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Twenty-five years ago today I became a mom.  It’s incredible to think I’ve had that role for over half my life.  It’s who I am.  What I am.  It has become instinctual to “momma” most young people that I encounter.  Hagen started that part of my story.

I have now celebrated three of his birthdays without him present.  I’m still his momma, but it’s unnatural to not be planning a dinner or buying gifts or a least make a phone call to him on the day that celebrates the moment he changed my life forever.  Leading up to this birthday has been more difficult than the previous two.  Maybe it’s because more time has passed.  Maybe it’s because it’s his 25th.  Maybe it’s because another leg of this journey without his physical presence has started.

I’ve been thinking a great deal about the day he was born this week.  I remember with great detail hearing his first cry, seeing his beautiful blue eyes, and his head full of dark hair.  I remember holding him close, looking into those eyes and whispering “Hi, Hagen.  I’m your momma and we’re going to be great friends.”   And we were.

I remember each and every birthday from that day forward, but these last three there are no memories WITH him.  Because he is now in time eternal, I don’t really even know how “old” he is.  Is he 25?  Only a body ages, and his body stopped aging at 22.  In Heaven, does the age of ones body even matter?   He was always an old soul – one that made you question if he was ever really a child, one that had no age – so if age is measured there, is it that one used?  If birthdays are even a thing there, are they celebrations of life or a life lived?   Are they honored as the day the spirit made its appearance and began its purpose?  So many questions.  I want to know what he’s doing.   Who he’s with.  Is there a feast or is it just business as usual.  I want to know, if on this day that he would be 25 here, has he gained that extra inch he always wanted because 6 foot in shoes is not 6 foot? Has that potential receding hairline gone the other direction?   Is there still red in his beard?   Does he still have a beard?  Wait.  His earthly vessel is here, so am I asking the wrong questions?

Ugh.  The questions.

There is so much I don’t know.  So much I want to know. But in the same vein, there is so much I DO know.  I know where he is.  I know Who he’s with.  I know that he is full of and surrounded by perfect love.  When his spirit left that body that I’m so curious about, it left a lifetime of struggles behind, and knowing my child, he hasn’t looked back.  Nor do I want him to.

The tears that I shed are as unique as he was and is.  Some of them fall because I miss his voice, his enormous heart, his hugs…….  Others fall because I am so genuinely happy for him.

Really.  Happy.  FOR.  Him.

Regardless of why they fall, I know Who collects them, and I know they are precious to Him.  After all, we only collect those things that mean the most to us.

While Hagen is not “here” to remember this day, I know I am not alone.  Not one time since he was rescued have I been.  Every moment since then, Love has cascaded down from afar, as if poured from an endless well, bringing with it what only perfect love can.   Peace.  Comfort.  Hope.  Understanding.  Strength.  Joy.  Companionship.  Acceptance.  Those are things that cannot be wrapped.   Only received.

Today, 25 years ago, I met Hagen Elijah Jones, and today I receive all that Jesus has to offer me on this anniversary of becoming a momma.

Today, even though I yearn to hear that boy’s laughter, I smile knowing that precious sound echos through heaven and is forever in my heart.

Today, even though the tears may fall, they do not wash away the joy of knowing him, loving him, and yes, missing him.

Today is but one of his birthdays, and a special anniversary for me, so

today I will celebrate my anniversary, and I pray that laughter abounds in Heaven and on Earth.

Miss you baby.  Thank you for giving me this day.