Today is Dadda's birthday. Not just any birthday, but his 40th birthday. A pretty big deal. In a normal year, in a normal life, we would have thrown a party and had a big celebration. But...that just didn't feel good or right this year. Instead, we had a nice dinner with friends this weekend, and a family dinner tonight. Small, relatively quiet.
Yet still, the absence of you loomed large for Momma. Dadda and I haven't talked much about it, but his expression told me everything. He misses you terribly. You guys were best buddies. He picked you up from school every day. You guys would eat snacks, and watch the news together every evening. Dadda was the first person you saw every morning, much to your delight. And, he was the first person to find you that terrible, life-changing morning.
At dinner tonight we were surrounded by children. Little blonde boys, eating mac & cheese, toddling around on unsure legs, chasing balloons and exchanging kisses with their Mommas. Out of the corner of my eye, they all looked just like you. One boy with particularly blue eyes kept running up to Momma, wanting to play peek-a-boo. Every time I popped around the side of the table, he would squeal with delight. Each laugh was adorable, but a tiny knife in Momma's heart.
While the presence of these children was bittersweet, what was truly heart-breaking...overwhelming, in fact...was the total absence of All Things Connor during dinner. No one mentioned you. Even when Dadda and I brought you up, the conversation quickly turned. As if ignoring the subject of you could erase all the pain and sorrow. Almost as if you never even existed.
Peanut, I don't know how to handle this new development. Because, your life, your presence is very real. Your impact has been life-changing. Earth shattering. Tremendous. How can NOT talking about you make anyone feel better? Especially those who are so close to us?
As I've said before, and I'm sure will say again, I know there are no guidebooks or rules for how to grieve the "right" way. I can't - won't - judge how others need to navigate their own paths. However, I will always, always, always be the first person to mention you. Tell stories about you. Smile about you. Cry about you. Remember you. Be your Momma. Peanut's Momma.
Please, if you have a chance, send Dadda a giant birthday hug in his sleep tonight. Missing you immensely with a confused, sad heart. To the moon and back.