Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Book of Life: Chapter 2011

Peanut -

Today, New Year's Eve, marks the end of 2011.  The end of a year that began with hope and promise, and quickly devolved into the Worst Year of Our Lives.  Tomorrow will usher in 2012, with its own potential of being a fresh start, full of new dreams.  And with it begins a year that will never know my Peanut.

On this day last year you and I were home together, dancing joyfully to James Blunt singing "Stay the Night" on The Today Show.  We watched the severe weather reports as tornados ripped through the St. Louis area while we hunkered down in the basement, you tooling around in your brand new Cozy Coupe.  Later that day Dadda and I made you your first taste of filet mignon and asparagus, much to your delight and amazement.  Your little face and its awed expression said it all, "This is DEEEEEeeeee-licious!  I. Love. Food!"  We talked of New Year's Eve celebrations to come, making this meal our tradition, eventually having you invite friends over...the future was bright, wide open and full of Peanut Possibilities.

Just over three weeks later, out of nowhere and without explanation, your life ended while you slept.

So much of the rest of 2011 is a foggy blur to Momma's memory.  So much of the year was spent trying to just figure out how to live without you.  How to make sense of this world.  How to not be bitter, angry, and without hope.  It would have been so easy to abandon hope.

Yet, out of the ashes hope has risen, in the form of your little brother.  The Bean.  It now looks like he will arrive in 2012, and for that I am thankful.  I know a year is a year is a year, but...having him arrive in 2012 has been my hope, my prayer, since we confirmed we were pregnant last spring.

Peanut, Momma has always viewed life as a series of chapters, that eventually create our own very individual book.  The chapters vary in length, duration, joy, pain.  Some chapters introduce people and events that will be a part of our story forever.  Others enter and exit, but leave their mark.  We can't write our story in advance.  We can't see how it will end.  This outlook has allowed me to bid chapters farewell without drama or too much heartache.  Until this year.

The closing of 2011 feels monumental.  The idea of a new chapter, a new year, in which you haven't lived is heart-stopping.  2012 is the beginning of a lifetime of years, of chapters, when we will honor you through memories, stories and laughter.  But, no more hugs.  No more new tales of Peanut adventures.  After three years touched by the wonder and joy of you, this chapter now closes.  Another milestone.  Thud.

I don't know what 2012 will bring.  But, I have hope.  Hope that grows and burns brighter, day by day.  Just like my love for you, Peanut.  To the moon and back!

- Momma

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Dream

Peanut -

Momma's sleep has been restless and fitful these last few weeks.  As The Bean grows there just isn't a comfortable position or a way to get a good night's sleep.  I've found the more interrupted my sleep, the more I dream...and lately that has meant more Peanut Dreams.  These are wonderful and welcome dreams - possibly brought on by the anticipation of The Bean, the holidays, your looming anniversary.  Maybe all of the above.

This morning I was tossing and turning beginning around 4:00 am.  I could feel The Bean stretching, turning, kicking and my imagination kicked in while I dozed.  In the dream world you and Dadda were up early, eating breakfast together, giggling, and trying to let Momma get some rest.  But, eventually the temptation was just too much - the two of you came running down the hall with Henry the Dog in tow, into the bedroom and WHAM! jumped on the bed.  You crawled up to Momma's pillow and smothered me with kisses, cupping my face in your tiny hands, "Momma, I love you!"  Then, a giant bear hug and a full family snuggle while The Bean kicked, full of happy anticipation.

Oh, bliss.

I know that isn't reality, and never will be.  But, maybe a different version is playing out.  A version where you are everywhere, but we can't physically reach out and touch you.  You are influencing the way we parent, how we appreciate what we have, how we treat others, and how we love.  In dreams - and only in dreams - I will get to see you laughing, nose nuggling with me, touching my eyelashes with delight, and touching my soul with your clear, blue eyes.

This version will never, ever, ever feel sufficient.  But, I have to learn to appreciate it and live with it.  Do I feel cheated?  Yes.  Am I jealous of all my friends who are watching their children grow up, enjoying all their milestones?  Yes.  Am I resentful of all the people who are having their second, third, fourth children without any sense of fear?  Yes.

Am I thankful for the time, love and memories with you?  Yes.  Am I eternally grateful for The Bean?  Yes.  Am I hopeful?  Yes.  Do I choose to live with love, rather than anger?  Yes.

Peanut, I dream of you all the time...awake and asleep.  I miss you all the time...awake and asleep.  I send you all my love, to the moon and back...awake and asleep.

- Momma

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Caution: Milestones Merging Ahead

Peanut -

Yesterday, December 26, marked 11 months.  Eleven unimaginable months.  Eleven long months that have tested the limits of everything our bodies, brains and spirits thought they could handle.  Eleven months since Momma last hugged her Peanut.  And, even though the months have been long, it still feels like just yesterday since I watched you toddle across the room to bang on the TV screen, or play with your Elmo telephone.  Or, give me a Connor-kiss.

Yesterday also marked the last day of Procardia - the medicine Momma has been taking to slow down Baby Bean's arrival.  We needed to get into Week 37, which started a few days ago, but Momma also needed to make sure The Bean didn't arrive on the 26th.  As silly as it may sound, I just can't bear to have his birth share a date with your death.

But, in an amazing, wonderful twist of fate, another little ray of joy entered the world yesterday.  Joey's mom - Joey, who passed away just days after you - had a little baby girl yesterday.  She and I have shared our waves of grief, our struggles to make sense of life, our highs and lows, and our side-by-side pregnancies for the last 8 months.  Something about her birth yesterday makes so much sense to Momma, and it reinforces just how close you and Joey still are to this world, and to our hearts.

Peanut, we are now entering an interesting 3-4 week stretch of highway.  A zone that probably needs its own large, blinking, neon caution sign.  Warning!  Caution!  Joy, sadness, confusion, the beginning and end of life - all merging ahead!  Just as we welcome The Bean, we will be acknowledging your 1-year angel milestone.  I still have no idea what to call that date.  Your anniversary?  Angel date?  Nothing seems accurate or appropriate.  The day the world turned upside down?  <sigh>

I am so worried my brain won't know how to manage these conflicting emotions.  That it might start to confuse you and The Bean.  That fear will take over, and I won't know how to celebrate his birth and life.  My heart - and others who have traveled this road - assure me that won't be the case.  And, as I've learned over the last year, only time and experience will tell.  Anticipation and fear won't help.  So, for now, I try to simply live day-by-day.

Peanut, I read an Earnest Hemingway quote yesterday that seemed oddly appropriate for this danger zone:

The world breaks everyone, 
and afterward, 
many are strong at the broken places.  
(E. Hemingway, A Farewell To Arms)

While I don't believe this last year has made me stronger, it has forced me to band-aid and superglue the broken places in my soul.  And, a new Momma has emerged.  Maybe, just maybe, it is this new, patched-up version of Momma that will have the capacity to make sense of the next few weeks, months, years.  Stay tuned.

Peanut, I miss you every second of every moment of every day.  I know you've been watching, and you see the tears.  It has been a hard few days, but only because we love and miss you so very much.  To the moon and back.  With bunches of love -


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Peanut Christmas Spirit

Peanut -

Waking up on Christmas morning without you ranks in the "Top 5 Hardest Things Momma Has Had To Do This Year."  This day is sad, empty, hollow without you.  Yet, I feel The Bean kicking and pushing, anxious to greet the world, and I feel a sense of hope.  I never imagined a Christmas without you, but I know you are here with us in spirit.

Before having you, Christmas was a day to open gifts, eat with family, and celebrate.  After you were born, Christmas became 100% about making sure you had a wonderful, fun day.  And now...well, I don't know what to do with myself this year.  Besides, simply getting through the day.

(Spoiler Alert for Family)
Dadda and I decided to take the focus away from presents this year, and to instead focus on honoring your wonderful spirit for the holiday.  Along with your beautiful Peanut Tree, we created a 10-minute movie all about YOU and your 500 amazing days on this earth.  This movie has been our project all has been joyful, painful, inspirational and difficult to create.  I'm not sure I'll ever be able to watch it without crying, but I also know it is something I will be proud to share with The Bean.  Each member of our family is receiving a copy of the movie - and I have shared it in today's post.

In addition, we are donating the money we would have spent on gifts to SUDC, in your memory, in the names of each of our family members.  It just feels...right.  This year, the Peanut Christmas Spirit is all about honoring you and all the people and organizations who have helped us survive and remember how to live.

Peanut, there is nothing I can say today that isn't going to feel devastatingly sad.  I miss you.  Desperately.  I love you more than words can express.  To the moon and back!

- Momma

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Movie of Your Life

Peanut -

Momma has spent the last two evenings going through every single photo and video we have of you.  It has been emotionally draining.  Heart-wrenching.  Cathartic.  Painful.  Joyful.

I have re-lived every moment of every day we spent with you.  The smells, the sounds, the softness of your blonde hair, the tight grip of your little monkey has all come rushing back with an overwhelming rush.  A reassuring rush.  I've been so afraid that I was beginning to forget the little things, the details.

It seems my brain, on a daily basis, only doles out what it thinks I can handle.  But, when I go into full-immersion mode - like I did this week - the floodgates open.  I welcomed this flood.  I intentionally opened those gates.  And the emotional drain has had a surprising end result...I actually feel re-energized. Refueled by the love and memories.  By how close you still are in my mind, and in every one of my senses.

I know I feel better when I get to talk about you, so it only makes sense that this photo overload has been healing.  So, while I probably look a little crazy with my mascara-tear-streaked face, I actually feel a sense of calm.  Peace.  Love.

Peanut, I send all that love and peace your way tonight, along with a big air kiss - MWAAAHHHH!  I love the moon and back!

- Momma

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Lie (Or, Is It?)

Peanut -

As Momma's tummy stretches and grows - it looks like I swallowed a basketball! - it creates more buzz from complete strangers.  Strangers who mean well, but have no idea.  No idea about our precious Peanut, no idea about the immense loss and grief we've struggled with this year, no idea what a miracle and blessing The Bean is, and just how scared Momma is to open her heart to hope.

Today, Momma told a lie.  Normally, when the questions start, I have a script:

Stranger: Oh!  Is this your first?
Me: No.
Stranger: How many others do you have?  Boys or girls?
Silence while I assess the situation.  Will I run into this person again?  How much do I reveal?
Me: I have a little boy.
Stranger: And, do you know if this is a boy or girl?
Me: A boy.
Stranger: You must be thrilled!  Is his big brother excited?  How old is he???
Further assessment of the situation...

Peanut, at this point, I usually either avoid the questions, redirect the conversation or tell the truth.  It depends on the person, the relationship and potential future interactions.  Today, however, I flat out lied.

I was on the phone, making small talk with a Nordstrom customer service representative while she waited for my order to be corrected.  We got on the topic of the pregnancy, and the script played out as usual.  When we got to the last questions, I hesitated.  And then, I just plunged head first into my lie:

Me: Yes, he is delighted.  He's just over two years old, and is going to be a fantastic big brother.

Oh.  Gosh.  What did I just do?  In my heart and mind, it really isn't a lie.  You are just over two.  You already are the world's best brother.  I believe you look out for the The Bean each and every day.  You aren't just any ordinary brother - you are the most special kind of brother out there.  An Angel Brother.

Peanut, maybe I should feel guilty about this interaction, but...I don't.  Because, in its own way it is 100% true.  I'm sending you my love along with a giant Momma hug.  To the moon and back, 'Nut.

- Momma

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Peanut -

When I was pregnant with you - especially towards the end of the pregnancy - I loved to pick up my guitar and strum a few notes, or a Beatles song or two, just to get a reaction from you.  It was obvious you could not only hear the music, but could FEEL it.  You always responded with a somersault, a kick, a little punch.  I truly believe you were born with music in your soul, partially because I sang and played for you so often.

Since your death, I've commented that the music has left my spirit.  The guitar has gathered 11 months of dust.  My voice has not lifted in song, and I have rarely felt compelled to dance.  A few times recently I've thought about picking up the guitar just to see how The Bean might react.  But, I've always banished the thought, stored it back on a shelf, and moved on.

Until this morning.  I was watching the CBS Sunday Morning Show, due to its light-hearted, uplifting format.  Enough with the bad news that makes up the news.  Momma wanted to kick off the day in a more positive light.  In the middle of their second hour, a segment aired about Christopher Plummer, due to his lead role in "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo."  But, the interviewer also focused some time on his role in "The Sound of Music" which has a special place in Momma's heart.  My family used to watch it together every year, and I was fortunate to share part of that movie with you, Peanut.

During the CBS interview, they aired a clip from "The Sound of Music"where Captain Von Trapp rediscovers his love of his children, and music, while singing Edelweiss with his oldest daughter.  He is sitting in their parlor, strumming a guitar and singing this lovely, simple little song (fun fact: not actually Christopher Plummer's voice in the movie).  An overwhelming urge struck me in that moment.  I wanted nothing more than to pick up my own guitar, strum and sing along.

I spent the rest of the morning humming the song.  By this afternoon I couldn't help it.  I picked up the guitar for the first time since you died and played a few notes while I held the body of the guitar close to my tummy.  The Bean responded with an overwhelming reaction - kicks, flips, pokes and punches.  What a delight!

The moment was truly shared with both my little boys.  While I was the only one physically sitting on the bed with the guitar, you were both there with me - in the music, in the song, in my heart.  Little by little, the music is returning to Momma's soul.

Peanut, I feel you everywhere.  More and more every day.  I am sending my love to you, across the world, across the universe, across time and space.  And, in the music.  To the moon and back!

- Momma

Friday, December 16, 2011

5 pounds, 1 ounce

Peanut -

Momma had what will probably be our final Bean ultrasound today.  At 35 weeks, we actually didn't expect to have one this late in the pregnancy, but the doctor thought it was a good idea to check in.  Between early contractions and Momma's low pregnancy weight gain, we just needed to be sure everything was on track.

And, although we never say it out loud, all the doctors and nurses have been so vigilant, so full of care, so aware of what happened in January.  Losing you broke all our hearts.  So, The Bean is a little beacon of hope for all of us.  We can't - won't - risk anything going wrong.

The primary purpose of today's ultrasound was to check The Bean's current weight.  Momma lost a lot of weight early in the pregnancy thanks to morning sickness layered over grief, and has been working to gain that weight back the last 6 months.  With little progress.  No surprise, given the emotions, the stress, the sorrow, the roller-coaster Momma has been navigating during this pregnancy.  While we know The Bean is strong and active, Momma's pre-term labor issues have prompted us to make sure everything would be safe if he decides to arrive early.

As expected, The Bean looks perfect and healthy and strong.  Of course, he wouldn't be still for more than a few seconds, kicking, punching Momma's bladder, grabbing his little toes with his tiny hands.  We had our favorite technician, who took the requisite pictures, but also showed Momma and Dadda all sorts of neat things - The Bean has a lot of hair!  And we could see him swallowing, followed by his infant tummy filling up with fluid.

The end result of the ultrasound was the final report of The Bean's weight.  As of today he is officially 5 pounds, 1 ounce.  Exactly your weight at birth on September 12, 2009.  It's unreal to me to think that he's still (probably) a few weeks away from birth, but is currently your birth size.  With every passing day he will gain more weight, and will be a bigger boy than you.  He will not be an itty-bitty Peanut.  He will be his own strong, feisty self.  A kicking, punching, jumping Bean.

But, in this moment, in this day, you and your little brother have so much in common.  Such a connection.  With your identical weights, full heads of hair, and active personalities.  And 5 pounds and 1 little ounce.

Peanut, I truly feel like this was you speaking to us today.  Another sign that you are watching out for us and The Bean.  Another sign that you love us and bless this step forward.  And, while it is bittersweet, it is more sweet than bitter.  I am sending you love and hugs and oodles of wonderful Peanut memories.  Thank you for being so close, so present today.  I love you baby boy - to the moon and back.

- Momma


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Motion Sickness

Peanut -

The last several days have been painfully difficult for Momma.  The combination of intensely missing you, facing the holidays without my darling little boy, powering through the final weeks of our pregnancy, and navigating intense pressure and stress at work - it has all resulted in a level of grief and sorrow I haven't felt in months.  There will be good moments, and even good days, but when the lows hit they are a powerful, debilitating kick to my stomach.  And heart.

I was warned this could happen.  As the span of time between the lowest lows and the moderately normal moments begins to widen, it's almost as if the body and mind want to forget.  They want to no longer be considered pros at handling grief.  At protecting the person from themselves.  They need a break.  The almost inpenetrable force field comes down.

The end result for Momma has been a sensation somewhat akin to motion sickness.  The normal moments are jarring, out of place, and uncomfortable.  They give me a sense of vertigo.  And when the darkness sweeps in, it simply flattens me.  My body aches, my heart feels as if it's being squeezed by pliers, and curling up in bed seems to be the best option.

The world is ready for me to be "normal" again.  To others it probably seems like a really, really long time since you died.  That I should be through the forest of grief.  But, it's almost worse now because I've lost the insulated protection my body and brain once afforded me.  The grief is sneaky, and leaves me raw, exposed.  My focus is gone, and I'm irritable.  My temper is quick to flare up, and my level of patience is low.

Peanut, I want to make you proud.  I want to be the best Momma I can be.  But, as I run out of pictures of you, as I realize there are very few images left that are under a year old, I am devastated.  I want to see you running after Henry The Dog in the yard.  I want to hear you talking and laughing, getting excited for Christmas.  I want to look down and see your little outstretched arms begging me, "Uuuph Momma!" as I pick you up, swing you around and give you a giant kiss while you hug me tightly.

And, right now, I just want the world to let me cry and cry and cry.  I cry because I love you soooooooo much.  How much?  Well, you know, Peanut.  To the moon and back.

- Momma

(picture from last December)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Light of Love and Hope

Peanut -

Today was a VERY busy day full of Peanut activities.  First, Dadda and I hosted a small "open house" this afternoon for family and friends to come help us decorate your Peanut Tree.  This evening we were scheduled to attend the St. Louis Worldwide Candle Lighting event along with other local families who are remembering and missing their children during this holiday season.  In the midst of this season of commercials, Santa Claus, gluttony, parties, and giving with the expectation of receiving, days like today are so very important to Momma.

Decorating your tree was sad, happy, painful, joyful and impactful.  The ornaments that now hang on your tree are full of love, stories, memories.  As each person hung their ornament, they shared with Momma why they chose that image, that color, that symbol.  I heard funny little remembrances and stories never shared before.  And, I felt so very, very close to you.  The tree is...beautiful.  Heartbreakingly beautiful.

Later, we sped to the location of the St. Louis Candle Lighting service, only to find an empty, lonely parking lot.  We had a whole string of cars with us - family members who wanted to celebrate your memory in a public way this evening.  Dadda finally called the organizer who informed us we had bad information.  Wrong location, no service.  <sigh>  The website was inaccurate.  Of all things to screw up, this is not the ideal audience to mess with Organizer People.  This event was the one and only event Momma has been looking forward to, the only event that felt really important, this whole holiday season.  Dadda and I drove home in silence, with Momma gripping the steering wheel so hard my hands started to cramp up.  When we got home, our own little Peanut Candle Ceremony took place, with our own private emotions.

As I moped around the house, feeling cheated, battered and bruised, Momma happened to glance over at your Peanut Tree.  The lights twinkled and illuminated all your perfect, lovely ornaments.  My heart swelled with love, and it hit me over the head like a ton of bricks.  This is what is truly important.  Time spent remembering you, sharing you, with those we love.  Time spent honoring you with laughter and tears.  Keeping you alive through stories.

So, tonight we light a Peanut Tree in your memory.  We light a candle in your memory.  And, in turn, your memory keeps the light of love and hope alive in our hearts.

Peanut, I miss you.  Plain and simple.  My heart longs for you desperately, and is so thankful for the memories.  To the moon and back, 'Nut.

- Momma

Friday, December 9, 2011

Erasing Your Fingerprints

Peanut -

This evening Momma tackled a task I've been dreading - postponing - for days.  Let me put this in perspective.  In the last week, Dadda and I have revisited all your books, clothes, your room, crib, stuffed animals.  We've touched and smelled everything.  We've had to make decisions around what to put into Permanent Peanut Storage vs. what to potentially re-use with The Bean.  But, there are two items, two categories, I have intentionally ignored.

The first - your diaper bag. It has been frozen in time, still packed with your size 4 diapers, half empty diaper cream, a container of Goldfish and a smashed NutriGrain bar, spoons and extra toys.  And a special, bright green bib that exclaims, "I'm a McCutie!"  The bib still smells like you.

The second - two bins full of the last toys you played with...most of your favorites.  Toys that are still covered with your fingerprints, saliva, and memories and smells of you.  The last remaining traces of the Peanut Who Lived on this earth.  Traces of you that, once cleaned, are erased forever.

Any sense of bravery, of strength, of courage that I've had this week evaporated this afternoon.  With Dadda's support and help we tackled these items.  Time moved in molasses slow motion as we faced these tasks, and touching each item re-opened a fairly fresh wound.  But, we also got to revisit hundreds of moments and memories of you.

Pulling these items out has been dramatically different from packing them away for storage.  When we organized them for storage, there was no joy.  Just the finality of your death and loss.  Just emptiness and sorrow.  Bringing them out of "hiding" has been bittersweet.  We've been forced to face all the lost hopes and dreams...but the memories have brought smiles.  And, there is the hope of The Bean peaking around the corner.

As I cleaned and disinfected all your toys, and as Dadda sorted out the items from your diaper bag, we realized - this is our life.  We will always have to face these immobilizing hurdles.  Learn to move through them.  And soon - very soon - we will also have your little brother here to share the stories, the laughter.  And, we will get to watch him play with many of your toys.  I will tell him tales of how you read your books all by yourself.  And played your Kitty Kat Piano.  And rode around in the back of the bright yellow Tonka Truck.  Through these toys, stories and books your little brother will get to know you.  Love you.  So, maybe in erasing your your fingerprints, in getting these items ready for The Bean, I'm allowing you to live on in a different way.  That's how I choose to think about it, at least.

Peanut, I miss your smell.  Dadda and I couldn't stop smelling your old bib tonight.  It brought so many tears, so many memories.  I feel so very connected to you in this moment.  I close my eyes, breathe you in and feel you.  In this second I send you all the love in my heart, my soul.  To the moon and back.

- Momma

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Nursery

Peanut -

I'll always remember putting the finishing touches on your nursery just six days before you born.  September 6, 2009.  Dadda and I hung the final pictures, got the changing station set-up, made sure your swing and bouncy seat had batteries, and arranged all your books and stuffed animals.  You weren't due until September 25, but Momma had a were coming early.  Sure enough, you said "Helloooooo world!" on Saturday, September 12.  It was such a comfort to know we had a special space set-up and ready for you when it was time to come home.

The theme of your room was Beatrix Potter/Peter Rabbit, and the focal point was a beautiful, hand drawn and embroidered Beatrix Potter character quilt designed and sewn by my Aunt Ann.  When I opened the quilt at your baby shower, I burst into was so special, so amazing.  I pictured hanging it in your room for years, and passing it along to you as your grew older and had your own children.  In the nursery, that quilt hung over your crib, watched over you night after night, and was a source of delight and fascination for you.

Even as we convert and transform your room into something new, special and different for The Bean, there are special items that will remain.  The Beatrix Potter quilt is one of those items.  We are actually keeping one whole corner of the room Beatrix Potter themed, with all your picture frames, stuffed Peter Rabbit toys, a piggy bank, a "First Tooth" jar we will never get to use - and your quilt.

Peanut, you wouldn't recognize the rest of the room.  It is now blue...painted over your Peanut spring green walls.  There is new carpet on the floor.  The crib will no longer reside in the nursery.  It is set-up in Momma and Dadda's room, right next to our bed.  I suspect The Bean will sleep there for at least his first two years.  The rest of the nursery is rearranged, with many new pieces of furniture that never knew my Peanut.  The closet is full of clothes that were never worn by you.  It is so odd to see a closet full of clothes that aren't yours.

But, the theme of the room is something you would know and love.  I actually think it would get a giant laugh and hand-clap out of you.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar!  And, just as she did for you, Aunt Ann is making a very, very special quilt for The Bean.

Peanut, I hope you bless the changes we made to your room.  I'm so sorry we had to change it.  But, I believe you understand.  We will always have spaces that honor you, that are special Peanut Places.  But, we also have to give The Bean some spaces that are new, and feel special for him.

The "new" nursery is beautiful.  But, I will always remember your happy, green nursery with love and a smile.  I will always remember the happy moments playing with you, reading your bedtime stories, changing your diapers, and peek-a-boo in the closet.  I'm sending you love and memories of those wonderful the moon and back, Peanut.

- Momma

Monday, December 5, 2011

All I Want for Christmas Is...You.

Peanut -

Last year, throughout the holidays, Momma would subject you to her rendition of Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas" - over and over and over again.  This often happened while we were in the car, when I had you as a captive audience.  Peanut, to your credit, you were a very receptive, appreciative audience.  You would smile, laugh, clap your hands and bang you little feet to the beat of the song.

You also knew I was singing that song about YOU!  Sometimes I would sing it to you in the house, and I'd pick you up, swing you around and hold you close to my cheek so you understood you were the only thing I wanted for Christmas.  The gift of a lifetime.

This year, the music has left Momma.  I can't sing it, and really can't even listen to it.  As much as I love the memories, the song now feels so empty.  It has a different, sad meaning.  The same, but different.  Because, you really are all I want for Christmas.  And beyond.

I wish I were shopping for you this year.  I wish I could see you open a gift.  I wish I could see you marveling over all the Christmas lights.  I wish I could take you to see Santa.  I wish I could create a "happy family" holiday card.

Instead, we will decorate a Peanut Tree in your honor this weekend.  Instead of a traditional tree skirt, we are using one of your personalized baby blankets.  A small statue of a sleeping baby angel is now resting under your tree.

Instead, we will light a candle in your honor at 7:00 pm on Sunday, December 11 - part of the 15th Annual Worldwide Candle Lighting Ceremony:

The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting unites family and friends around the globe in lighting candles for one hour to honor and remember children who have died at any age from any cause. As candles are lit at 7 p.m. local time, creating a virtual wave of light, hundreds of thousands of persons commemorate and honor the memory of children in a way that transcends all ethnic, cultural, religious, and political boundaries.

Peanut, as we light your candle that evening, Momma might just sing a little bit to you, for you.  And maybe others will a light a candle in your memory, and in remembrance of other children who have died, at 7:00 pm.

All I want for you.  Loving you and missing you - to the moon and back.

- Momma

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Fortune Cookie is Smarter Than Momma

Peanut -

Earlier this week Momma opened a fortune cookie looking for a witty phrase or, perhaps, some terribly wise statement.  What I got was this: There is nothing lost or wasted in this life.  Huh.  Huh?  Huh...

Momma's brain has been stuck on that little fortune for days.  Nothing lost or wasted?  What about my Peanut and his life that was cut too short?  What about all my love, now transformed into heartache?  What about all your future potential?  What about the intense joy and happiness we discovered after you were born...a bliss that was snatched away in the blink of an eye on January 26, 2011?

Peanut, the majority of Momma's life has been spent 100% focused on one person - Momma.  Education, career, travel.  These were the priorities.  All decisions hinged on what was best for me, and my own future.  Somewhere along the way, I got older and started craving home and family.  Which brought me back to St. Louis and eventually back to Dadda - the first love of Momma's life.  A few years later we got married and decisions became a little more complicated.  Then we decided we desperately wanted to start our own little family.  In December of 2008 we got pregnant, and to our eternal delight actually discovered we were pregnant in January 2009.  Peanut, I was so elated and scared.  Scared I wasn't cut out for motherhood.  Scared of being too old to have a healthy pregnancy.  Scared of just about everything.  And then, you arrived.   You showed up two weeks early, in September 2009, and changed Momma forever.

For the first time in Momma's life, nothing was about her.  You instantly became the center of my life, my love, my heart, my brain.  I immediately understood the meaning of unconditional love.  Fierce, powerful Momma love.  From the moment our eyes met, I knew I would do anything - give anything - for you.  Which is a huge part of what makes the loss of you - of a child - so wrong.  So insane.  Peanut, I would happily have died 10,000 excruciatingly painful deaths to save you.  If only death had knocked on my door that morning.  If only he had thought to stop and ask, I would have given him anything.  Everything.  Everything, but you.

So, how does all this relate to that fortune cookie?  Here's what I finally realized.  Your birth, your presence, your Peanut Effect has led to a Momma who needs a world that is about everything BUT her.  A Momma who needs a world that honors you and makes you proud.  A world where she can give your little brother all her intense Momma love and wisdom, including the wonderful stories of his big brother.  And, in sharing you - through The Bean or through this blog - you will continue to live on and on and on, forever.  Your Peanut Effect will echo across this world for eternity.

So, truly, there is nothing lost or wasted in this life.  Or beyond.  Especially Momma's love for you.  It grows bigger, stronger and more powerful every day.  To the mooooooooon and back...and beyond.

- Momma