For the last few years, Ryan and I have funded the boys birthdays and Christmas. We didn’t mind because we knew Mark wasn’t making much money due to being in the hospital so much. Ironically, when we did have a party he was usually working so he couldn’t even come. He purposed to make this year different.
A few months ago Mark had called and asked if he could pay for all of their birthday and Christmas and plan the party. Of course, I agreed. I don’t think it is any secret that I am not a good party planner so I was excited that he offered to do it. I mean, I always forget stuff and wait till the last minute and all sorts of other bad party planning stuff. Yes, I will start planning Matthias’s now. I am learning my lesson.
Anyway, he had called the boys several times to see what they wanted to do and to get ideas for gifts to buy. He even called my grandma and my sister to find out some other details. He really was making a go of this and trying to do it all himself. He was so happy about it too. Several times he shared the idea with his brother and sister. He told them all about it. He even showed them all the money he had saved to make it happen.
When he died, we found this list with his things…
Ryan and I were determined to make this party happen the way Mark planned. That is a challenge for a party planning impaired person like me. But, I sucked it up and rented the big blow up jumpy thingy. I ordered the cakes. I sent out the invites ( a week and a half before said party). I remembered to buy balloons to put on the mailbox so everyone could find the house. I even got them in their colors: 3 green for Carsten, 3 red for Maxon, and 3 blue for Andrew. You know I color code my kids. I also got 3 yellow ones for Matthias because the boys didn’t want to leave him out. And, with the help of Mark’s parents, brother, and sis-in-love, we gathered up the gifts on the list.
It was a beautiful day out. It was chilly but not too cold. Many of our family and friends showed up to celebrate with us and despite the fact that I forgot the candles and didn’t buy near enough food to feed everyone, it turned out awesome.Here they are about to open the gifts from their dad.
Maxon actually got Mark’s old cell phone. Andrew’s DSI was replaced with a PSP since he prayed that God would tell his daddy to “please exchange it for a PSP before his birthday”. Yes, he did. They ask God to deliver lots of messages to their daddy. I’m quite convinced that they alone keep Jesus quite busy.
The best part came after everyone had gone and we were putting everything away. The boys had taken the balloons off of the mailbox and asked for their balloons. I painstakingly untangled each and every one to pass them out. While I was getting the knots out I heard pieces of a conversation about letting them go. They wanted to send them to heaven for their daddy.
So, as my sister and I stood back and watched, Carsten, Maxon, and Andrew along with my niece and nephew, Grant and Gabriela (they had Matthias’s balloons) slowly let them go. As they did I heard them each say something to their dad…
“I love you, daddy!”
“Thank you for the party, daddy!”
“for you, dad…”
I even heard Gabriela shout out, “thank you for the party, Uncle Mark!”
For a split second I ran to to go get the camera but then decided not to because I simply did not want to miss the moment. We just stood their watching those balloons get further and further from the earth.We did not move until we could no longer see the faintest trace of them.
Later on, the boys laughed and talked about how much they enjoyed the party. Then, at one brief pause in the conversation, Carsten said, “I really hope daddy liked his balloons.” I just winked at him and said that I was positive their daddy was all smiles when he got those 12 balloons.
I believe that there are now some balloons floating freely around heaven and all who see them sense and know the love three little boys have for their daddy. And I know it made Mark really happy.
Thank you for allowing me to share our family and our hearts with you. I have so much more to share in the days to come. If you would like to see the rest of the photos from their party you can view them here on Flickr: Boys Birthday Party