Monday, November 3, 2014

Sharing Your Favorite Things

Peanut -

Momma feels terribly guilty.  The month of October slipped by without a public blog letter, even though there was a constant question that tugged at my heart the entire month.

As Momma and Dadda attempted to navigate the conflicting Halloween costume wants of your little brother (Fireman? Ghost? Spiderman? Broom riding witch/warlock? We landed on Superman for the second year in a row.)  I couldn't help but realize...I have no idea what costume you would have chosen at the big boy age of five.  What sports would you be playing?  What movie would be your favorite?  Is there a particular book that win favor over all the others on your bookshelf?  These are the choices that would normally dictate the costume dreams of a little boy.

It's hard to acknowledge that your favorite things at 16.5 months of age - your Froggy, The Backyardigans - would no longer even be on your radar screen at this point.  It's only as I watch your little brother grow, mature and move through the infant to baby to toddler to independent boy stages that I've had to face this stark reality.  (That and the fact that Nick Jr. seems to have totally discontinued The Backyardigans?!)

Tonight, as I put your little brother to bed, he chose one of your Backyardigan books.  At the end of the book he asked me to repeat the name each character, with a big grin.  I explained that this was your favorite show, sang a bit of the theme song, and talked about each of the characters: Tyrone, Austin, Pablo and Uniqua.  The Pickle just giggled and said, "I know Momma.  I'm going to see him in a few minutes."

I managed to calmly ask, "You're going to see Connor???"

And he just looked up at me and stated, "Yep!  I do lots!  Nighty night.  Thanks.  I love you."

Well, huh.  I've always believed you are here with us, on my shoulder, in the butterflies that visit us, sitting at the kitchen table as we laugh and share stories.  And now there is this.  You're getting to know your brother within the limitations of this earth through dreams.  Yes, Peanut, I believe.

The week before Halloween your brother ran into a table and gave himself one heck of a black eye.  Just like you did in 2010.  The feeling of history repeating itself is nagging at my brain and heart.  Is this merely a coincidence?  Gosh...I have trouble believing in coincidences at this point.  Maybe it is simply bad timing.  I don't know.  What I do know - Momma's vigilance is on steroids for the next several months.

Peanut, I miss your sweet eyelashes, gentle touch, head-thrown-back laugh, blonde curls and deep blue eyes. I miss hearing you exclaim, "Hiiiiiii, kitteah kaaaahhhh!" and whispering, "Mommmaaaaa."  I. Miss. You.

Momma loves you so very much. To the moon - and back!

- Momma

Peanut Froggy - Halloween 2010 (Can you see the shiner over his left eye?)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Your 5th Birthday

Peanut -

Happy 5th birthday.  I'm sure there should be an exclamation point after that, but Momma just can't muster that level of enthusiasm today.  Just uttering or typing that phrase brings tears to my eyes, thinking about everything we are missing.  And how much I miss you.

Peanut.  My first born son.  The child who opened my heart and eyes to selfless love.  Momma love.  The child who, even (or maybe especially?) in death, has taught me to live with joy, grace and forgiveness even when anger and despair felt like the easier, more justified options.  My child.

Five years ago it was a hot September Saturday.  Summer was enjoying its finally hurrah for the year, and Momma wasn't expecting you to arrive until September 25 so a pedicure and late lunch were on the agenda.  But early morning cramps had me wondering...could these be contractions?  And by early afternoon Momma and Dadda were rushing to the hospital, praying we made it in time as we hit every single red light.  We did, and you were born just a few hours later.  As the delivery nurse so appropriately said, just a tiny little Peanut.

Peanut, I wish I could see the 5 year-old version of you, blowing out five candles on a giant chocolate cake, tossing a football with your friends in the backyard and wrestling with the dog.  While I can picture this image in my mind, my heart and hands long to reach out an touch your long, graceful fingers.  To gaze into those deep blue eyes again, and give you Eskimo kisses.

Happy birthday in Heaven, Peanut.  Here on Earth we will celebrate your birthday, your life, your Peanut Effect, your love and...well...you.  My amazing son.  I love you so very, very much.  How much?  Come on, silly, you know!  To the moon - and back.

- Momma




 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Almost 5

Peanut -

Your birthday is coming up on Friday of this week.  This has proven to be a particularly difficult birthday for Momma for a number of reasons.

First, Momma simply cannot envision what you should be doing at age 5.  The things - activities, words, phrases, opinions - I thought would wait until 5 have emerged at 2.5 with your little brother, so I am clearly way out of my depth.

Second, an extremely close family member seemingly forgot your birthday was this week.  When I was asked "what do you have going on this weekend?" Momma responded, "Peanut's birthday is Friday so we're pausing, remembering, and celebrating."  The response?  "Ohhhhh....yes.....that's this week....<big sigh>"  Should Momma be upset?  Maybe.  But this is the shape of the future.  Momma and Dadda will always remember but can we expect others to do the same?

To that end, last night Momma and Dadda made a pledge.  We will always talk about you.  We will share our story and help others realize that grief isn't so scary when shared with joy.  That I love talking about you, my amazing, adorable first son.

Coincidentally (I think not), the Zac Brown Band is playing in St. Louis on Friday night, September 12.  Your birthday.  The guys responsible for "Chicken Fried" - which you learned and loved at school - are playing on your birthday.  Thanks to Dadda we have tickets!  So, Momma and Dadda will be bopping up and down to your music as we celebrate the life, love, smiles, hugs, grins, and butterfly kisses that are you.

Peanut, I'm sure there will be more posts this week than usual (lately).  The grief is heavy in my heart and this blog helps Momma lift that weight.

Peanut, I love you so very much.  I know you are with us, every moment of every day.  And, I hope you are proud.  I love you sweet, darling boy with the deep, blue eyes and feather-long eyelashes.  Mmmmmmmwwwwwwaaaahhhhh!

- Momma


Monday, September 1, 2014

September...

Peanut -

Here it is again.  September.  Your birth month.  In just a few days (9/12) we should be celebrating your birthday with a cake lit up by 5 candles.  But...no.  Instead Momma is watching your classmates enter school, play sports and grow up.  Meanwhile, you are forever 16.5 months old.  I know in my heart and brain you are an amazing athlete, comedian, scholar, and citizen of this world.  I just wish everyone else had gotten the opportunity to feel your warmth and potential.  Maybe, in some small way, this blog has helped spread the word about your amazingness (made up word by Momma).  To expand your Peanut Effect.

We just retuned from our annual family vacation at Big Cedar and - once again - felt an incredible connection to you.  Momma and Dadda spent several hours sharing photos and videos of you with The Pickle, and explaining who you are and where you've gone.  This might be the most challenging part of being a bereaved parent with subsequent kiddos.  How do you explain death?  Especially when it's sudden, unexpected and without explanation?

Momma took a picture of your brother while on vacation that tells me he might just see you...I'm not sure but I choose to believe.  It is included below.

This fall is going to be full of fun, exciting and bittersweet moments.  As time churns forward, the fact that you are forever frozen in time becomes more starkly apparent.  Momma chooses to love, be joyful, and to find the wonderful happiness you opened in my heart.  But still...I reserve a corner of sadness and grief for you.

I love you soooooooooooooo very much.   How much?  Well, to the moon - and back, silly!

- Momma


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

First Day of School Pictures

Peanut -

I need to acknowledge something.  Momma's posts are fewer and fewer.  This doesn't mean my love, grief and living for you have subsided.  It's more that these emotions have become integrated into Momma's day-to-day activities.  I talk about you all the time, you surround me in my office, and you are a topic of daily conversations with The Pickle.  But, like today, there is still a need for this forum to share the odd moments bereaved parents grapple with in unexpected ways.

Friends, I adore, love and cherish the "first day of school" pictures I see on Facebook.  I can feel your pride and adoration.  And, I can't wait until we hit these milestones.  What's so hard is that we were supposed to hit a very important milestone this year.  Kindergarten.

Peanut, you should be starting Kindergarten along with all of your friends from The Elegant Child as well as all our our friends who had children in 2009.  This year I've had to watch them start playing soccer and baseball.  Softball and hockey.  Guitar lessons.  Camp.  And now...school.

Pictures, pictures everywhere.  They have bombarded Momma this week.  Wherever I turn I see "First Day" pics and realize - this will be a reality every year.  I can choose to embrace it or let it shut me down.  So, embrace it is the choice.

The loss of you feels so new and fresh thanks to these milestones.  Yet we are now over three years since your death...so few people remember and understand.  Momma is reminded that this is a forever journey.  

Peanut, you know what forever means?  I love you, to the moon - and back.  For eternity.

- Momma