I came back to this blog today because it's the day before what should be Robert's 26th birthday. It's a day we always assumed we would be celebrating.
When Robert was born we, like all new parents, felt that our new baby was the most special and beautiful new baby in the nursery (in the world) and we soaked in every special and every ordinary moment. We revelled in all the smallest details, how much he weighed, how long he was, the exact moment of his birth, the beauty of the color of his eyes, the thickness of his hair, the cubby little toes curved with freshness, and the quick way he responded to our voices. We were awed by his perfection while at the same time we questioned our ability to provide for him. But our commitment to him was cemented by his very presence. He was a confirmation of the reasons we decided to marry and a promise of the future to come. Every decision we made was colored with the prevalent thoughts of how it would affect his life. His needs came before our own and we simply couldn't spend enough time with him.
I remember wondering how someone so amazing and so beautiful could come from us and to us for safe-keeping. I remember being so very overwhelmed the day we drove through the busy city streets with our newborn in the car seat, headed home to a little house near the lake. He was born on a Maundy Thursday and we'd had nearly 50 people come see us in the hospital. We were both thrilled and already exhausted on this Easter Sunday as we drove into our future.
Robert instantly became the center of our very small universe. I stayed home full-time with him for two years. Every hour, every minute, was spent together, discovering the world anew through his eyes. We learned to bend to a newborn schedule and we welcomed the change in our lives. Through the fog of the days, I accepted that he would rarely sleep more than 45 minutes at a stretch, leaving me to decide whether I could also rest or whether I needed to spend that 45 minutes catching up on food prep, cleaning, bills or appointments. I admit that most often, I slept when Robert slept because I knew that the nights would be like the days. We would sleep in 45 minute increments and spend the rest of our time playing, talking, reading, and simply appreciating the time we had together.
It is only now on the eve of what should be Robert's 26th birthday that I regret having not stayed home longer. It is now that I regret not having played, read, sang, and learned more together. I did what you're doing. I lived every moment "knowing" that we had a lifetime to spend appreciating and living together, but I never thought that wouldn't happen. I watched other children as they grew. I looked forward to every single one of the events that so many of us take for granted - concerts, sporting events, Sunday church, holidays and celebrations, graduations and weddings, simple days spent gardening or running errands together. The list goes on and on. I got to know Robert's friends and the families of those friends. We enjoyed spending time together. We had so much in common.
With this new baby, we embraced every new day and we learned new ways to do the things we all do, day in and day out.
On August 14, 2014 all that changed. Now we're not who we were. We're not going in the same direction. One young woman's decision to drive distracted has obliterated all of those plans and all of those occasions and celebrations.
It's painful to greet each day still immersed in a nightmare from which there is no waking and it is painful to know that there are at least 10 people every day that will meet the same fate Robert met.
It is encouraging to see that the Minnesota legislature has finally recognized the importance of passing new laws regulating the usage of cell phones while driving, but it is also frustrating realizing that the laws they plan to implement don't do enough. People will still die. Futures will be deleted. Families will be broken.
On Saturday, April 27th Terry and I will participate in the #Just Drive Day Walk/Run in Monticello. We hope you'll join us and we hope that someday we all won't need to walk or run with the hope of changing the future. In Robert's honor and memory, and for all of those who've lost their lives to a distracted driver, please #Just Drive.
Join us for the #Just Drive Day Walk/Run in Monticello if you can. Wear bright orange and bright blue (they were Robert's favorite colors).
for more information