Today I started working on our taxes.  We have a program that automatically imports basic data from year to year, and there it was in black and white.  Kiran Ramanathan, age 4.

But, of course he will never be age 4.  Often I feel sad for me and Sekhar.  We will miss all the great experiences of parenting Kiran.  Just as often I feel so sad for the things he is missing.  He missed celebrating his 4th birthday with his friends at school.  How he would have loved that.  Birthdays were the best thing ever.  He made us sing happy birthday several times at every b-day event, it didn’t even matter whose birthday it was.

He missed picking out his own Halloween costume.  This is a big deal to a 4 year old.  I don’t even know what he would have picked.  Who would he have been by October, 10 months after his death?  So much changes for a child in that amount of time.  What would he have wanted for Christmas?  We were all robbed of the 4 year old Christmas morning experience.  He just loved the lights on the tree and wanted them on all day long.  In a great act of avoidance Sekhar and I traveled separately to visit our families this year.  Christmas meant nothing to us.  I can’t imagine it ever will.

I could list forever all the things he will never do.  Kindergarten, breathing trach free, first love, driving, graduation, marriage, children.  Big things and little things, he never tasted a pizza.

Most often I try to focus on what he did do.  Given Kiran’s humble health beginnings Sekhar and I always appreciated the little things.  We are so thankful that we treated him as a normally as possible.  It was a big deal to ride the train and go to the playground, or dip his feet in the ocean waves.  Going to preschool and riding the bus, holding the hand of a friend.  He loved these things.  Things he was sheltered from early on.  He never lost appreciation for them.  Even before his death, I would observe other children his age and feel sad that they already felt the mediocrity of an elevator ride, or a bookstore visit.  Kiran always had fresh eyes and excitement.  He had no expectation and thus was usually happy (well, he was 3 after all).

In my best moments I still see the world through his eyes.  He was a breathe of fresh air…but he will never be 4 years old.