Monday, September 10 marked the one-year anniversary since my mother ended her journey on this earth and began a new life in heaven. The following day would have been her 66th birthday, and we chose to celebrate that day exactly like we did last year -- by sending a bunch of balloons heavenward and singing "Happy Birthday" as loudly as we could.
Last year's balloon send-off was held in a church parking lot across the street from my parents' house. There were about a dozen of us there, and we were in complete shock and disbelief that God had taken our mother from us.
This year, we chose a neighborhood park as the site for our birthday gathering (I cannot bring myself to call it a "party"). The mood at this year's balloon release was considerably less somber but still marked by its fair share of tears. The girls sent up one pink balloon each, and the guys a blue (although my little guy somehow managed to pop his before we even left the house). We spent a few minutes before we sang to her just remembering many of the things that made her incredibly special to us. We laughed, we cried, we remembered and rejoiced that we had been so privileged to be loved the way she loved us.