"How do you want to celebrate Levi's birthday?"
The question was prompted because my aunt had offered to pay my way to a women's conference this weekend. It came from me and was directed at my husband well over a month ago. Various ideas were bandied about. Nothing was decided, other than that we wanted to spend it as a family doing something to remember him by. Not exactly the most definite of parameters. I did, however, decline my aunt's generous offer.
The Van Departs
Last Monday, I took my van into the shop to finally fix the "loose steering" I had been dealing with for at least a year. (Long story why it hadn't been dealt with sooner, but it just hadn't.) That night, the shop technician gave me the news that the fix it required (new rack and pinion, for those of you who understand such terms) would cost well over a thousand dollars. If it were in good shape for its year, it would only be worth about $4k. But it's not. All of the repairs to it required to get it up to that would cost over $1k, and it would still have a history of a couple of scrapes and over 200k km on it.
So... we decided that it was time to invest in something different. Something that wouldn't require new shocks every year and regular maintenance on the tie rod ends and other injuries caused by driving on country roads.
Since neither of us are "car people", I spent the rest of the week doing manic research to figure out what kind of vehicle I wanted, exactly. The research began by contacting my uncle, who buys wrecked cars at the auction, fixes them up and sells them for a living. He gave me a couple of great options. I also spent a lot of time on Kijiji, and even more time checking consumer and professional reviews on each model I was interested in.
In the midst of all this time, I was also doing some pretty heavy surgery on my book.
And by the end of the week, I had come back to choosing one of the two options my uncle had offered me.
So, on Friday, I rode with my mom and her friend. They dropped me off at my uncle's place on their way to the very women's conference I had declined. I picked up one of the two vehicles I was trying to decide upon--a 2004 Dodge Durango--which I will "test drive" until I either decide to keep it or until the other option is fixed up in two weeks, whichever comes first. (I'm leaning towards keeping it.) Then I came home.
The Timing Was Right
In 2015, I couldn't even throw out the garbage bag in my van for months because it contained a banana peel from a banana he ate on his last day. I eventually did, but when Jason broached the idea of trading the van in for something else in spring 2016, I resisted--I still had too many confusing emotions to deal with regarding losing Levi, and somehow, the van represented something to me. I'm not sure what.
But I take it as a sign of my growth that when it came time to look for a different vehicle this week, I was actually glad for the finality that required it.
The Perfect Ending
Before I left for Red Deer, I was asked last-minute to join our worship team at church this morning, so I ran that by the family. Everyone wanted to go. I had originally been turning down commitments for this weekend because I wanted to guard my heart against the potential of having a very difficult grieving day. But once we decided to begin Levi's birthday celebration as a family by celebrating the hope of heaven with our church family, it felt right.
Today, Levi would have turned 5 years old. We are celebrating with a family lunch out together after a morning at church. While we waited for our meals, we all shared favourite memories of our boy. #andwelaughedandlaughed #andImighthavecriedalittle . This is one of my favourite photos of him, taken the summer he was two. He was completely absorbed playing with his trucks, which he LOVED! I called his name for the photo and you can see how intense he was when he played. He was intense with everything, because he did it all with his whole self. We sure miss our Captain Wiggles (his superhero name). But we sure love to remember him. . #childloss #grief #childofmyheart #birthdayboy #adoption #youllbeinmyheart #littlelegend
After church, we came home and relaxed, all of us full of good food and good memories, both old and new.
Sometimes, the best things are the simple things--as long as you appreciate them. It is so difficult to celebrate a birthday that might have been, but since that is the only way we can celebrate, I am so glad that it turned out well. Because honestly, last-minute is the way we roll best.
Also, I'm thankful that the Durango has four wheel drive. Otherwise I would have been walking in from the road when I got home last night! (I almost got stuck, anyway! Our driveway actually looks worse than this now.)
Happy Sunday, friend. May you make the most of today's difficult situations.