I picked up the dress I wore to your memorial service from the dry-cleaner today. A task I've been putting off for weeks, as the receipt burned a hole in my wallet. It's only been worn once. And now I'm not sure what to do with it. Do I hang it in my closet? Put it with your special things? This is terrain I'm unfamiliar with and find myself at a total loss.
It's Tuesday night again. Will this night always bring the memory of our last hug, our last kiss, our last storytime together? I don't know...I hope so. While these memories still carry the hollow ache of missing you, the uncontrollable tears, and the painful stab that time is marching on, they also bring me so much joy. A constant reminder of how much I loved you and being YOUR Momma.
My Little Nutbrown Hare, I simply cannot let this evening pass without sharing my most favorite, Momma-only memory of you. Our special book was "Guess How Much I Love You" written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram. I was the only person "allowed" to read this book to you at bedtime. We would get you changed into your jammies, stand you in your crib, turn on the humidifier and then I'd pull out the book. Oh, you KNEW that book so well and would bounce up and down in anticipation. I had different voices for Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare, including expressions and gestures for each part of the book. You were a captive audience, and would cheer and clap me on. As we got to the end of the book, you knew exactly when to lean over, pucker up and get your giant Momma-kiss. Then you would grab Froggy and get settled in your crib as I turned on the nightlight and said, "Nighty-night Peanut. I love you to the moooooooon and back!"
Here is that very special passage from the book:
He was almost too sleepy to think anymore,
Then he looked out beyond the thorn bushes, out into the big, dark night.
Nothing could be farther than the sky.
“I love you right up to the moon,” he said, and closed his eyes.
“Oh that’s far,” said Big Nutbrown Hare. “That is very, very far.”
Big Nutbrown Hare settled Little Nutbrown Hare into his bed of leaves. He leaned over and kissed him good night. Then he lay down close by and whispered with a smile,
“I love you right up to the moon – and back.”
Well, that just about sums it all up. Peanut, I hope you never had to, or ever have to, "guess how much I love you." Because, to the moon and back is just the tip of the iceberg. With love.