Our beloved Fitzy turned 11 today. My, how time flies. It seems like just yesterday that Garin and I brought him home when he was just 10 weeks old.
Most of you know how much we enjoy celebrating everything, at our house. We find any excuse to have a family party with delicious food and a cake. We celebrate the requisite birthdays, but also half birthdays, dog birthdays, graduations, moved into our new house anniversaries, and just about anything else we can come up with to celebrate.
This is the first celebration we have had since my mom's passing, nearly two months ago. That was a bit hard for me. When I setting the table this afternoon a wave of grief and sadness came over me. As I was setting out the festive plates, napkins, and cups, I passed by her place at the table and just froze. The stark reminder that she would not be at this celebration was sobering.
She always made a valiant effort to be here for as many celebrations as she could. It wasn't easy for her, with her health struggles, but she made the effort and was always pleased that she had. Once she saw the themed table (she never missed the opportunity to make a huge fuss over how beautiful the table looked), enjoyed the delicious meal and of course, partook in whatever cake we were serving (we always sent her home with a generous portion of the leftover cake nosh on later), she was always happy that she that effort to be here with us.
I broke out crying as I set the table this afternoon. The kids were all outside or elsewhere, except for Garin, who was on his computer, sitting nearby, finishing his schoolwork. He looked up, saw me crying, and asked if he could hug me. Of course, I didn't turn down that offer. I told him that I thought we should set her regular place at the table and then she could join us. He thought that was a splendid idea. Setting her place made me feel a lot better.
For dinner, I made burgers on the grill and served them with warm crinkle fries cooked perfectly in the oven. The kids were so excited. Homemade burgers and fries are the perfect birthday dog party meal.
I didn't make it two minutes into the meal before I started crying again. As I looked over at Granny's empty chair, I felt heartsick. I find for me that it is the emptiness and silence of death that makes grief so difficult to bear. The silence is absolutely deafening at times and so unbearable. I let myself cry for a few minutes, then wiped away my tears and let myself go on with the celebration, knowing that's what she would have wanted.
We got through our first celebration without her, but we didn't really do it without her, which I am so glad for. She was there with us in almost every way. Catherine even made sure that Granny's Paw Patrol cup was filled with water like everyone else's at the table. We cried and we laughed. I have a feeling our celebrations are going to be like that for a long time to come.
The Birthday Boy's official portrait
The Birthday Boy with his Paw Patrol Balloons
Every dog birthday party needs a festive table!
The human cake (pumpkin spice with cream cheese frosting) and the dog cookie (peanut butter). Yummy!
The birthday boy contemplating his wish (to eat that cookie as soon as possible, no doubt) and ready to blow out his candle.
Homemade cards and homemade gifts from his siblings. All revolved around treats. Why can't humans be that sensible when contemplating gift ideas for one another?
Baby Boy Fitzy at 10 weeks old. Is there anything cuter?