You may think the "bitter" in this bittersweet story is the fact that Maggie has now been gone for three years and of course you are correct, but that is only a part of the story. The day she was born was the hardest day of my life. (Well second hardest now.) We were so excited to have our baby girl and that was dashed by the terrible news of the severe medical and physical issues that were threatening her life and would shape her life and ours forever.
Obviously, we came to understand those physical isues and embrace them as part of the person Maggie was, but initially it was incredibly difficult. And each year on her birthday, the horror of that day shadowed the celebration of her birthday for all of us, except Maggie. She loved her birthday, as most kids do. In Maggie's case though it was a day that made sense. She was the focus of the day as she figured she should be every day.
Maggie was a force in this world. She was small and disabled and many people overlooked her power, but that was at their peril. She was large and in charge and she let everyone know it as soon as she could.
If this were the Wizard of Oz, I would be Dorothy and Maggie would be the tornado. (Steve is probably the scarecrow.) The tornado swooped in and changed Dorothy's life and perspective forever. We were not in Kansas anymore when we were in Maggie's World. Maggie's World was Oz. We met so many wonderful people on our Yellow Brick Road and fought off witches and flying monkeys at every turn.
The likeness falls apart because Dorothy always wanted to leave Oz and get back to Kansas. I was happy in Oz and would have stayed there forever. But now I am back in Kansas. The tornado is gone and we are left to pick up the pieces and forge on like the scappy farmers we are. We are doing that, but I think Steve and I are are more akin Auntie Em and Uncle Henry these days.
It's boring and its flat in Kansas and on days like today I wistfully look back and remember the energy of the tornado, the good things it brought, and how it changed us all for the better.
Happy Birthday Maggie, we miss you and your incredible energy. It is still a part of all of us.