Sunday, July 31, 2011

Farewell to July

Peanut -

Tomorrow is August 1.  Unbelievable.  Another month has passed.  Another month without you.  Before we know it, September will be here and we'll be into "Peanut season."   That is how I'll always think about fall, since you were born in September, and the only months we got to repeat with you were the fall months.  Two Halloweens.  Two Thanksgivings.  Two Christmas and New Year's celebrations.

I am dreading this fall.  It's going to be full of painful milestones.  Yet, also filled with anticipation as your little sibling grows day-by-day in Momma's belly.  The Bean is due January 17, 2012.  Just days before your Angel Anniversary.  My heart is very conflicted about this information.  Part of me thinks it will be healing to have a new life to give us hope as we struggle through that painful first anniversary.  Part of me is worried about the new baby being witness to far too much sadness so early in life.  Are we pinning too many hopes and dreams on this new little life?  Is the Bean feeling my sadness every day in the womb?  I hope not...I am really trying to let the Bean know there is love and happiness surrounding him or her, every moment of every day.

Peanut, I watched every video we have of you today.  It was so awe-inspiring to hear you, watch your expressions, hear your laughter again.  To see how quickly you grew, and how your gentle spirit and immense intelligence infused every look, every action.  Watching those videos really convinced  were our angel.  You still are.  Oh gosh...I miss you so much it's overwhelming.  To the moon and back, sweet Peanut.

- Momma

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lovely, Love My Family

Peanut -

There is a concert series coming to St. Louis at the end of summer called Lou Fest '11.  I've been ignoring most of the press about it, since the thought of attending a concert is the last thing on Momma's mind these days. However, an ad for the series caught my attention this morning when I saw The Roots encouraging people to attend since they would be the headliners.  The Roots!

In the past I knew them as simply a great band with a tuba (a TUBA!).  Then, as the funky band on Jimmy Fallon's coolly funny late night show.  But Mommahood totally changed my perspective.  They suddenly became the Yo Gabba Gabba band!  They were often featured on the show and were the main band at Nick Jr.'s big 2010 family concert.  Peanut, you and I watched that concert over and over and over again.  You got to listen and jive to the great music, watch other kids dance, and see the life-size Yo Gabba Gabba characters on stage...Peanut Crack!  

The song they performed most on the TV show, and during the concert was, "Lovely, Love My Family."  Every time it came on you and I would dance together, often with you pleading for me to pick you up so I could bounce and swing you around.  At the end of the song I would give you a giant kiss, and you'd return it with one of your awesome, around the neck Peanut Hugs.  Momma Crack!

Hearing that song now, and watching The Roots perform, doesn't bring sorrow or tears for Momma.  Just pure joy.  Joy in the memories of our dances, hugs and kisses.  Joy in the message of the music.  Joy in knowing what an amazingly happy, light-filled boy I have the honor to call my son, regardless of whether you are here on earth or in heaven.

Peanut, I am sending you music and dances, hugs and kisses.  Make sure all your friends in heaven dance, sing and laugh with you all the time...because all of us who love you here on earth will feel the joyful energy.  And know that I love, love, love the moon and back!

- Momma

Friday, July 29, 2011

My Friday Buddy

Peanut -

Fridays continue to be a painful reminder of how empty my days are - my life is - without you.  Working from home every Friday and getting to run errands, have breakfast and lunch, watch Nick Jr. and play on the floor with you was the highlight of my week.  Every single week.

I loved bundling you up in the chilly weather to run out in the morning for a cup of coffee before the day officially started.  Or waking you up from your morning nap to watch Yo Gabba Gabba and share a grilled cheese.  And you were always a willing Oprah viewer, perched on the couch next to me (unlike the other men in this household!).

Your absence hit me like a slap in the face this morning.  I jumped in the car to run an errand and grab some lunch.  About 15 minutes into the trip I caught myself talking to you and looking for you in the rearview mirror so we could share a laugh and a silly face.  But...there was no Peanut.  No giant, toothy grin.  No blue eyes staring back at me.  Even your Cowmooflage car seat is gone.  Just emptiness.

I've been told and have read that grief is incredibly lonely.  Up until today, I didn't agree with that statement because we've been surrounded and supported by loving friends and family.  But today.  This was the loneliest day of my life.  Because it truly hit me that my Peanut Fridays are never coming back.  There will be other Fridays with other kids and people, but they will never be the same.  Nor should they be.  

I love that we had those Fridays.  The memories, pictures and stories captured in those days reflect some of the best moments of my life.  Special Peanut and Momma days that further reinforced the amazing, strong, loving bond we had, and will have for eternity.  I love you my special little Nutbrown Hare.  To the moon and back.

- Momma

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Butterfly Friends

Peanut -

I woke up and got ready for work today with a very heavy heart.  Missing you, facing the 6-month mile marker of your loss, losing one of the has all taken its toll on Momma this week.  But, there was just too much work waiting for me at the office to take a mental health day.  So, I squared my shoulders and pulled it together to get into the office.

Before leaving the house, I searched the side yard for Zeke the Cat.  While I'm fine with him playing outside during the cooler overnight hours, it's just been too hot throughout the midwest for him to be a daytime outdoor kitty.  Luckily, I found him causing mischief right by the driveway, but before I could corral him inside we had a visitor.  A very familiar visitor.  PEANUT!?  BEAN?!  Actually, it was a large, bright gold and black butterfly who flitted around Zeke, then Momma, and continued to circle around us for a minute or two before heading off across the yard.

Over the course of this summer we have had the same two butterflies visitors.  I'm not sure where they "live" but they always fly by when Momma needs it most.  One is a beautiful orange and black Monarch butterfly who I've actually been seeing since mid-spring.  The other, a gold and black butterfly - a Tiger Swallowtail, I believe - started coming around in June.  Hmmmm...possibly the Baby Bean?

It gives me comfort to see these two lovely butterflies.  They know us, and my heart knows angel babies.  Thank you for lifting Momma's heart, and providing the strength I needed to get through the day with hope and energy.  I love you so very much - to the moon and back!

- Momma

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dreaming with A Broken Heart

Peanut -

John Mayer is one smart guy.  I say that for lots of reasons, but very specifically in regards to his lyrics, "When you're dreaming with a broken heart, waking up is the hardest part..."  Yes.  Yes, it is John Mayer.

The last several days have been exhausting.  Grief is exhausting.  And now I find that outside of getting up and going to work there isn't much I want to do besides curl up in bed.  With the TV on.  Every morning when my alarm goes off, I snooze three or four times trying to will myself to wake up, get moving.  But, all my brain and heart want to do is stay curled up with Zeke the Cat, dreaming about my Peanut.

Peanut, tonight's post is a short one.  Momma is bone tired, and knows she needs to take care of the growing Bean.  And, I know I'll get to see you in my dreams.  Until then, Peanut, I love you so, so, so much.  How much?  To the moon and back.

- Momma

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

6 Months =

Peanut -

According to Google Calculator, 6 months = 182.621099 days. Or, according to some sources: 26.0887285 weeks, 4 382.90639 hours, 262 974.383 minutes, 15 778 463 seconds.

To my heart, however, 6 months feels like...forever.

It's been a hard day.  A long day.  A dreaded milestone.  And yet, it's almost over.  It's stunning to experience the unrelenting passage of time.  It marches on, oblivious of emotion, tragedy, joy.  And, somehow it does help dull the edges of the raw pain.  No, time doesn't "heal."  But it does help shift the heart, mind and soul's focus towards the love, the joy, the wonderful memories and away from the horror and pain.  

Peanut, the loss of you, your absence, still feels very unreal to me.  After 6 months, that might seem odd or strange to some people.  I honestly still have moments when I think I'm going to wake up from this nightmare and hold you again on this earth.  Because, something as wonderful, special, full of light and love as you could never be taken away from this world before truly getting to grow and spread your wings.  Right?  Wrong, Momma.  But, that's why this blog exists.  To share you and your Peanut Effect with as many people as possible.  To make your loss mean something positive.  

Tonight I'm sharing a beautiful collage of photos that span the full 16.5 months of your amazing Peanut life.  This is modeled after the card we sent out to friends and family after your Memorial Service.  It is also the gift Dadda gave me for Mother's Day.  So special.  So touching.  So amazing.  And, a very special "thank you" to Heidi Drexler for allowing us to use and share her gorgeous photos of The 'Nut.

Miss you so much, Peanut.  I love you bunches and bunches of noodles.  To the moooooooon and back.

- Momma

Monday, July 25, 2011

July Anniversaries

Peanut -

Today - July 25th - is a pretty significant day.  Happiness and heartbreak all rolled into one Monday in July.  Tall order for a Monday, huh?  It is Momma and Dadda's 3rd wedding anniversary.  A big day because it marks the beginning of our little family.  Almost 6 months after getting married - the 3rd Monday in January of 2009 - we got the amazing news we were pregnant with YOU.  Nine months after that, on September 12, 2009, we had our amazing little Peanut.  And 16.5 months later - almost exactly 2 years after learning we were pregnant with you - we lost you.  With no warning, no explanation.

That is the other anniversary falling on July 25th.  It has been exactly 6 months since I last got a Connor-hug.  Felt your breath on my neck.  Heard you say "Momma."  Six months since I saw you alive and imagined a lifetime of forever with Peanut.  I prefer to mark this anniversary rather than tomorrow, the 26th.  That date will mark the 6 month "anniversary" of your death.  And, that is too much for Momma's brain to process right now.

I know as time, months, years pass these dates and days will not seem quite as significant.  However, right now, they mean the world to me.  I'm not quite sure how I'm going to get out of bed in the morning.  Function at work.  Talk to anyone.  Even care to shower and put on make-up.  Tomorrow I just want to remember you.  <sigh>

Peanut, I miss you soooooooo very much it tears my heart to pieces.  Tonight I will think of every last moment I had with you.  I will focus on the immense love I feel for you and that I felt from you every moment of every day.  And, I will cry.

To the moon and back, my baby boy.
- Momma

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Water Warrior!

Peanut -

Last July 24 Dadda and I took you to the very neat, interesting St. Louis City Garden.  The visit was part of our pre-wedding anniversary celebration, and it was very important to us that you be included in the weekend's activities.  Unfortunately, it was a hot morning, on the heels of a night of little-to-no sleep thanks to the awful hotel experience we'd had at Union Station the night before.  We canceled our plan to stay the whole weekend downtown, but on the way home wanted to introduce you to the City Garden.

Luckily, we were there fairly early in the morning, so it wasn't terribly crowded.  Momma decided to set you down in the midst of the water fountains, figuring you would sit and pose for a picture.  BOY was I wrong!  The fountains started shooting up to your left! right! behind you! in front! and off you went in full-speed crawl mode.  My brave little water soldier.  I was torn...rescue the Peanut or capture the whole event in pictures.  I'm ashamed to admit it...I took the pictures.  And looking back on them now, well, they are priceless.  And perfect.  Like you.

By the time you crossed through all the fountains and Momma "saved" you, your shirt and hair were soaked.  But you, my Peanut, you were just fine.  Your wet shirt kept you nice and cool for the rest of our visit to the Garden - unexpected benefit!  We took a lot of other pictures, but tonight I'm sharing the series of fountain crossing photos and the smiles they bring to my face.

Peanut, I am so blessed to have these memories.  To remember 16.5 months - perfect months - with my amazing, wise, funny little boy.  You never had a bad day.  You taught me every single day to be more patient.  To appreciate family and smiles.  And really, really good hugs.  I miss your hugs, Peanut.  So tonight, I rub my baby bump and am thankful for this new, little life.  I celebrate our blessings while allowing myself to fully feel and appreciate the sadness and loss we've experienced over these last 6 months.  And, I send you Momma love, hugs and the moon and back.

Love you,

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Angel Bean In Heaven

Peanut -

We had a 14-week ultrasound yesterday to "check in" on the Beans.  Dadda and I entered the appointment full of optimism, with lots of laughs and jokes about how big Momma was going to get, how hungry the babies must be, etc.  But, the moment the ultrasound image popped on the screen, I knew something was wrong.  I could see one baby very clearly.  An active, healthy Bean.  But...where was the other one?  The ultrasound technician doubled checked with us, "You said twins, right?"  I took a deep breath, "Yes.  Something's wrong, isn't it?  You don't see both of them, do you?"  Finally, after much searching she was able to find our very teeny, tiny, non-surviving Bean.

You see, Peanut, that little Bean wasn't meant to survive on Earth.  Instead, our Baby Bean is in Heaven, with you.  It's going to be your job to tell that Bean all about Momma and Dadda.  How much we love all of you, and how we're all going to be together again, someday.  Now we have two little angels, watching us and watching over the Bean still growing stronger, day by day, in Momma's tummy.

This has been terribly difficult news to handle.  Especially on the edge of your 6-month anniversary.  Maybe someday this will all make sense.  Maybe not.  Probably not.  Dadda and I have allowed ourselves to indulge the sadness today while also celebrating you.  We visited Forest Park, where Grandma and Grandpa had a brick paver installed in your memory.  And, two VERY special stowaways came along for the ride.  We also stopped by your school and visited the amazing froggie butterfly garden statue your classmates and teachers created.

Today we remembered you through smiles, tears, stories, and tributes.  A perfect Peanut day.  And now, it's almost time to say goodnight to this long, hot, sad day.  And, to my beautiful son, and his new angel sibling in Heaven.  Loving you and aching to hold you both.  To the moon and back.

- Momma

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Annie's Hope

Peanut -

Holy cow.  The heat is taking its toll on Momma, and about 90% of the United States.  I keep thinking about how this heat must be keeping kids inside day after day since it's dangerous to play outside, and even the swimming pools are too hot to be refreshing, or they're shut down.  I'll bet your school has had to keep everyone off the playground, and probably hasn't even been able to take walks with their neat 6-passenger buggies.  Peanut, you would be super-frustrated if you were here to experience this heat wave.

In the midst of this heat, and at the end of a long day at work, we went to one of our first family support groups this evening, hosted and facilitated by an amazing St. Louis-based group named Annie's Hope -  It is exhausting and exhilarating to be surrounded by people who have experienced significant loss.  We all speak a very similar language, share a need for safe people and places, and understand that we are no longer "whole."  We are healing, but scarred.  Changed people, trying to discover the new individuals we are becoming on a daily basis.

Peanut, we displayed your collage of pictures on a special tribute/memory table and I had the opportunity to share your photos with other moms who "get it."  We got to talk about you a bit, and listen to how others are coping.  But, more than anything, we met another facet of the new community, the tragic club, we became members of on January 26.

Momma got to cry some Peanut tears in public and also share some laughs.  It feels good to talk about you...I think you were listening.  After the meeting we came home to find two froggies hanging out on the kitchen window, and they made me smile.  Two froggies - one to represent each of your very special froggies who sit so lonely in your bedroom.  I know they miss you, just like Momma.  We mis and love you - to the moon and back!

- Momma

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Peanut -

After we had you, I gave all - ALL - my maternity clothes to a few of my favorite pregnant girl friends.  I loved being able to pass them along, since we weren't planning to have any more children.  And, my request to each of them was to please pass anything in good condition to someone else when they were done.  I love thinking about all the happy, glowing mommas out there who have worn those makes me feel like a part of you gets shared each time the clothes land on someone else's doorstep.

So, this has resulted in a fairly pressing need for me to go out and buy some new maternity clothes.  The Beans are growing fast - much faster than you did - and there are TWO of them.  I barely needed maternity clothes at 14 weeks with you but with these guys?  I can't zip ANY of my regular pants!  To meet the immediate need, I went shopping for some dress pants yesterday, and somehow got talked into trying on what looked like jeans.  The sales associate assured me they would look "super cute."

Here I am, wedged in the somewhat small dressing room, with my already big-ish pregnant tummy under the unflattering light and I decide to try on the jeans.  Within seconds I realize...these aren't jeans at all!  These are jeggings.  But, wait.  Aren't jeggings for tiny framed teenagers?  Not pregnant middle-aged women. Right?  Just for giggles, I decided to actually get these bad boys - full belly panel and all - onto my twin carrying butt.  Oh, Peanut, the shame!  I took one look in the mirror and pictured you laughing and saying, "No Momma, NO!"  And not just a little laugh, but your full, head-thrown-back laugh that exposed ALL your teeth!

Needles to say, I did not purchase the maternity jeggings.  Pregjeggings.  What a terrible concept.  (I mean, seriously.  See picture below.)

Peanut, honoring you and making you proud takes all forms.  From giving grace, patience and love, to not wearing embarrassing clothes meant for skinny people half my age.  Yep, that's how we roll.

Dreaming of you, missing you, and sending you smiles, love and hugs tonight.  To the moooooooooon and back!

- Momma

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

No More "Baby" Clothes

Peanut -

I stopped by Target this afternoon to buy three very specific items.  Kleenex, 9-volt batteries and laminating pouches.  That's it.  Right?  Riiiiiiiight.  But, it's TARGET.  There's so much to see.  So many little departments full of stuff, stuff, stuff.  Fun stuff.  Peanut stuff.  Oh, Momma just couldn't resist the siren song of Target.

Background: Before arriving at Target, I had experienced a truly lousy day.  Something happened earlier in the morning that made Momma feel so lonely, betrayed and full of sorrow that it was almost like being catapulted back several months to the very intense stage of grief.  Like the oppressive, inescapable heat bubble that has swallowed St. Louis this week, the sadness and isolation were stifling.

So, I find myself standing inside Target with my very specific shopping list.  But I'm instantly drawn to the baby/toddler clothing department.  In my brain I'm thinking that I'll look for some newborn items for The Beans.  Which I did.  But, then I wandered over to the toddler boy clothes.  I was pulling out all the 18-24 month items when it struck me like a bolt of lightning...that really wouldn't be your size anymore.  In less than 2 months you would be turning TWO.  Moving into real toddler clothes and sizes.  No more "baby" clothes.  All the Peanut jackets, shirts, pants, shorts, etc. we have would no longer fit if you were still alive.  But, you aren't.  Another harsh reminder from Reality. <sigh>

Peanut, I've had to pull up and try to find the lesson in a grueling day like today.  Maybe it's this - give people as much grace as possible, regardless of how thoughtless, hurtful or inappropriate they may be.  Because, they don't know this journey.  My journey.  They really don't know you.  Their comments and selfishness aren't about me or our family - it's all about them, their baggage and insecurities.  And I refuse to carry their baggage.  I refuse to let it weigh me down or get me down.  I'm stronger than that, better than that...I'm Peanut's Momma.  And that's just one of the millions of reasons I love you, my Peanut, to the moon and back.

- Love, Momma

Monday, July 18, 2011

Apple Green Bumbo

Peanut -

This evening I came across a whole album of photos taken the day Dadda came home with a brand new, apple green Bumbo for you.  The Bumbo was amazing!  It allowed you to sit up and hang out with us well before you were totally stable sitting all on your own.  Of course, for this first round of photos, we plopped you in the Bumbo WAAAAAAAAY up high on the kitchen table.  Safety first, right?  I guess I was more concerned about getting you seated right next to a bowl of...guess what....yes, green apples.

The expression on your face in these pictures is priceless.  And so Peanut.  It is your consistent, "What the heck is going on?  What are you crazy people doing?!" expression.  As you got older, that expression often gave way to either a raised eyebrow, or a knowing laugh that was well beyond your years.

I miss your looks, your furrowed brows, your giant grins and musical laughter.  I miss you.  Everything, everything, everything about you.  I hope you can feel all the love I'm sending you on a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute basis.  My love for you is more expansive than the universe, brighter than the sun.  In short, I love you to the moon and back...and beyond.

- Momma

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Guardian Peanut

Peanut -

I'm afraid.  Afraid to be too hopeful.  Afraid to think everything will be "OK."  Afraid to think this pregnancy will be good and safe.  Afraid to think we will watch The Beans grow and be healthy little babies, toddlers, teen-agers and beyond.  Afraid to think, "Lightning can't strike the same family twice."

I'm afraid because I can't explain the unexplained.  How does my healthy, strong, amazing little 16.5 month old boy go to bed one night, only to never wake up again?  If it can happen to him, can't it happen to any child?  And, what if it's my fault?  Dadda had four other kids from his first marriage, with no problems or incident.  What if it's something about me, my bloodline, my genetics, my health history?  What if it's something I pass along to the twins?

I know we - I - can't live in fear.  My only source of optimism is you.  I truly believe the twins will have a special, guardian angel...a Guardian Peanut.  You will sit on their shoulders, watch over them, keep them safe, and will make sure they get to know their amazing big brother.

Peanut, my angel, I'm sorry if I ask too much.  It's just that you are such a powerful, wonderful spirit, I truly believe you are still present in every aspect of our lives.  Momma loves and misses you so very much.  To the moon and back...times infinity.

- Momma

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Crack-uuh! Bi-buh!

Peanut -

Dadda and I were laughing over dinner tonight, reminiscing about your love of all types of crackers,  while I ate some oyster crackers.  You loved crackers so much that cracker - actually, "crack-uuh" - became one of your first words.  Yes, in typical Mulholland fashion, you chose a food product as one of your first words!

"Crack-uuh" was an all-inclusive descriptor for you.  It could mean Goldfish, graham crackers, saltines, Townhouse Flipsides, Ritz crackers...yes, the list could go on and on and on.  Peanut, I honestly don't think you ever met a cracker you didn't adore.  I would give you a little pile of crackers to snack on, and as soon as it vanished you would tug on my leg, "Crack-uuh! Crack-uuh?  Crack-uuh?!"  Yes, I always complied.  Happily.

Another one of you first words was "Bi-buh."  It took Dadda and I a little while to figure that one out.  You would stand by our wall of bookshelves, patiently trying to pry my books out for what seemed like hours.  While in the midst of that effort, you would point to each book on the various shelves and say "Bi-buh."  Then you'd look at me and smile, "See Momma?  I get it!"  Dadda and I were mystified.  Especially when you started saying it after pointing at DVDs on our movie shelves.

I finally shared this new, odd word with my mom, who just started laughing.  She led me into their kitchen, and pointed to a Connor-eye-level bookshelf.  A shelf full of Bibles.  Ooooohhhhhhhhhhh....In Peanut's world, every book (and anything that looked like a book) was a "bi-buh!"

Peanut, these are the small things.  The little, but truly meaningful memories and stories about you that make me smile every day.  I am soooooo terribly afraid of forgetting the details.  I'm amazed and scared by the power of the human memory to fade and photoshop memories - both painful and beautiful ones, without discrimination.  It is with renewed vigor that I try to remember and capture these memories before the dulling effect becomes more pronounced.

I love and cherish you, your memories, the smiles I find in these stories, and every beautiful ripple created by your Peanut Effect.  Sending you a giant kiss in heaven...and another one here on earth via your Froggies.  They miss you very much.  We all do.  To the moon and back, sweet boy.

- Momma

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall...

Peanut -

I was cleaning a mirror this afternoon and kept seeing flashes of you and your goofy laugh-smile face staring back at me.  I can't even begin to keep track of the number of minutes you and I spent playing the mirror together, whether it be in the bathroom while brushing our teeth, or in the dining room before getting you ready for a nap, it always brought laugher and funny faces.  And, I know the big mirror at school could keep you preoccupied for hours!

Peanut, I've been missing you a lot today.  I actually really struggled with what to write tonight because "I miss you" is the only phrase that keeps playing over and over in my head.  Rather than fight it, I'm giving my brain and my heart permission to keep playing that record on repeat until sleep visits tonight.

My Little Nutbrown Hare, I love you - to the moon and back.

- Momma

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Blue Blue Eyes

Peanut -

I wonder...will Chickpea or Lima Bean have your amazing blue eyes?  Those eyes were so stunning.  And, so surprising!  Dadda and I fell in love with those blue beauties early on, and we kept waiting for them to change color as you grew older.  But, by your 1-year appointment with your wonderful pediatrician, she confirmed.  Yep.  Those blue eyes weren't going anywhere.  Oh joy!  We would get to look at those peepers for years to come!  In all those school pictures.  Family portraits.  Your wedding photos.  Maybe you would pass them along to your kids.  Momma loved to project far, far into the future.

Now, I am left gazing at those blue eyes frozen in time.  In picture after picture.  I try to erase the memory of your eyes the morning you died.  Those eyes that weren't yours at all.  The light and the blue had faded. They were the first indication I had that you were really gone...I couldn't find my Peanut.

Now I wonder...will I look at your little brother or sister a few months from now and see a glimmer of you?  A glimmer of blue?  Is that fair to wonder?  To ask?  I don't know...I guess time will tell.

Peanut, I miss you.  I love you.  To the moon and back!

- Momma

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Moose and Zee, I Miss You!

Peanut -

Here are the magic words that could stop you in your tracks immediately:

"It's PUZZLE TIME!!!!"

Lucky for you, the Nick Jr. intro music gave you a tad bit of warning that your favorite host, Moose A. Moose, was about to come on the air.  You would shove a few last Cheerios or Goldfish in your mouth, get closer to the TV or climb onto your Little Tykes playset for the best Peanut Seat in the house, and would proceed to be transfixed for the next 5 minutes.

The puzzles and games hosted by Moose and Zee delighted you, and you caught on to the educational aspect shockingly fast.  But, you REALLY loved it when Moose sang.  Around each holiday or change of the season he would have a special song dedicated to what makes that time of year so special.  You and I would clap, laugh and dance to all his songs - especially the one about how all Moose wanted for Christmas this year was a candy cane.

Momma really appreciated how each segment showed the friendship and caring between Moose and his silent bird-partner, Zee.  They were always so kind to each other.  What a great example.  And, you were fascinated by Zee, with his giant, blinking eyes and bright blue color. Of everything we watched on Nick Jr., I was most supportive of the Moose and Zee bits.  Well, that and the Backyardigans!

Sometimes I watch Nick Jr. by myself now, and I pretend you're watching it with me from heaven.  Do you get Nick Jr. in heaven?  I wonder.  Just hearing Moose's voice brings a piece of you back to me, Peanut.  Is that odd?  For me, sound is a bit like evokes very strong memories, sensations, feelings.  Tears and smiles.

Peanut, sweet Peanut...missing you terribly tonight.  I love you so much - to the moon and back.

- Momma


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Click Your Heels Together 3 Times...

Peanut -

Lately I find myself staring at pictures of you - especially the pictures that feature your giant Peanut smile - and I start to question if this is really happening.  Is it possible it is all a long, terrible dream?  A nightmare?

I look at your face, that smile, that personality and question what kind of world, what kind of reality, would let us have you for such a brief period time, only to steal you away in such a horrific, unexplained way?  There is no way this is the life I am actually living.

Maybe if I put on my shiny red shoes, click my heels together 3, 10, 200 times and say a special prayer 10,000 different ways, I'll wake up and have you back.  Maybe there is some other ritual, dance, song, chant that I don't know that might bring you back to me.  Maybe.  Or, not.

Peanut, I know you're gone.  I know I'll never hold or smell or touch or hug you again on this earth.  I just don't want to believe it's true.  It's too hard to face.  To comprehend.  To process.

I stare at one particular picture of you, and remember every moment, every detail, of the day I took the picture.  The joy and overwhelming love.  The intense happiness.   The sunshine of my Peanut.  That is your legacy.  I love, love, love you, my baby boy - to the moon and back.

- Momma

Monday, July 11, 2011

Let. Me. Out. NOW!

Peanut -

Beginning in late May of last year, you got the itch to roam.  The house, the yard - basically anyplace that had a fence (aka - Peanut Containment Area).  You also discovered how much fun it was to rattle and bang the gates for maximum noise effect.  No matter how firmly tethered or securely installed, you always found a way to pull up and rattle the gates to your very particular Peanut satisfaction.

The gate between our TV room and the dining room was a tall, white metal contraption, with decent gaps between the bars.  So, not only did the gate make an awesomely loud rattling sound when you threw your full weight into banging it, you could also drop most of your toys right through the bars.  FUN!

The gate system we used throughout the TV room was a large, primary colored lock-together playzone system.  Every few panels had interactive toys that played music, clicked, clacked and ate tons of batteries!  So, you could not only bang the playzone against the walls, but we also got a sound and light show.  Rock on, Penaut!

It is this noise, this energy that I miss so much.  Our house feels like a tomb to me now.  It is so big and quiet without your laughter, your toys, your banging, your energy.  I still felt a trace of that energy in the weeks after you died, but it seems to have faded away.  I hope that means you have found your happy, secure place in heaven.

Peanuckle, I miss you.  I love you.  I think about you and dream about you all the time.  Just know that means I love you to the moon, the sun, across the universe, beyond and back.

- Momma

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Peanut The Swimmer

Peanut -

Exactly 1-year ago, Dadda and I coated you in sunblock, popped you into a swim diaper, and spent part of the morning splashing around in the pool with you.  Actually, Dadda swam with you while I sat on the pool deck snapping pictures and videos.  July 10, 2010.  What a sunny, happy day.  What a difference a year makes.

Rather than indulge the tears that seem so persistent today, I am trying my hardest to think back on that day with a smile.  I had totally forgotten how exhausted you were by the end of our Peanut Swimfest until I watched the videos were such a trooper!  Poor little 'Nut, stuck in your floaty, rubbing your eyes, waiting for us to get the clue!

I am thankful for these pictures.  These memories.  In the midst of a day when I feel like my heart has been torn into millions of pieces, when it hurts to breathe, and when I struggle to think of a future without you, these pictures remind me to smile.

Missing you terribly tonight.  More and more every day.  I love you sooooooo much, Peanut.  To the moon and back.

- Momma

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Did Someone Forget to Give Me the Guidebook?

Peanut -

I have been selfish.  At least, that's what I was told today.  And, you know what's interesting?  I didn't even think about denying it.  Depending on how you define "selfish" it could be - should be -  absolutely true.  For one of the first times in my life, I feel completely comfortable owning that designation.

Is my desire to create a safe, insulated bubble around me selfish?  Is my lack of desire to go out in big groups and spend hours on end socializing selfish?  Is my need to spend large chunks of time alone, looking at pictures you selfish?  Is my need to avoid people and places when I feel I might be toxic selfish?  Is my avoidance of holidays because they all remind me of my last holiday with you totally selfish?  After losing you - the center of my world, my life, my existence - is it so wrong for me to be a little selfish?

There is no guidebook for surviving the loss of your child.  There are no set rules or timelines.  I have no idea what it looks like to do this well.  Good days are sometimes followed by more good days.  More often, they are not.  And, the bad days are awful.  What I know is every morning the reset button is hit, and I start from ground zero all over again.

Peanut, I just want to make you proud.  I don't want you to worry.  But, I can't deny that your loss has been paralyzing.  It has changed every fiber of my being.  Do I think the new me is a selfish person?  No.  Do I think I need to be in self-presevation mode (read: selfish) for a little while?  Definitely.  I ask the world to cut me a little slack.  Just for a little while.  And, Peanut, I ask for you to be patient with Momma - especially on the icky days.

Please know I love you bunches and oodles of noodles, my sweet, spectacular Peanut.  To the moon and back.

- Momma

Friday, July 8, 2011

Electric Smile

Peanut -

Momma hasn't been feeling 100% great today.  A little off.  Just enough that it jogged my memory back to a Peanut sick day in early December.  (Is it terrible how much I enjoyed our sick days together?)

I stayed home with you that day because nothing was agreeing with your belly.  I remember you had not one, not two but THREE diaper blowouts before 10:00 am that day.  But, no matter how yucky your tummy was feeling, you were still in GREAT spirits.  We had such a fun day, and I captured a whole series of wonderful pictures while you ate and played with some peanut butter toast.  You know, because it was deeeeeeeelicous!

Now I look back at these pictures when I need a smile and a reminder of your BIG personality and your electric smile.  Photos like these also reinforce my belief that you were truly an "old soul."  What other 15-month old has so many funny, knowing expressions, and is so much a part of the inside joke?!  My Peanut, the old soul who came to earth to make us all better people...both in life and now beyond.  With each passing day I believe that more and more and it fuels my desire to honor you and spread your message.  I desperately hope I'm making you proud.

Sending you love, smiles and kisses, my sweet Peanut.  Missing you more than ever.  I love you - to the moon and back!

- Momma

Thursday, July 7, 2011

SuperPeanutMomma Ring

Peanut -

Momma has a very special ring that holds very special, SuperPeanutMomma powers.  The ring was a gift from Aunt Dru a few weeks after your death, and is a beautiful representation of your initials.  It was specially designed and created with you in mind, and I wear it every single day.

On days like today, the true impact of this ring's power stuns me.  A series of events happened back-to-back today that once upon a time would have evoked a very frustrated, stressful response from me.  And, I felt the urge creeping up behind me today.  But, I touched my right hand, felt the ring and traced the outline of your initials, and immediately everything rocketed back into perspective.

I was reminded take a step back, take a deep breath, and ask questions rather than jump to assumptions.  That everyone wants to do good work.  No one woke up saying, "I'm going to REALLY screw something up at work today.  That sounds like fun."  And, nothing that happened today was going to cause the world to explode, so why not just help someone learn from this instance?  I walked out of the office at the end of the day with a bit of a smile.

So, I'm convinced the ring is my SuperPeanutMomma ring.  Most days I'm just me.  But on days like today, the ring holds the power of the Peanut Effect and makes me the person I aspire to be...the person you brought out in me and continue to bring out in me.

Peanut, I love you and your impact on me and the world.  I'm holding you close to my heart and sending you a giant I LOVE the moon and back!

- Momma

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Because Ya Gotta Have Faith (dum da dum da dum...da dum dum)

Peanut -

First things first.  Yes, I borrowed lyrics from George Michael to create tonight's blog title.  Appropriate?  Maybe, maybe not.  Catchy?  Definitely!

So, I've been talking to a lot of different people recently about faith.  In particular, my belief that I see signs from you everywhere, all the time.  And my belief that you played a huge part in us getting pregnant so quickly.  With twins.  And, my strong belief that you are still very present, observing us every day.  That it is my responsibility to make you proud.  And, in particular, my belief that I am going to see you again.

These are the beliefs I choose to have faith in.  This faith makes me feel more connected to you every day.  It helps my heart heal.  It gets me out of bed.  It helps me choose to live, not just survive.

As I talk to people who question their faith in signs, afterlife, heaven, etc. I get it.  I've been in that same place.  It was only in the face of the tragic, horrible loss of you that I found my current faith.  Because I needed it.  For people and parents who have faced a loss similar to ours, who aren't sure what they believe in, I desperately hope they find something to hang on to that brings them peace and healing.  I will never, ever say that anyone should subscribe to my personal beliefs.  But, everyone needs to have faith in something.

Peanut, I am thankful for the signs.  The faith.  For you.  I've included a picture tonight of a very special froggy.  He jumped through our kitchen window one night after I asked for a sign from you.  A sign I so desperately needed.  We were lucky to convince him to pose for some poorly lit photos.  I love this froggy, because I know he was sent by you.  My Peanut.  Who I love more than I ever could have imagined.  How much, you ask?  To the moon and back!


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Chips and Salsa? Deeeeeeeeeelicious!

Peanut -

Yay!  A wonderful, funny, happy memory came flooding back to me while having dinner tonight at Vallarta - our (your) favorite mexican restaurant.  Vallarta is where we went to dinner with you at least twice per week...maybe even more often after Dadda and I discovered how much you loved their refried beans and rice!  It's also where we hosted your fantastic Elmo-themed 1st birthday party.  Everyone who works there just adored you, and I can see on their faces how much they miss you.  Every time Dadda and I show up, just the two of us, they struggle asking, "Table for two"?  It was the three of us for so long.

Tonight there was a family sitting near us who had a little blonde-haired girl...maybe 2-years old?  She was in a high chair happily munching away on plain chips until she discovered the salsa.  After a quick taste-test (and a delighted squeal), she proceeded to carefully dip each and every chip in the salsa, then gently guided the salsa drenched chips into her mouth.  Never once getting her girly dress dirty!

At that moment I remembered your total love of the chips and salsa.  We never even had to show you how to do it.  You simply watched me and Dadda eating/dipping chips in the salsa and before we knew it you grabbed a chip, reached across the table to dip it in the salsa, then it went straight into your mouth.  Deeeeeeeeeeelicious!  No mess, no drama.  Smart Peanut.

What a wonderful, unexpected memory.  Pure delight for Momma.  Peanut, Peanut, Peanut...I love you so very much, and am extremely thankful for the happy memories.  They bring smiles when we need them the most.  Like tonight.  My amazing little boy, I love you - to the moon and back!

- Momma

Monday, July 4, 2011

Yay, Fireworks!

Nutter Butter -

This holiday has been a painful reminder of how much I miss you, and the wonderful, special moments we spent in our far too short time with you.  Taking you to the July 4th parade last year was sooo much fun, and it has given me many happy memories.  But, those same memories made it impossible for Momma to attend the parade this year.  We planned to go.  Woke up, ate breakfast, got showered, then Momma had a total meltdown.  It was just...too much.

As I told Dadda later in the morning, I "power through" most days with my mask on.  I smile.  I concentrate on work.  I try to live another life.  I compartmentalize.  But, on the days when the mask refuses to stay on, when the tiny surface cracks become canyons, I just have to give in.  Today was one of those days.  My heart and my brain need these days.  To fully, totally and completely miss you.  Mourn you.  Cry for you.  Cry for us.  Cry for what we have lost.  Because, as we face the 6-month milestone of your loss, it has become so painfully real.  If I live the long life I'm expected to live, I will have to face those years without you.  Not just one month or six months.  More like 50 or 60 YEARS.  It's too much to comprehend.

So, as I listen to the fireworks outside and watch all the coverage on TV, my heart hangs on to one of my all-time favorite pictures of you.  It's from last 4th of July.  You are playing in your ExerSaucer with a giant smile on your face and your hands in full clap-mode.  This picture captures the essence of you.  Playing joyfully with Grandpa in the midst of their neighborhood holiday celebrations.  The 4th of July holiday will always bring this image, this Peanut smile, to my mind and heart.

Ohhhhh Peanut.  I am missing you tremendously.  Loving you tremendously.  And rubbing my tummy to let Chickpea and Lima Bean know that while I am very, very sad, I also love them tremendously.

Peanut, as Dadda said this morning, we know you're up in heaven leading the parades and enjoying the fireworks.  So, have fun but also know your Momma is here on earth sending you good-night kisses.  To the moon and back!

- Momma

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Slumber Party Smiles

Peanut -

Last year - July 4, 2010 - you had a sleepover night at Grandma and Grandpa's house while Momma and Dadda went to see John Legend at Fair St. Louis.  We dropped you off after the annual Webster Parade, and told my parents we'd be back the next morning and to call if they needed ANYTHING.  We were worried because you were cutting a lot of new teeth but also knew you guys would have tons of fun.  In Grandma and Grandpa's world, you hung the moon, stars and sun.

Sure enough, when we came to get you the next day, I wasn't sure you wanted to come back with us!  It was clear you guys had played and laughed and had a fantastic time.  But, we got you packed up and home for an afternoon swim and snack which made everything better!  A few hours later, Grandpa e-mailed me a bunch of your slumber party photos full of Peanut smiles and joy.  I cherish these photos.  They are unposed, taken in candid moments of peak-a-boo, bouncing and clapping.  When I look at them I can feel your joy.  Your sunshine.

Peanut, I'm missing you with all my heart...every second, every moment.  I desperately wish I could relive just one more day, one more afternoon, one more moment, with you.  In the absence of that possibility I rely on your photos and videos like oxygen.  I pray for Peanut-dreams tonight, and send you all my love, sweet boy.  To the moon and back.

- Momma

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Electronic Footprints

Peanut -

Momma went shopping for some maternity clothes today.  You know, because I gave everything away after we had you.  Why keep it all?  We had our perfect little boy.  No more kids because we had Peanut.  But...then we lost you.  Now, here it is mid-summer, expecting twins and I have nothing that will zip or button.

So, I went in to one of the stores I frequented when I was pregnant with you.  Picked up a few items, tried them on, and got up to the register to pay.  When the sales associated asked for my phone number, I gave it to her without thinking.  She looked at my information, flashed me a big smile and said, "I see you've shopped with us before!  How old is your baby now?"

I hesitated.  Should I answer as if you, Peanut, were still here?  Tell her "the story?"  Hmmm...I almost simply said, "Oh, he's 22 months."  But that felt wrong.  Unfair to you, 'Nut.  So, I took a deep breath and told her, "My little boy, Connor, was 16.5 months when he passed away.  He's one of the main forces behind the twins I'm now expecting."

While she looked a little stunned, she gracefully said, "That is amazing.  Wow.  I'm sorry...and, congratulations."

And, I was instantly glad I chose to tell her the truth.

The Power of the Peanut.

I love you Nutbrown Hare.  To the moon and back!

- Momma

Friday, July 1, 2011

Holiday Weekend

Peanut -

It's funny how after you have kids every holiday seems like a "family" holiday.  Before you, Peanut, the 4th of July was a holiday that revolved around fireworks, pool time, concerts, and cocktails.  But then you came along.  And this weekend became all about family time.  Neighborhood parades.  Family BBQs.  Sparklers in the front yard.  And a bonus extra day at home with The Peanut.

I can't help but think about how different this weekend would be if you were here with us.  I didn't anticipate this would be one of those hard holidays...not like I was able to anticipate and prepare for Mother's Day.  Or, my birthday.  This one snuck up on me.

But, I don't want to "opt out" of this holiday.  I want to be surround by kids and families enjoying the parades and festivities.  I want to celebrate that many of our friends got to meet YOU last year when we took you to one of those annual parades.  I want to honor the fact that you are still here watching us, protecting the babies, and not wanting us to opt out of life. 

Peanuckle, I love you so very much.  I'm missing you a lot tonight.  So, I send a Momma good-night kiss to heaven, and tell you through my tears, "I love you, 'Nut, to the moon and back a million times over."

- Momma