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Celebrating Six in the Wake of Disaster

by Deborah Cruz

Gabi, birthday, Oklahoma, tornadoIt feels weird to be celebrating in light of the terrible Oklahoma tornado tragedy. I feel guilty. How can I be happy and celebrating my child’s birthday when so many mothers  will never get to celebrate another birthday with their child? But how can I not, today more than ever. My heart is full of gratitude for all that I have. This month especially, I cling to my blessings.Today is my Gabi’s 6th birthday. How I love this silly, sweet little munchkin. I see a lot of me in her little freckle face. I call them beauty marks because each one makes her tiny face that much more beautiful to me. She’s long and thin like a delicate flower standing tall in the sun but don’t be fooled, this kid is tough. She falls down and gets right back up. She is tenacious and brave and bold. She is everything I could hope for in a daughter. She is sweet and kind yet independent and stubborn.

It’s difficult for me to let this little girl grow up because she is my last baby. With every tick of a milestone, I can feel her slowly moving away from me but thank heavens it is a gradual letting go. I can already feel myself becoming less and less the most important person in her life. She needs me a little less than she did last year at this time. She is braver and doesn’t hide behind my leg when we are in public anymore. She still gets a little shy and wants me to do most things with her for the first time. I am still her go to official on all things relevant. She knows everything and if she doesn’t she asks her mommy. She still is and will always be, the center of my universe.

This morning was particularly hard to send my baby girl off to school in light of yesterday’s tragic tornado disaster in Moore, Oklahoma that has left 91 people dead, 20 of those children ripped from their school as it was leveled by the tornado. There are 70 children reported injured by the hospitals and dozens still trapped in a tomb of rubble. The count is ever-increasing. All I wanted to do this morning was hold my girls tight and keep them safe in my arms. Dropping them at school gets harder and harder with each passing tragedy.

Some mother, just like me, sent her little girl off to school, maybe it was her birthday and she looked forward to that day and sharing a special treat with her friends at school, and then instead of picking that little girl up from school and celebrating with presents and a favorite dinner and cake and ice cream and kisses and hugs, that mother had her child ripped from her life by a tornado.

For that child, there will never be another birthday cake and ice cream, there will be no more squeals of delight at a brand new bike, there will be no Memorial day celebrated with sparklers and hot dogs, no first date, no prom, no wedding or no children for her mother to spoil. Disasters have no consideration for holidays. Tragedy does not care who you are or what you do or even if it was your birthday.

So today as I suffocate my littlest girl with all the love and adoration a mother can give, I will say a prayer for the mothers in Oklahoma who will never get to do so again. My heart is heavy for those mothers. I will write my post to celebrate my baby’s birthday this weekend after her birthday party. Today, I ask that you all Pray for the mothers and fathers of Oklahoma who lost their children in yesterday’s tornado.

My Gabi,

Happiest of 6th birthdays, my sweet little freckle face. Mommy loves you more than life itself and my world would be empty without you in it. I am so blessed to get to be your mommy. Your random hugs, the sweet way you sneak into my bed and cuddle up next to me, the way you get mad when you are embarrassed, the ginormous heart with which you welcome all the adventures of the world and love everyone in it. You are a truly amazing, beautiful, smart and funny little girl. I will always love you more, sweet, Gabs.



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