Aila Jane Walker | June 24, 2014
Remembering Aila : Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day
This week has been heavy. More so than last year for some reason. Possibly because I was pregnant with Easton and had the excitement to distract me. Or perhaps because we chose to go on vacation the week before her birthday last year. This second birthday feels like I expected the first to feel. So many vivid memories streaming in, like it was yesterday. But our life continues on.
So we woke up and like every morning, the boys snuggled together while Asher watched a cartoon and I made breakfast. I took a picture to document their cute matching jammies, but as I looked at the photo later this morning, the heaviness set in again. I picture one more squeezed between them. With curly pigtails and the same blue eyes they all share. I can hear her running around saying “I Me 2!” And holding up 3 fingers instead of 2 like her big brother did when he turned 2.
I would have made her pancakes for our traditional birthday breakfast in bed, and let her watch way more Elmo or “Monkey” than she would normally be allowed. I'd let her sit on the counter to help me bake her cake and help me measure the ingredients and turn on the mixer. I’d let her dip her chunky finger in the frosting and lick the beaters afterwards. The cake may not turn out as well from the spills and the overflowing measurements, but I wouldn't care.
Those are my dreams. What I do know is that she's in Heaven celebrating big. I am comforted to know she has a ton of friends who also lost their mommies that are loving on her today. I hope her big “sisters” Faith and Audrey Caroline, the daughters of two of my dear friends who have been instrumental in my grieving and healing, are helping braid her hair and paint her nails for her special day. I hope they helped bake her cake and let her put the sprinkles on, nibbling on some in between. I bet she’s being bossy to Jet, the “little kid” of my friend that joined her up there shortly after. And I know she’s met each and every one of your children who you have lost and graciously shared with me each and every time I have posted about Aila.
Maybe the little ones are blowing her candles out for her before she has a chance or tearing the wrapping off of her gifts for her out of excitement. I don’t know exactly how Heaven works, and I know it says there will be no mourning once there, but I like to think she misses us. I also like to believe that God lets her see a glimpse of her family, especially on days like today.
Last night, when we talked about her birthday at bedtime and how we wanted to celebrate, Asher said “if wind blows out the birthday candles, we'll know that it's Aila blowing them out from heaven.” I took these photos outside today because the light in my studio was too dim. It was 90 degrees and the air was still, as it usually is at our house. But the wind came out of nowhere and blew the candles out right as I was taking the photo, just as he'd hoped. It took 10 matches to relight them. I love the little reminders that God cares for us and remembers us.
I know He doesn't need me to ask because He loves her more than I ever could, but I'm asking that Jesus smothers her with extra love today and spoils her rotten. And that He'll show her how much we miss her every second of everyday, but especially today. And that we're down her celebrating her. Asher also hopes he shows her the beautiful flowers he spread out all across her grave.
We had plans to order gluten-free pizza, because I craved pizza constantly while I was pregnant with her. If you have Meals Made Simple, which I wrote entirely while pregnant with Aila, you can thank you her for the Pepperoni Pizza Pasta recipe in that book. I was going to pick up some gluten-free cupcakes to celebrate with tonight, but this morning I felt the urge to bake my girl a cake. Because that's what I would have done if she was here. I wrote this cake recipe for her 1st birthday, while I was working on my Celebrations cookbook. It's supposed to be saved for the book, but she would want you all to have it. She would want your children who have food allergies or intolerances to get to enjoy their birthdays.
As I expected, the build up to her birthday, and the day after, were actually worse than the day itself. The day was sweet, and special. There were lots of tears, but there was a lot of joy and we enjoyed time as a family, remembering and celebrating her. I always have a deep sense of loss the day after her birthday and a big pit in my stomach. I spend so much time anticipating her birthday, and enjoy the attention we give her and that everyone remembers her. But the next day, it's back to normal life. Everyone moves on, and we have to move forward. I mourn that another year has come and gone, but rejoice that we're another year closer to when we get to be with her again.
Happy birthday sweet Aila girl. We miss you more than words can express.
That was so moving Danielle, it brought tears to my eyes. I don’t have children yet so I can’t even begin to imagine your pain and loss but I could feel your emotion and I feel for you immensly. God bless you and your gorgeous family.
Thank you Danielle for sharing this very meaningful recipe. I look forward to trying it. I can’t even begin to imagine your pain, could never say the right words. I don’t think there are any. All I know is that love transcends everything. My beloved grandma moved on to heaven almost 2 months ago and I miss her terribly. Everyday. But I’ll bet she gave your beautiful girl lots of birthday hugs too.
What a beautiful way for you and your family to pay tribute to your angel daughter. I love Asher’s thoughts on Aila blowing out her candles from Heaven and also on Jesus showing her the beautiful flowers he picked out for his sister. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.
Kirsten Coate Bibeau
Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. ?
Danielle. This was one of the most achingly beautiful things I have ever read. I’m sitting in the library and trying to wipe away the tears without making too much of a scene.
My heart hurts for your loss. I am sorry for the pain that you experience. A mother should not lose a child. It’s not supposed to happen that way, and I cannot begin to imagine the depth of that loss.
I’ll try to send an extra dose of peace and calm into the Universe this day, for you and your sweet living family and your little angel Aila.
Thank you for your honest sharing that has touched my heart today.
Juleigh Barringer Miller
I’ve always said that there is a big playground in heaven right by the pearly gates where our children are playing and waiting for us to join them. ?
I couldn’t agree more! 🙂
Beautiful post. Five birthdays without my son have passed and each one brings different emotions, some joyful and some so very sad. Thank you for having the courage to share your post with us all, I share in your tears. Happy Birthday sweet Aila, I hope you enjoyed watching your family celebrate you!!
Your post just put me to tears. I’m stricken with grief just imagining…sending you love and positive energy. I hope when you read this comment it boosts your spirits. I have all your cookbooks on my counter and they have changed my life. I admire you and respect you and you’re doing one amazing job at life and motherhood. Aila is always with you. My Mom is taking good care of her up in the clouds 😉 HUG!
Thank you Crystal! I am so sorry for your loss.
Hi Janine- Thank you, I hope you really enjoy it! Yes, you could frost it and refrigerate it. It should hold up for a few days.
Thank you for your beautiful tribute to Aila, and for sharing your heart with us. Thanks to you sharing her recipe, my 2 year old with food allergies will now have a delicious (and safe!) cake for her birthday next week. I will be thinking of your family as we celebrate. Hugs and prayers to you!
Natalie Marie Munch
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I can only imagine how difficult it was to be vulnerable but your story is reaching many.
I’m making it for our Twins’ 1st birthday party this weekend… Does the butter for the icing need to be cold or softened? Thanks so much!
Made this and it was really good. The frosting was super yummy. Even my daughter who is picky and I haven’t found really a cake she will eat, said she liked this.
So glad she liked it!
Thank you, Maria, for sharing your story. Thinking of you and your family – Our little angels are with us always!
I’m so happy you’re enjoying it Sheena.
Hi just wondering if cassava flour(not tapioca starch) would sub equally for sweet potato flour in your chocolate cupcake recipe?
Bethany Ford Binkley
Thank you so much for your heartwarming post and your beautiful recipe. Searching for “paleo birthday cakes” as I shopped for birthday supplies, I found your post. (I’m pretty sure one of the grocery clerks caught me wiping away tears.) I chose this recipe for my daughter’s first birthday party last night, and it was a huge hit! Aila’s birthday cake is sweet, which goes over great with kids, and I could not get over how amazing the frosting turned out! Your post reminded me to practice gratitude as we celebrated Sephie’s first birthday, and your cake allowed her to smash and chow with abandon. Deep thanks.
So happy to hear Bethany!
I don’t know for sure but it I suspect you didn’t do the mixing steps long enough. It takes a long time but if you stick with it, following the cues for readiness, it does come together beautifully!
Thank you for so many things, Danielle. For sharing your heartbreaking and beautiful story, for this beautiful cake, for all your perfect recipes, and for being a person of such deep faith, as well as determination, honesty, and creativity. I have an Isla (pronounced just like your Aila) and I have called her “Isla girl”since the day she was born. I was looking for a cake for her second birthday and stumbled across this without paying careful attention at first who you had made it for and then upon closer look discovered how deeply it was meant to be that we make this cake. So, my Isla girl helped in the kitchen yesterday, our family swooned over the cake today, and I thought of you and your Aila girl the whole time. I’m blessing your girl and her memory, wishing your heart well, and sending every blessing to your beautiful family.
I made these into cake pops over the weekend for a baby shower and people LOVED them! I kept hearing “who made the cake pops!?” I loved sharing the story behind these and encouraging people to get your books because without them… I don’t know what I would eat! Thank you !
Wow sounds so good!! Thanks for sharing
I lost my baby Noah on the 4th of October 2017. What I’ve been through, what you’ve been through is the worst thing that can happen to a human being. I am really sorry that it happened to you. It takes a long time to learn how to live with that kind of pain, but I can finally see my depresion has healed and I smile again. I don’t know in what phase of the grieving process you are now, but time heals, have hope and patience.
I first made this cake for my son’s first birthday, almost 3 years ago, when we were figuring out what was triggering his skin problems. It was the perfect smash cake for his first birthday, and delicious! I was sorry others didn’t get to try it, because it was so good, but this mama definitely finished it off the next morning with a hot cup of coffee. Now myself being fully gluten free, I’ll be making this cake for myself on my 33rd birthday. As a mama who has also experienced loss, and who has been following you for the better part of a decade now, it’s always an honor to make any of your recipes, and especially this cake. What a beautiful way to keep Aila’s memory alive for you, your family, and your followers who feel like family.
Thank you so much for the kind words, Jessica!
Thank you so much for the recipes.
I am so sorry about your daughter and I love how you celebrate her birthdays. After my mom passed away she started to come and visit me in my dreams and so I know that our loved ones and/ or their energies are still around us. Whenever you think of her she will be with you. ❤️