after Riley was buried. I think of all of Gage's adventures...and misadventures....and I think of how my sister never got these moments with Riley. Did he ever say to her things like Gage says? Did he ever say, "Look! My tummy's all full of Captain Crunch!" while lifting his little pajama shirt & pointing to his belly???
I know she has a whole sea of memories..... but I just get these waves of feeling like we all got robbed.
...I know, this is when our Faith comes in.
...I know, bad things happen to good people....
I just hate this reality. I hate the reality that Riley is not here. I hate that we don't get to watch him grow up. I hate that he never saw the ocean. I hate that Gage never got to play with him. I hate that I'll never hear his little voice again, and now I can't remember it!!!!!!!
And now, back up onto my soap-box I shall climb....
Never, never, never leave your car unlocked....not in the driveway, not in the garage, not at your grandma's house....never.
Never, never, never leave your children unattended in a car.
Teach your children about the dangers of kids in & around cars.
Research car safety features, and write your congressmen (or women) about MANDATORY safety features in cars. The technology exists to help protect children...and it should not be a more expensive option. It needs to become MANDATORY in all new cars.
If you want more information about keeping children safe in & around cars, information about contacting your congressman, stories about the dangers of kids and cars, try these websites: