Dadda and I spent the day yesterday remembering and honoring you through tears, laughter, and visits to meaningful places. We visited The Butterfly House (which was closed), the St. Louis Zoo, and several important landmarks across Forest Park. The weather was perfect...the kind of day that begged for a Momma and Dadda to be out and about with their beloved little 2 year-old son.
We were so disappointed to discover The Butterfly House was closed - apparently after Labor Day it's closed every Monday. But, we took it as a sign. Closed in honor of Peanut's birthday! Time to get out and see more of the places that hold so many fantastic, happy memories. But, before we left we made a decision. For your birthday, Momma and Dadda are going to have a special paver stone made just for you at the Butterfly House. Their paver stones are in the shape of little brick butterflies in the shadow of a giant butterfly statue...what a Peanut Perfect tribute!
At the Zoo, we visited their butterfly house and were visited by multiple butterflies who seemed to recognize us, and stopped to say a special "Hello!" from you. We took as many pictures as we could snap, until we had worn out our welcome. From there, we walked through the Penguin & Puffin Coast...an exhibit we took you through every time we visited the Zoo. You were fascinated by the adorable, funny, active penguins and puffins - in particular when they jumped into the water and you could watch them play underwater through the glass. In the middle of our Zoo trip, Dadda bought two stuffed penguins for your little brother, so he could be a part of our Day of Peanut.
We took the stuffed penguins to visit the very special Forest Park paver stone dedicated to your memory by Grandma and Grandpa. The paver stone is located at the base of the World's Fair Pavilion, in the shadow of gorgeous fountains and landscaping. It is a beautiful, sunny location. Perfect for reflection and remembrance. The penguins agreed.
We also made a surprise visit to the 9/11 memorial set-up on Art Hill in Forest Park. Stunning. Breathtaking. There truly are no words. But, in the midst of the heartbreaking 9/11 coverage we've endured throughout the last week - coverage that has made getting through your birthday so much harder, so emotional - this particular memorial was uplifting. It seemed just right to make it part of your birthday.
Finally, we stopped by a new tree that has been planted in your memory, right by the Forest Park Golf Course. It is a small but strong, sturdy tree. A fitting tribute to my powerful, feisty, funny Peanut. I can't wait to watch the tree grow strong over the years...it will provide beauty and shade for years to come.
The day ended with a heart-wrenching sense of finality. I can't believe your birthday has come and gone. You are now 2 years old in Momma's heart. Happy birthday, Peanut. I love you. To the moon and back.