The weekend’s events were sad, of course, but also a moving and loving tribute to a life well lived. And it was very clear, from the moment we walked into the wake on Friday night and were greeted with hugs and tears from Scott’s aunts, uncles, cousins and in-laws, that Mark belonged there. He was even a pallbearer, furthering underlying his role in that family. Now I’m just glad it didn’t happen once we were already away.

Speaking of away, we have settled on new dates, with tickets and all so the trip is indeed happening. We will leave here on Friday October 15 and return the following Tuesday. Please save your emergencies for after that, thank you very much.

And now for today, which was spent in full celebration mode as Austin has made it yet another year and is now a big strong four-year old. I parent-helped at school this morning, armed with pirate cookies.

Then we had a picnic in our backyard and went for a run before picking Braedan up from his after-school tennis class. The boys are now wiling away the rest of this unseasonably hot afternoon jumping on the birthday present of the century.

Tonight we’ll have dinner in the yard and cupcakes with candles (I’m saving the real cake for his party this weekend). And another year will have gone by.

Not an easy one, that’s for sure. One filled with fear and sadness, worry and pain. One filled with endless hours and days and weeks in the hospital, chemotherapy, radiation, surgeries and transfusions (oh, and stitches!). But one equally filled with tender moments, snuggles and kisses, laughter, bikes rides and picnics. Splashing in the pool all summer (even with that big blue arm) and thoroughly enjoying this little thing called life.

So I’ll take it. We’ll take it.  All that’s come before us. And all that lies ahead. The good, the bad and the ugly, the horrifying and terrifying alongside the magnificent and miraculous. I will welcome every bit of life the next year throws at me just as long as on next September 21st, I can sit back, tired but satisfied after a full day (week, month, year) of celebrating my child.

Happy Birthday, Austi-bean. And many many more.