Yesterday was 3 weeks until Eli's 5th birthday, yet we only got to celebrate 3 with him in our arms.
Today it's all of a sudden turned cold. The leaves are falling off the tree. There is talk of snow.
Winter is right around the corner. Eli loved the cold. It was his time of year.
Thanksgiving. Eli's birthday. Christmas.
I've been really struggling the last few days. Hating the world. Hating how cold and cruel and how quickly life can change.
Today at Target the cashier and I were laughing about how cold it was and how we were trying to stay warm. All of a sudden Eli flashed through my mind. I smiled at the thought of us all bundled up staying warm and Eli spending winter in his shorts and tshirts happy as could be.
I finished paying and walked over to Starbucks and bought the young cold casher a gift card. I wrote a little lighthearted note about staying warm and enjoying a few hot chocolates on breaks.
Flipping the envelope over I wrote "Pay It Forward. Eli's Journey". I walked over, waited until she was done with her line of customers, set it down for her and walked out of the store with a smile on my face and my heart little bursting with warmth.
Tears poured down my face the entire drive home.
As I walked out of the store I could FEEL Eli. He was there with me. There was NO doubt in my mind.
These last few months I have gotten away from doing these little acts of kindness for Eli. I have fallen a bit into daily life, just trying to get through each day. I have also felt like I haven't FELT Eli and that has terrified me, like I was losing him, like little pieces of him were slipping from my memory.
This simple interaction at Target, the smile of the young cashier, the joking about the cold, the thoughts of the warm hot chocolate, the gift card, the cold. I NEEDED this. I needed it to bring me back to where I needed to be. Eli gave me what I needed and I felt my baby again. This is where I need to be and this is what I need to be doing. This is what my holiday season will be. Eli and I will embrace the cold and bring smiles and warmth to the least expecting.