We were looking forward to a party at home. Our own home. We wanted to bake a fresh cream strawberry shortcake at home and invite all your friends home for a celebration. We talked about putting on the cream and strawberries on your cake together with your friends and we talked about who to invite. I saw so much happiness on your face.
When your birthday drew near, I knew it wouldn’t happen. Our renovation couldn’t be completed in time. The next best thing would be to halt renovation until after your birthday, so that we could bring a cake and sing the birthday song. It was not to be.
2 days before, as I was driving us home, you vomited in massive amounts. We cleaned you and the car up in the car park till late. Five times throughout the night plus diarohea and fever. We went to the hospital the next day. That is how we came to spend your 4th birthday in hospital.
It was blessing in disguise. We spent every waking moment together. You didn’t say but it seemed to me that you wanted to have all the time in the world. To sleep until you wake, to draw, to write and to have enough time to do whatever you wanted to.
I brought along your birthday dress, and a pair of gloves. A white one with a gauze skirt that looked like a wedding dress. I am quite sure you felt like a princess the whole time you were wearing it and it made you happy.
We’re still not fans of mega birthday celebrations. No themed party was planned. We collected and distributed the cake meant for your school celebration to the nurses and cleaning aunties. They surprised us with a birthday cake and song as well, which made you happy and me cry.
On the night of your birthday, I had full confidence you would be discharged, based on your activeness, although the appetite was still worrying.
The next day, we discharged. Before we left the hospital, I went to see my classmate’s little boy, Aiden, at the ICU. He suffered from Kawasaki disease, had a heart attack and stroke about 5 months back. Children are not allowed in the ICU, so you didn’t get to see or talk to him. Aiden passed away in his father’s arms 3 days after. We didn’t see Aiden off because you were still recovering but you asked to see his photos again and again and you asked me why he had to go when he is not old at all. At four, you can understand plenty and I think I’ve done my best to tell you truths I perceived about life. Read this again when you grow up and know that some of the most precious thing you have is family, and “right now”.
Here’s how you looked at 1, 2 and 3 years old, for memory sake. Last year, you still had the remnants of your baby look but this year, you look different. My baby, you’re growing up very quickly.
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