Monday, October 19, 2020
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A Birthday Gift from Charlie

Calvin's angel wings

“I love Calvin. He was my brother.”

This morning, we stopped by the art store after our chiro appointment, and Charlie picked out paper that he wanted to use “to wrap Calvin’s present.” It was green foil with green dots.

After we got home, he asked me for a box. Into that box, he placed a small wooden dump truck. Then he carried it to the living room and and started adding more — “I’m giving the things that I don’t want to Calvin”: a set of colored pencils in a zippered Disney princess pouch (he had taken the eraser and pencil sharpener out), a pair of scissors, a toy axe, a toy pick axe, a bunch of pencils (when I asked him why so many pencils, Charlie answered, “So Calvin will be rich”), a walkie talkie, and a sheet of paper.

He taped up the box and wrote the letters X, Y, and L on it. I helped him wrap the box (at one point he got frustrated and collapsed onto the ground). After we wrapped the present, he said, “We will have to wait for him everyday.” I told him we could open the box for him after we sing happy birthday. Charlie called his daddy over. Then he said that we needed more people, that their should be more people over for Calvin’s birthday.

Charlie led the Happy Birthday song. He hugged himself and said, “I’m hugging Calvin.” Then I helped him unwrap and open the box. He said that “Calvin got a box full of stuff from the store.” I said, “He got all that stuff from you; you gave it to him.” Charlie explained that our home was the store, that he gave Calvin money, then Calvin gave it back to him to pay for the stuff.

During dinner, he asked me, “Who’s Calvin’s sister?” And I told him, “Rainbow and Gaelen and Pixel.” He asked, “Who’s their brother?” I said, “Calvin and Charlie.” He smiled and giggled. He asked, “Who’s my brother?” I answered, “Calvin.” Then he asked, “Who’s Calvin’s brother?” And I said, “Charlie.” He smiled and giggled, again.

Dear Calvin,
I try to imagine what life with a seven-year-old version of you would be like, and it’s difficult because I never got the chance to watch your personality unfold. What conversations would we be having? Would you be into Minecraft and space and building blocks like Charlie? Would you enjoy cooking? What books would you love reading over and over? What snacks would you try to sneak in before dinner? I wish we could experience all of these things with you. I wish Charlie could really hand you that birthday box and watch you unwrap it. Until today, I never really thought about how much Charlie is missing out on with not having you (or your sisters) with him. One day, someday, right? I love you so much, Calvin. I miss you every day. Happy 7th birthday, son.
Love, Mommy

You can send Calvin’ birthday love at Kisses for Calvin »

Crystal is a mother-wife-writer whose explorations include parenting, grief, food, and semi-crunchy living. She is currently an MFA in writing student, a content editor for Still Standing Magazine, and the technical editor for Switchback.

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (Ephesians 4:29)

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