You made Momma and Dadda's day today. Henry's too. Despite the oppressive St. Louis heat, we found a very pleasant spot in the shade this afternoon to hang out, catch the minimal breeze and play fetch with Henry...all while looking out over your Very Special Tree. Wait, wait. Let's back up a few hours.
So, this morning was overwhelmingly sad for Momma. We went to IHOP for breakfast, and I couldn't shake my memories of visiting IHOP with you last fall and winter. You loved their pancakes with syrup - and everyone who worked there just adored you. It felt so wrong having breakfast there without you. Then again, there really aren't any places that feel "right" anymore. So, there we sat, in the middle of IHOP with Momma crying into her orange juice. <sigh>
Back to this afternoon. There we were - playing fetch, lounging in the grass, talking about you (and complaining a bit about the 13-year cicadas). When suddenly, out of nowhere we see this large, bright orange butterfly. It came sweeping in from above, and flew directly into Henry's snout, hovering for a moment then initiating a spirited game of tag. Henry leapt and bound around the yard, giving chase while Dadda and I called out "PEANUT!" With that, the butterfly flitted our way to say "Hi! hi! hi! hi!" then winged off back over Henry's head, across the front yard, over to your bedroom window, then off to the side of the house. It was you. Dadda and I felt it with such power, it brought us both to tears. Amazing. Powerful. Direct Peanut Contact.
Peanut, I truly believe we receive the signs we are open to hearing, seeing, feeling. Since January I have made the deliberate decision to be an open vessel. To believe. To have faith. A hard thing for a skeptic like Momma. But the rewards have been amazing. I feel you by my side, in my heart, holding my hand every single day. In this way, you continue to be part of my day-to-day conversations, decisions, thoughts. You lift my spirit in the dark, sad moments. You send me memories when I'm afraid I'm forgetting. You visit with a hug, froggy or butterfly when I need to know you're still present. And you very much are, every moment of every day.
Peanut, I love you more than words can ever describe. Actually, I don't think there is a word for the love I feel for you...a definite flaw of the English language. But, as I told you every night when you were on earth, and I will tell you every night for eternity - I love you to the moon and back!