Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Turning the Page

Peanut -

And so we say "farewell" to another month, and turn the calendar page from May to June.  Another month without you.  And, more significantly, a move into a new season.  I lost you in winter, faced the darkness of sorrow and despair from winter into spring, discovered the beginning of hope towards the end of spring and now...well, who knows what summer will bring?

What I do know is I've been flooded with memories of last summer all day today.  It was such a monumental, transformational time for you, when you truly started becoming a "little boy" rather than my "baby."  I saw your personality emerge and flex its Peanut muscle.  Your funny, wise little smile.  Your stubborn streak and tenacity.  Your desire - gift - to create smiles.  And your supreme love of sharing, spreading, awarding hugs to friends, family and strangers alike.  You were joy packed into a tiny, energetic little package, Peanut.

I also recalled today a conversation I had with a friend at work the last Tuesday we had you on earth.  January 25.  It had been a particularly trying day at work, full of politics, gossip and some bad behavior.  As I walked out the door that evening to meet Aunt Dru for dinner, I commented that you, My Peanut, were the one thing that made all the bullshit worth it.  You were my sunshine, my sanity.  The one thing I looked forward to in the morning, evening and every time in-between.  And you still are, just in a very different way.  It's been hard to get to this place, but I do know that you're still very present and a part of everything I do, say, think.  And I want you to be proud.  So, chin up, Momma!

Tonight I'm sharing a piece of your sunshine, in the form of your wonderful smile.  You make my heart glow when I gaze upon your sweet face in this picture.  And, a part of me can see the angel you must be in heaven.  Just glorious.  Peanut, you are my heart, sweet boy.  I love you - to the moon and back!

- Momma

Monday, May 30, 2011

Missing Peanut Time

Peanut -

These holiday weekends are too long.  There is too much empty time and space to fill, thinking about everything we should be doing with you.  No matter how much "stuff" I pack into the long weekend, it still drags on and on and on...and little reminders of you creep into my heart and brain in the silent, still moments.  Like this evening as I sat on the couch, I caught myself thinking, "I should be playing on the floor with Peanut right now, reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar, listening to his Disney fire engine siren blare, and that crazy Handy Manny toolbox play songs over and over."  Instead, it was just me, the ceiling fans and the television.  <sigh>

I miss the structure of our days.  The routine.  The things I could count on.  Since that awful day in January, there is very little I "count on" anymore.  I miss having my life revolve around YOU.  I don't want life to revolve around me anymore.  I had 35+ years of that.  Now it feels so...hollow.  Empty.

One of my favorite weekend activities once you started on food was cooking for you.  Every weekend it was something new.  At first, steamed veggies and fruit, all pureed and blended in interesting combos (apple + avocado = bliss).  Then we moved to pastas.  And, finally, meatballs, chicken fingers and other yummy Peanut finger foods.  It was so fun trying out new recipes while you watched, then letting you sample the goods.  You were an easy audience since I honestly can't think of one thing you didn't like.  Oh.  Wait!  Maybe green beans.  But, otherwise, you were a VERY food motivated Peanut.  As the picture I'm sharing from last spring shows, your really, really loved meal time!

Peanut, I'm missing you a lot tonight.  The very sad times seem to ebb and flow, and I anticipate this evening is going to be tough.  That's OK.  It's the tears and grief - the tears of love, in particular - that keep me feeling connected to you.  And I know the tears are also a huge part of my healing journey.  So tonight I embrace them as I think about you, and send you all my love, hugs, and kisses straight up to the moon - and back.  Oh, how I love you.

- Momma


Sunday, May 29, 2011

What IS All This Cool Stuff?! (Tell me now! Are we rich?!)

Peanut -

Last year Dadda and I introduced you to two very important "firsts" over Memorial Day weekend.  Your brand new Little Tykes swing, and the POOL.  Oh boy!  Dadda had been dreaming of that swing for months, and was so proud when he brought it home, found the perfect branch under the perfect tree, and got it ready for a Peanut Test Drive.  That weekend became the first of many spent swinging under the tree, and splashing around in the pool for hours.

I love looking back at the progression of pictures over the course of last summer.  Week by week, the utter joy on your face grows and spreads, until you can see that swimming and swinging are clearly the highlights of your weekend.  We could spend an entire weekend doing nothing but playing with you in the yard, and it felt like the most amazing, adventurous, complete weekend of a lifetime.

It's so hard to play in the side yard now with Henry the Puppy because that perfect tree with the perfect branch is still there.  It still has the chain for your swing hanging, blowing in the breeze, waiting for you and your swing.  It looks so lonely.  So expectant.  "Where's Peanut?" it seems to ask, day after day.  And in my mind and heart I answer, "He's here.  We just can't reach out and touch him..."

I'm including some pictures from last Memorial Day.  The one of you and Dadda by the pool is one of my absolute favorites.  And, the one in your swing seems to so perfectly capture your new-found delight in the whole swing concept.  Just like your Momma in so many ways - prove it to me before I'll buy in, but once I'm convinced I am SOLD!

Oh sweet Con-man.  I've thought about you and talked about you a lot today.  Many wonderful, funny, touching stories have been shared, and there has been a lot of laughter, sorrow, joy and crying.  And, that seems completely, totally, 100% perfect to me.    I love you, my Little Nutbrown Hare, to the moooooooooooon and back.

- Momma




Saturday, May 28, 2011

Is That A Raccoon? No! It's Peanut!

Peanut -

I finished sorting through and storing your clothes today.  It was too hard to face that part of the task when we tackled your room a few weekends ago, but today I was able to find some comfort in the activity.  And, a whole lot of tears.

Everything from your room has been sorted into two distinct groupings: 1) Potentially Re-use and 2) Super Special Peanut Storage.  The first pass was easy in terms of what got placed into which pile.  It was the second round that was soooooo much harder.  By the end, I had a series of outfits hardly ever worn by you, but that hold a very special set of memories for me.  And, no matter what, I don't think I could ever face seeing another little boy wearing them.  So, to Super Special Peanut Storage they went.

One of the hardest was your awesome black and blue raccoon outfit.  Hands down, it was one of my favorites from this fall.  You probably only wore it three or four times, but I had to snap pictures each and every time because the outfit was so endearing, so darn precious, and so perfect on YOU, that I just couldn't get enough.  Every fiber of my being wanted to place that outfit in the Potentially Re-use stack, but...no.  In the end, I had to relent.  This will forever be a Peanut outfit.

I think one of the worst realizations today was that everything I was sorting and storing was "old."  From this past fall and winter.  Nothing that represents spring, summer, present time.  And, it just reinforced that you are gone.  That you have now been gone over 4 months.  And you are not coming back.  Today, time was not my friend.

My heart is shattered into a thousand tiny bits this evening as I struggle to remember your smell.  Your touch.  The grip of your hands.  The warmth of your breath.  The depth of your clear blue eyes.  The ring of your laughter.  And the amazing love packed into your hugs.  Tonight I am allowing the love and grief to wash over me like a tidal wave.  Because, I know the sun will shine again tomorrow.

Oh Peanut, My Peanut.  I love you to the moon and back.  Times infinity.

- Momma


Friday, May 27, 2011

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish...Red Fish...Red Fish...Yes, Red Fish...

Peanut!

Boy, oh boy, did you ever love Dr. Seuss.  We have a number of Dr. Seuss board books that are embellished with loads of fun gadgets and whirlygigs that you loved to play with - sliding fish, furry bellies, feathers, rings on ribbons, and so on.  And, without fail, the text always made you giggle and clap.  But, just like with The Very Hungry Caterpillar, you had your favorite parts of each book that we simply had to read over, and over, and over, and over...

You loved to grab "One Fish, Two Fish," walk around the room, present it to Momma, then take it away to read all by yourself.  I would spy on you, to see what pages and pictures you found most interesting vs. what simply wasn't worth your precious Peanut time.  Without fail, your two favorite parts - the Red Fish and the New Fish.  You always pointed to the New Fish in its little baby fish carriage, then you would point to its Momma Fish and look at me with raised eyebrows.  Smart Peanut.

When I actually got to read the book TO you, we would point to the Red Fish (five or six times), find the matching fish on the sliding fish bar, then we would find other red stuff in the room, like Elmo.  It really didn't matter if we finished the book at that point - the search and match game was exactly what you wanted. I look back on those activities and am amazed by your speed and connectivity.  Everything was coming together so quickly for you over those last few months.  I wish I could see you today, at 20.5 months.  You might already be doing long algebra!

We have that book packed away right now, along with most of your other belongings.  I'm fighting the urge to go pull it out of storage so I can read it, and maybe even sleep with it tonight.  Your spirit still lingers for me in the little places that meant so much.  Your favorite books, blankets, stuffed animals, and certain clothes.  These are the treasured items that will forever carry you, your memories and your stories.

I'm sharing a picture tonight of a beautiful plate one of my dear friends (and co-workers) painted from memory about a month after we lost you.  She was with her children at a pottery painting store, and literally found herself creating this image from "Guess How Much I Love You," surrounded by store patrons, before she even registered what was happening.  Peanut Magic, I believe.  She was one of the first people to hold you after you were born, and I think you have visited her several times over the last 4 months.

Peanut, I'm feeling guilty about having hope and planning for a new future.  While my mind knows this is the right thing to do and it's what you would want, my heart is struggling.  I pray for a sign, a thought, a feeling, that you're sitting on my shoulder, cheering me on - "Live, Momma!  Go for it!"  In the meantime, I will simply tell you that I love you more than the earth, sky, sun, moon and universe.  I love you to the moon and back, a million times over.

- Momma

  

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Climbing UH-PPPUH!

Peanut -

I wonder if you can sense just how much I love writing my nightly letters to you?  These letters have become my touchstone, my therapy, my outlet, my sanity.  And, most importantly, my way of staying connected to you through tears, smiles, laughter, pictures and stories.

Several people have asked, "How did this blog come to be?  Why did you start it?"  Excellent questions.  Because, these letters didn't start as this blog...

In the weeks immediately following your death, I looked for every book, article, resource on the subject of grieving and surviving the unexpected loss of a child.  There isn't much out there - and even less that is truly helpful.  The clinical, sterile books clearly didn't have an understanding of this type of pain.  The research based-books were hiding in just that - research.  Many of the books are so dated, they're totally irrelevant.  Some of the books are too focused on the total requirement that you subscribe and commit to one faith or another.  But, there were a rare few resources that put me in touch with real survivors.  Parents who had walked through the fire, and come out on the other side.  Maybe a little singed.  Even a little crispy.  Definitely changed.  But, they survived.  Ah...a spark of hope.

One thing all these parents had in common was a need to journal, to pour out their thoughts, emotions, tears, anger.  Not only was it an outlet, but a way to track their slow but steady progress through grief.  And later they all recognized a need to capture precious memories.  Over and over, each parent lamented the fact they didn't begin to capture their memories early on, while the images, smells and details are still fresh and unfaded.   And there it was, my new purpose.

On Valentine's Day I went to the bookstore and bought a blank journal.  I began writing with pen to paper that night, and didn't stop for a month.  That journal is a dark, desperate place that is very hard to visit now.  I embraced my sorrow like a warm, furry blanket.  I wrapped it around myself tightly, burrowed into it, and decided to see where it would take me.  I wanted - needed - to feel the jagged depths of my grief.  My rock bottom.  That hand-written journal became my traveling companion on that journey.  It was private, non-judgemental, safe.  And on the evening of March 13, the day after you would have turned 18-months, I stared my rock bottom squarely in the eyes.  It was on the heels of a particularly sorrowful journal entry.  The entry ends, "I'm struggling with meaning and reason without you.  The sorrow deepens, changes, morphs.  The weight is unbearable.  I pray to be with my Peanut tonight and every night."  I finished writing that, poured a glass of American Honey, brought out a bottle of sleeping pills and stared at a picture of you for over an hour.  Then I got up, dumped out the glass, put away the pills and Googled, "How to start a blog."

What changed that night?  My need to 1) be accountable and own my grief and 2) balance sorrow and love.  The scary safe-zone of the hand-written journal gave me almost too much freedom to spiral down.  Which is what I needed for a brief period of time.  But, that can too easily become the death spiral.  Honestly, I scared the hell out of me.  So, this blog was created to honor you, my Peanut.  To capture love, pictures, memories.  To track my personal journey through grief, mourning...and hopefully, eventually into hope and rebirth.  And, most importantly, to balance each piece of sorrow with a piece of joy.  Keeping that mission has saved me, and allowed me to remember you with laughter through tears.

After feeling the sharp edges of my rock bottom, I now know what it feels like to climb up.  Sure, I slip and fall back some days, but the trajectory is up.  Or, in Peanut-speak, "UH-PPUH!"  Sweet Connor, I miss you and your sunshine smile so very much.  I look at your pictures and feel your warmth.  Tears still flow freely, but a little smile, a little laugh, escapes from my lips at the same time.

Peanuckle, oh how I love you...to the moon and back.

- Momma

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Jean Diapers & Fierce Love

Peanut -

I came across the following quote today, and it spoke to my heart:


"A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world.  It knows no law, no pity, it dates all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path." (Agatha Christie)


Well said, Ms. Christie.  And, I will take it one step further.  There is something very special, powerful about the love - the bond - between a mother and her son.  Peanut, I always felt that you and I could read each other's souls and thoughts.  There was and is an electric bond between us.  I truly believe it's why I feel, sense and receive so many signs from you on a daily basis.

It's funny.  The first four months I was pregnant with you, I was convinced I was having a little girl.  I actually called you "Daisy" those first months, much to Dadda's dismay.  My morning sickness was so awful that first trimester, I lost 12 pounds.  And I constantly craved sweets, which is totally unlike the salt-lover in me.  All the old wives tales say those signs point to carrying a girl.  Boy, were they wrong!

After we found out you were a boy, I was a little scared.  I mean, what did I know about raising a boy???  I wasn't brought up around boys.  Girls - easy.  But...a boy?  I know, I know, silly Momma!  Oh Peanut, I am so thankful I got to experience the love of a mother-son relationship.  From the moment I first felt you move in my belly, I knew my little boy had my heart and soul forever.  From the start, you were stubborn and feisty, just like me.

I'm sharing two photos from one of my most favorite days of the week - Friday.  They are from last summer, on a day when I let you hang out in your cool jean diapers and Superfriends t-shirt.  You decided you'd had enough of the "baby gate" and stood there rattling it, giant binky in mouth, for several minutes.  Every few moments you'd glance at me, just to make sure I was watching!  See, like I said - stubborn, feisty Peanut!

My sweet, funny, goofy little boy.  I love you so very much.  To the moon and back, in fact.  (And, beyond...)

- Momma


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

118 Days and Butterflies

Peanut -

It has been 118 days since I last received one of your Peanut Hugs, felt your breath in my hair and heard you sigh, "Momma..." into my ear.  Tomorrow marks 17 weeks.  It feels like yesterday.  It feels like forever ago.  More than anything, it still feels very unreal.  How can something so perfect, joyful, wonderful be snatched away so quickly?  With no reason or explanation?

Your very presence made everyone in our family better, happier. And while your Peanut Effect has been so very powerful and awe-inspiring over these last four months, I still wonder...couldn't your impact have been equally as great if you'd been allowed to live?  While we will never have the answer to that question, it is now up to us - the friends and family who love and honor you - to make your legacy as important and powerful as possible.  What that looks like, feels like, continues to reveal itself and I'm sure that will continue for years to come.  But, I have already discovered a big part of it is sharing this journey, hearing from others, receiving and providing comfort and support, and giving grace.

As a part of sharing, I've been saving a truly wonderful story for just the "right" day.  Today feels like that day.  On Mother's Day Eve, one of my very dear, treasured sorority sisters from college shared a personal story with me from the East Coast.  Her daughter's preschool class started raising and watching butterflies this spring, around the same time she shared the story of Connor with her daughters and their teachers.  Well, the first week of May, it was time for the class to name and release their butterflies.  The entire preschool class decided to name every single one of their butterflies Connor, in honor of you, Peanut!  Picture that...a whole preschool class setting free their beloved butterflies with a dedication to you and your memory.  Connor Butterflies.  The Peanut Effect.  Powerful.

These are the stories that lift my heart and bring me hope.  While I still mourn all we have lost, in particular the future we had mapped with you, I now see there is the possibility of another future.  And, it will include you each and every day...just in a different way than I had originally imagined.  I keep you alive in my heart, soul and memory, and will continue to tell you every single day just how much I love you.  Can you guess how much?  To the MOOOOOOON and back!  For eternity, Peanut.

- Momma

Monday, May 23, 2011

Storm/Emotion Tracker

Peanut -

2011 started out with freak New Year's Eve storms and tornadoes here in St. Louis.  What foreshadowing. So far, the year and its events and weather have followed that turbulent pattern, often riding side-by-side with my grief and sorrow.

I think back to the eternal optimism I felt at the very beginning of the year, when I sent out our "Happy 2011" cards featuring your giant, toothy smile.  How could I have known that most of the card's recipients would be gathered around us just three weeks later at your memorial service...

As I reflect on the horrible tornadoes that ripped through Joplin, MO on Sunday evening, I realize I have much to be thankful for in terms of the time we had with you and the circumstances around how we lost you.  Not that any death or loss is better, easier, worse, more tragic.  But I find peace and comfort in the knowledge that you didn't suffer at all.  You never knew a day of pain.  The last day we had you - Tuesday, January 25 - was one of your best days at school.  Your final "report card" from your beloved Miss Amanda and Miss Krista raved about what fun you had in art class with a GIANT smile on your face all day!  You went to bed that night and had play time, love, hugs, kisses and stories from me AND Dadda, which never happened!  And then, sometime in the early morning hours of Wednesday, January 26 your brain just stopped telling your little body to breathe.  Quietly, peacefully called to your new home.

My heart breaks for the families in Joplin who lived their last moments together in terror.  I pray for their comfort and healing.  And I hope they are able to replace the images and memories of those last moments with their lifetime of wonderful, happy memories.  It is so hard to imagine the number of people in one, small, tightly knit community having to suffer through these unimaginable losses.  I have a hard time thinking of just one other family having to deal with this, much less a whole town.

Peanut, look out for those families and all the new kids I'm sure you're meeting in heaven.  I'll bet you can show them the ropes, teach them how to visit their families and provide a sense of love, peace and eventual hope.  Teach them how to send butterflies and rainbows.  And, remind them that someday we will all be together again.

Sorry this posting is a little late, 'Nut.  We lost power yesterday, so I was able to write this but not get it posted until this afternoon.  I've back-dated it, and will have another letter for you later tonight.  So, until then, know how much I love you, how much I miss you, and that every tear I've shed today is a tear of love, honor and remembrance.

- Momma

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Special Purpose Peanut

Peanut-

We had a visit this weekend from two of my very favorite little girls, who just happen to be one of my best friend's daughters.  They came out to deliver some beautiful flowers, run around in our ginormous yard and play with Henry the Puppy.  But, the most unexpected thing happened.  They noticed you.  More specifically, they noticed your adorable pictures and were intrigued.  They are far too young to understand subjects like death and loss.  So, it made no sense to them that they saw your picture and immediately knew you were my little boy, but they couldn't meet or play with you.  Here's how it went down (sort of):

Little Girl #1: "So, I saw your little boy."
Little Girl #2: "Yeah, you have a little boy."
Little Girl #1: "Where is he?  Can we meet him?"
<Me looking at their Mom, who silently tells me this is one subject they haven't approached, and us both shaking our heads over what to say.>
Me: "Well, yes, I do have a little boy.  His name is Connor and he is a very, very special little boy.  He came to stay with us for a little while so he could take care of some important stuff.  But, he had to leave to go visit a new place where I'm going to meet him in the future."
Little Girl #1: "Will we get to meet him there too?"
Me: "Yes, I bet you will.  But, that won't be for a long, long time."
Little Girl #1: "Oh, that's too bad."
Little Girl #2: "Yeah."
Me: "It's OK.  Until then we have loads and loads of pictures and stories and we can talk about him and laugh all the time.  Sound good?"
Little Girls #1 and #2: "Yep!"
<And, at this moment a large, beautiful black and blue butterfly appeared, distracting both little girls.  I silently cried, "Hi Peanut!">

So, not perfect, but I think I did OK.  Maybe?  I've tried to anticipate all the questions that might come up, to have my answers prepped. But, I didn't see this one coming from a million miles away.  Peanut, it's for these friends, family and acquaintances that I write this blog, share pictures and preserve memories.  So, in a small way, they'll get to know you like Momma and Dadda knew you.  And your Peanut Purpose will continue to live on, even in death.

I'm sharing a picture from your 1-year photo shoot with Heidi.  This photo captures every bit of joy I felt when we were together.  The look on your face says it all.  Oh Peanut, I miss and love you - to the moon and back.

- Momma

Saturday, May 21, 2011

McDonald's?!? For me????

Peanut -

Dadda and I were out running a bunch of errands early this morning, and decided to stop at McDonald's for breakfast.  We sat by the children's area, and got to watch small bunches of kids chase each other between bites of their breakfasts.  It made me ask the question, "Can you imagine how different things would be if we had Peanut here?"  We both got quiet and sad for a moment, but were lifted by memories of the first time we took you to McDonald's.

It was right before your 1st birthday, as we were driving down to Big Cedar Lodge for a family vacation.  We were just about to fully transition you to table food and milk, and decided it was time for you to try a cheeseburger.  Oh....holy cannoli!  Actually, holy cheeseburger!  You took your first bite, and gave us that questioning look that asked, "Is this for ME?!?  Seriously?"  And once we offered you another bite, you were overjoyed.  So happy, in fact, that I had to snap a few pictures with my Blackberry.

At the end of that lunch, I took a few more photos of you and Dadda with a decidedly creepy-looking Ronald statue.  Judging by your face in the pics, I think you found him just as scary as Momma!  What I love about these pictures and this memory is how happy and perfect this moment in time was for our family.  That was a great vacation, and right on the heels of it we celebrated your 1st birthday.  What an innocent, blissful time in our world.

All day today I've been visited by brightly colored butterflies - in particular around the Connor Tree we planted in the side yard.  It's just beginning to bloom, and has attracted all kinds of birds, butterflies and lightning bugs.  I think they sense that this is a Very Special Tree, and want some of its magic.  I share the sentiment.  But, I also think you send these butterflies my way to comfort and remind me of our love, and the rebirth of hope.

Peanut, I miss you so very much.  I wish I could feel your hugs again.  Instead, I must be comforted by sending you all my love straight to heaven...and to the moon and back.

- Momma



Friday, May 20, 2011

Hiiiii, Kitteh-Kah!

Peanut -

Boy oh boy, Zeke The Cat sure does miss you.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm pretty sure he doesn't miss getting his tail yanked on, or his whiskers pulled out.  And I'm certain he doesn't miss the nightly whacks you gave him with Felipe the Screwdriver.  But, I am also certain he misses you and doesn't understand why you're gone.  I found him in your room today, crying in the middle of the floor.  He jumped up on your changing table, then into your crib, sniffing around searching for signs of The Peanut.  Eventually, he made his way into your closet, where he sat and cried for another few minutes until I went in, picked him up and gave him some love.

I wonder if the confused sense of time I have is the same for Zeke.  There are days when it feels like I haven't held or smelled you for years.  Then there are days like today, when I keep expecting to wake you up from your nap, or get you out of your car seat.  Time has been tricky that way.  It makes me think back to the days and weeks immediately after we lost you, and the total suspension of reality.  To be honest, I can't even remember most of those days.  I know they were horrible, sorrowful, desperate, but I think the human mind has a powerful way of shielding us, protecting us, from those periods of time when we are so wounded that all we are doing is surviving.

I told someone this week that I feel as if a fog is lifting from around me, and I feel a sense of clearing.  Breathing isn't quite so difficult.  Smiles are coming a little more easily.  Tears are still frequent, but they are balanced with hope.

A good example: In my car today, I had my iPod on Shuffle Mode, which is dangerous.  Sure enough, the song "Baby Mine" came on, from the movie Dumbo.  That was my song for you when I was VERY pregnant, and right after you were born.  I sang it to you every afternoon to get you to nap, and I honestly haven't heard it since you were 6 months old.  It knocked the wind out of me for a moment, but then I was flooded with all the amazing memories I have of rubbing my 9-month pregnant tummy, holding my precious newborn boy, watching you sleep, and singing to you while you gazed back at me because you refused to sleep!  Love and grief.  But, the love wins.

In honor of that amazing song and those perfect memories, I'm including the lyrics below:


Baby mine, don't you cry
Baby mine, dry your eyes
Rest your head close to my heart
Never to part, baby of mine

Little one when you play
Don't you mind what they say
Let those eyes sparkle and shine
Never a tear, baby of mine

If they knew sweet little you
They'd end up loving you too
All those same people who scold you
What they'd give just for
The right to hold you

From your head to your toes
You're not much, goodness knows
But you're so precious to me
Cute as can be, baby of mine
 

Peanut, every tear, every memory, every smile reminds me how lucky I was to have you, even if it was for too brief a period of time.  I hang on to the person - the Momma - you made me.  And, I am thankful even as I work through this sorrow.  I feel your spirit and presence as I slowly climb upward - you boost my soul and give me the love and hope I need to keep climbing.  I love you so much, I can almost feel my heart expanding.  Thank you, sweet Peanut.

I love you - to the moon and back!
- Momma


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Vrrrrooooooooom!

Peanut -

This afternoon I drove by one of the new, totally decked out grocery stores in St. Louis (Des Peres Schnucks) and remembered a wonderful Saturday morning back from late fall 2010.  Dadda and I took you to that store to explore, shop around, and buy Bloody Mary supplies to go visit some friends of ours who had a new baby born almost exactly 1-year after you!

We got to the store and Dadda was thrilled to see they had grocery carts outfitted for kids that looked like little race cars and space ships.  From the moment he plopped you in that cart, you two were off and racing for the next hour.  I could hear you guys throughout the store, as Dadda made race car noises - "Vrrrrroooooommmmm!  Zooooooooom! - catching glimpses of you around corners, in mirrors, and when you two would sneak up on me.  You laughed and clapped and had a blast, even when Dadda crashed into various display racks.  And what was so interesting - no one seemed annoyed or irritated.  Rather, I could see the joy, smiles and laughter on people's faces as they watched this fabulous, loving Dad and his adorable, happy son having a fun Saturday morning together at the grocery store.

Peanut, I hope we get the chance to relive that memory with more kids, with your guidance and blessing.  Being a parent, a Momma, was the best role I've ever been lucky enough to have, thanks to you.  I've had loads of moments today that have been filled with YOU.  Some sad, many bittersweet, but all with a loving tinge of joy.  I miss your smile and your blue, blue eyes.  And your expressive eyebrows.  And little monkey toes.  And your smell.  And...well...everything.  Peanut, I hope you know how much I miss you.  And, how much I love you.  Guess how much.  Yep, that's right.  To the moon and back!

- Momma

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Grooming the Peanut

Peanut -

Some of my very favorite memories of you - and what I miss the most on a daily and weekly basis - surround the routine, regular, day-to-day activities.  Things like shower time every other morning before school.  Breakfast time with your Cheerios and bananas.  Friday afternoons when we would eat lunch together after watching Yo Gabba Gabba!  The evening viewing of The Backyardigans.  Putting you in your jammies and reading bedtime stories.  Listening to you sleep on the baby monitor.  <sigh>

One thing I might miss more than any of the above...cutting your fingernails.  Odd, I know, but that was our special time on Saturdays.  From the time you were a brand new, little, bitty Peanut we had a routine.  Over time I gained your trust to the point that you almost looked forward to nail clipping time.  As you got older, I would sit you between my legs, and I would kiss the top of your head, breathing in your wonderful baby smell, while I carefully clipped your nails, finger by finger.  Even if you squirmed, all I had to do was kiss your neck, and you would settle down.

Another routine I miss observing - the moment Dadda would release your feet from your tennis shoes.  He usually did it while you were eating dinner in your high chair.  He would pull back the velcro fasteners, and you would start your little "Oh! Oh! Oh!" grunt while kicking your feet.  He'd pull off your shoes and socks, revealing those amazing Monkey Toes, and give your feet a proper rub-down which always brought squeals and laughter.   It was such a delight to watch.

Peanut, "delight" is just about the perfect word for you.  You made everything, every moment, special, joyful, delightful.  Or, in Peanut-speak: deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeligtful!  I love and miss you so very much...to the moon and back.

- Momma

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

All the Single Ladies!

Peanut -

You loved Beyonce.  In particular, that crazy "All the Single Ladies" song.  Uh oh oh, oh oh oh oh oh, oh whoa uh oh!

Beyonce + All the Single Ladies = Peanut crack.

It didn't matter if it was actually Beyonce singing, or Momma doing a totally butchered rendition, it got you bouncing, dancing, grooving and laughing.  Lots of other songs and music evoked a similar reaction from you, but something about you dancing to Beyonce's fierce single-gal anthem really tickled Momma's funny bone.  And, there was nothing you loved more than to see me laugh.

Peanut, it would be so easy to be angry right now.  Angry at the injustice of your loss.  Angry at life and the world for moving on.  Angry at the way this tragedy has shaken my core, my beliefs, my sense of self and safety.  But...no.  I choose NO.  I will not be angry.  Because that's not what you brought to me, my world and my life.  You opened my heart to love, joy, trust.  To loving with reckless abandon.  Without expectation.  And, that is what I owe you and the world.  Not an excuse to be angry, bitter and hollow.  But to give love and joy back tenfold.  One hundredfold.

If there is one lesson I have learned over these last few months it is this - the universe isn't keeping score.  This isn't about karma or anyone getting what they do or don't deserve.  There is no allocation of "bad stuff" being doled out judiciously.  Instead, it is about what you choose to do with the good, the bad, the truly horrific.  Stand?  Survive?  Honor?  Live again?  As hard as it is, the answer from me is yes.

Peanut, I know you are watching and guiding us every single day.  I want you to be proud, and to be able to tell your angel friends, "That's MY Momma!"  That thought makes me smile.  And laugh a little.

I love you, my sweet Peanut, to the mooooon and back.
- Momma

Monday, May 16, 2011

Goodnight Moon

Peanut -

Some of the sweetest memories I have from our too-brief time with you involve the evenings when Dadda put you to bed.  Normally, Dadda was in charge of wake-up duty and I took bedtime duty, but every once in a while he would get the opportunity to dress you in your jammies and read you a bedtime story.  Since "Guess How Much I Love You" was Momma's turf, Dadda claimed his own bedtime book for you - "Goodnight Moon."

I used to love to hover outside the door, listening to him read to you.  He would point out every illustration in the book, using lots of funny voices and noises.  You would watch him as he read, gazing at him with love and wonder - and an occasional giggle.  In those moments I would marvel at how perfect life was, how complete.  My two peas in a pod, making me love you both more every single day.

Oh, how I miss watching you and Dadda together.  Peanut, you showed me a side of him I never would have known - never could have known - without your very special time on this earth.  It's another ripple in the Peanut Effect.  In both your life and your loss, you have shown me just how special Dadda is, and just how much I love him.

At the end of "Goodnight Moon" Dadda would always read:


Goodnight stars
Goodnight air
Goodnight noises everywhere...
And gooooooooooodnight Peanut!


So, that's how I'm going to end tonight's post.  I love you.  To the moon and back, my Peanut.
- Momma

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ooooooooh-Tay!

Peanut -

With one simple Peanut-esque gesture, Dadda reduced Momma to peals of laughter this afternoon.  I was confirming that we were in agreement on something, and I gave him the thumbs-up.  And he did exactly what YOU used to do back to me.  The "We're #1!" sign.  No matter how many times we tried to show you it was all in the thumbs, you always gave us the raised index finger.  Then you'd break into your Peanut-laugh which would force all of us into a laugh-fest.  Looking back, I'm pretty sure you knew exactly what you were doing, my crafty little 'Nut.

Until that moment this afternoon, I had completely forgotten that memory.  What a gift to get it back.  And now, through sharing it, it gets to live on.  Which is one of the major reasons I write this blog every single day...to remember, share and allow your special magic to continue to live through these stories.

Today has been a much different, and maybe better, day than yesterday.  We are preparing to put the house up for sale, which is something we planned to do long before January 26, 2011.  But now it seems like the right time to move on, start fresh.  Peanut, you and your spirit don't feel connected to this house.  My memories of you don't ever seem to include this location as a background...maybe because this house never really felt like "ours."  I think I'm looking forward to finding a new space and creating a very special Peanut Room, dedicated to all the wonderful memories of you.  Something about that concept feels...good?  I'm struggling for a word.  Balanced.  Settled.  Peaceful.

Oh, sweet, sweet Peanut...I miss you so very much.  Especially during these long, overly quiet weekends.  You are my heart, my love.  To the mooooooooon and back!
- Momma

Saturday, May 14, 2011

'Nuts and Ladders

Peanut -

Right after the holidays I got a wild hare to "toddler-proof" the blinds in your room.  Not that we didn't already have the cords tucked away safely, but I decided that wasn't good enough.  No...it was time to bind and cinch them to make them REALLY safe.  What this required - on a Saturday afternoon when it was just the two of us at home - was a ladder.  Bring out the heavy artillery, Momma!

Now, I had an inkling that you had a hankering to climb.  I'd watched you try to climb our bookshelves a few times, and I'd seen you try to climb over the baby gate.  But, a ladder?  No way!  So, I sat you in the TV room with The Backyardigans and some of your favorite books, and went to work in your room - which is connected/next to the TV room.

My Stealth Peanut, you get points for timing AND craftiness.  You waited until I was on the top step of the mini-ladder, focused on tying the first blind cord, to enter the room.  Like a Ninja, you made it across the room and up the first few steps of the ladder before Momma even heard you!  Next thing I knew, you were on the step right behind me and you'd stuck your head through my legs!  "Hey Momma!"  You craned your little head around to look at me, then started to laugh and bounce up and down excitedly.  MOMMA PANIC!  Of course, you were just fine.  And, we repeated this scene two more times, each time just getting funnier and funnier for both of us.  By the end of that afternoon, you were toddling up and down that ladder on your own, like you'd been doing it for weeks.

I love that memory.

<Sigh> We tackled your room today.  What a devastating task.  Devastating in the emotions and memories it evoked.  Each book.  Toy.  Towel.  Stuffed animal.  Diaper.  Bib.  Blanket.  Piece of clothing.  Devastating in the finality of the act.  The overwhelming admission that you are gone.  And the heartbreaking realization that we must move forward.  Without you.  Emotionally and spiritually , I am spent.  I have allowed myself to cry an ocean of tears for you today and I remind myself, I hurt so much because I love you so deeply.  I wouldn't trade that love for anything in this world.

Peanut, I'm sending Momma hugs and kisses to heaven tonight.  <MMMWAH!>  To the moon and back, sweet boy.
- Momma

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Power of Friendship and Love

Peanut -

Tonight I got to witness a group of our friends come together to support a wonderful organization, and specifically, a very special family.  We spent several hours in a room filled with nothing but love, laughter, respect, and kindness.  What a powerful reminder of everything we have to be thankful for in this world.

Despite the emptiness in my heart, soul and arms I am also reminded to be so very thankful for the time I had with you.  The 38 weeks I was pregnant with you.  The 16.5 months we had with you on this earth.  And now, the memories and stories that bring so much love.

As much as your loss has shattered my heart, the Momma that is being rebuilt - slowly, gradually - feels more whole, thanks to you.  Discovering the power of Peanut Love and Momma Love has been truly transformational.

Peanut, I love you so very much it makes me ache.  To the moon and back, Little Nutbrown Hare.

- Momma

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Kickball in the Clouds

Peanut -

You would be 20-months old today.  I can't help but track all the milestones you should be reaching as I look at the calendar.  May 12, 2011.  You should be running.  Talking up a storm.  Kicking a ball.  Eating with a fork and spoon.  Some of these you were already beginning to do back in January.  Sort of.  OK, OK.  The whole spoon thing wasn't going so well.  We still have yogurt stuck to the shutters thanks to an unfortunate spoon incident.  But, you would be a "pro" at them today.  Really!

Rather than get mired down in the sorrow of what we've missed - and will continue to miss - I choose to believe you are doing all these things in heaven, surrounded by your angel friends and family.   You probably have awesome kickball games in the clouds, swing from and slide down rainbows, and run through fields of sunshine.  While I don't subscribe to the philosophy of you being in a "better place" - because your place was here, with us - I do believe you are in the next life, and it's wonderful.

I had a vision this evening while driving home from work.  It was powerful and took my breath away while I sat in traffic at 64 and 270.  I believe it was a vision of the day we meet again in heaven.  You are still your little 16.5 month-old self, running towards me yelling, "MOMMA!!!"  And I am my current age, no older or younger, scooping you up in my arms to receive a giant Peanut hug.  Such a joy-filled, hopeful vision.  While it brought me to tears - sobs - instantly, it also reminded me that I WILL see you again.  I will hold you again.  This is just temporary.  And, in this temporary place and space, it is now my job to honor you, remember you, share you, and make a difference.  To live, not just survive.  But, on some days, to just breathe and be still...

Peanut, I am holding you close to my heart today.  Shared below is a video from exactly 1-year ago, and a picture from your 12-month photo shoot with Heidi.  This image is how I will forever remember you.

I love you - to the mooooooon and back!
- Momma


video

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

BLOWOUT!

Peanut -

Almost exactly one year ago, Dadda and I took you outside to enjoy a gorgeous May afternoon on the back patio.  We were sitting in the sun, enjoying a beer while you bounced and jumped happily in your bouncer seat.  My funny, happy little 8-month old, who hadn't had too many digestion issues, even though you were trying all kinds of new fruits, veggies and cereal.  That is...until this particular day.

Earlier in the week I sent several different jars of food to school for your meals, and prunes must have been included in the bunch.  Most kids need prunes, right? Apparently, not Peanut.

Before we knew it, there was a strange noise and then this terrible smell.  And then we saw it.  In your hair.  On your back.  Down your legs.  Oh dear.  DIAPER BLOWOUT!  Dadda scooped you out of the bouncer seat and ran you up the back stairs while I ran into your room to grab a towel, baby wash, and a washcloth.  We had you stripped down and in the kitchen sink in less than 30 seconds.  And you were deeeeeeeeelighted.  Bath time was the best!

I absolutely treasure that memory and all the funny pictures we took from that day.  Just recently, I discovered we also took a a video clip on the flip camera from that incident - included below.  You could have fussed and cried over that blowout and the requisite bath that followed.  Instead, you were all smiles and laughter.  My joyful 'Nut.

The smile this brings to my face helps fill the hollow place in my heart.  I love and cherish the memories.  And, I love YOU to the moon and back, sweet Peanut.

- Momma



video



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Peanut Superglue

Peanut -

Four months ago, fragile was a word I only used to describe delicate, breakable items.  Like glass vases or crystal champagne flutes.  Never could I have imagined what a new, different meaning that word would take on for me in 2011.  Fragile now describes my view of life.  Of love and family.  Of me.  Of everything I used to take for granted.  Everything that seemed so...certain.

There are days when the delicate exterior I present to the world starts to crack, crumble thanks to a tiny "ping" from something totally unexpected.  But, within the fragility I am hoping to discover a spine of steel.  I've seen glimpses of it recently, often with the help of signs and joyful memories from you, my sweet Peanut.  Always thanks to the love of Dadda, our friends, family and the community that has surrounded us.  The Peanut Superglue that continues to fix the Momma Vase.

For anyone who has friends working through their own personal tragedies, just know they want to feel "normal" sometimes.  I know the first conversation is the hardest, but don't shy away.  And be prepared for them to bring their emotion to the table.  Their tears exist because they love so deeply.  I know for me, personally, there is nothing I crave more than being allowed to talk about my Peanut, and to hear all the funny stories my friends have to share about their own children.  Even if it brings some tears, it also fills me with a sense of happiness.

I adore the sheer joy I see in every picture of you, Peanut.  It shines through - along with your obvious love of the camera and the Momma behind it!  When I'm feeling particularly fragile, I have certain pictures that make my heart glow.  I've shared one of those magical pictures today.

While my heart and soul have ached for you in a particularly painful way today, the expansive reach of your Peanut Effect continues to awe, inspire and amaze me.  I love you Peanuckle, to the moooooooon and back!

- Momma

Monday, May 9, 2011

Give. Me. That. BOOK!

Peanut -

One of your most favorite recreational activities, beginning around 1-year, was to clear off our bookshelves...much to Momma's dismay.  No matter how tightly I packed those books in, your sheer will and determination always won the day.  I'd find you surrounded by a sea of my books, with you patiently paging through them, as if you were scanning each and every page.  Only once did you really try to tear the pages out, which I now find truly remarkable.

There was one book in particular that held a bizarre fascination for you.  Tom Robbins' "Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates" with its orange and red spine.  Even if you left every other book alone, that one was comin' out!  I finally had to move the book to a higher shelf, since that book was the victim of your page tearing wrath.  I happened to glance at the bookshelf today, and that book caught my eye.  It brought such a huge smile to my face, and I laughed out loud.  No wonder you always pulled it out - it's BRIGHT orange!  Just like the butterflies you've been sending Momma every day...

You absolutely loved books, and were constantly bringing me more books to read to you.  As you got older, you had your favorites that you would "read" on your own...a sight that warmed my heart.  I have always adored reading and writing.  It's part of the reason I write this blog - these letters to you are the only way I know to truly, clearly express my heart.

I'm sharing a photo today that is just...well...perfect.  It's you holding your very own, miniature copy of the US Constitution.  Yes, that's right.  The Constitution.  And I say "holding" but it's more like you're attempting to absorb it.

Peanut, thanks for the laugh today.  Momma needed it.  I love you sooooooo much.  You know how much?  To the moon and back!

- Momma

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Froggies and Lions and Bears - Oh My!

To my little Peanut -

Over the last several months I've heard other bereaved moms refer to themselves and me as "Angel Mommas."  It threw me at first, but I've come to realize, there truly is no better description.  Because there is no word.  No descriptor.  I've grown to like Angel Momma, because it recognizes that I still am and always will be your mom.

A touching quote was shared with me today that really summed up this day from my very personal perspective:
 "Mother's Day is a day of appreciation and respect. I can think of no mothers who deserve it more than those who had to give a child back." ~ Erma Bombeck


Peanut, we were surrounded by love, respect, support, messages, and signs all day - from friends, family, complete strangers and YOU.  Thank you for sharing the tiny froggy who appeared in our hibiscus tree this morning.  I know you miss your earthbound froggies, but I'm pretty sure you have your own very special one in heaven.  And just know, we're taking good care of your froggies.  Promise.

I am so glad to have the memories of last year's Mother's Day, even though I can't find any pictures.  I dug in and put on my Stubborn Momma Pants, and insisted we spend the day at the St. Louis Zoo.  The day was slightly chilly, but we had a wonderful time wheeling you around, showing you the lions, tigers, bears and sea lions, and thinking about how this is something we would do every year.

It was a perfect, sunny, warm day in St. Louis today.  I'm sure loads of families went to the zoo and created their own special memories.  As for us, we stayed closer to home.  Maybe we will get to revisit the zoo dream in the future, but not for now...

Tonight I'm sharing pictures of your very, very special froggies (sitting with two Seeds of Happiness) and a picture from your first-ever trip to the zoo when you were just two months old (check out the co-ool lion cap)!  It is with love, sadness and relief I bid "farewell" to this day.

As for you, my little Peanut Angel, I love you to the mooooooooon and back!
- Momma







Saturday, May 7, 2011

Why Walk When You Can Crawl?!

Dear Peanucklehead -

First, tomorrow is Mother's Day.  While I know it is important to honor the day and remember how much I love being Peanut's Momma, the task of facing the day itself feels next to impossible.  Every ad, flyer, commercial simply serves as a painful reminder that I'm a Momma without a Peanut to hug tomorrow morning.

We were revisiting a whole series of Peanut pictures this afternoon with Grandma and Grandpa, thanks to an amazing Mother's Day gift Dadda created - along with the fantastic Heidi Drexler - in the form of a large canvas photo collage.  The collage includes photos from all 16.5 months of your beautiful existence, and every photo has a happy, funny memory.

There is a hilarious, cheesy grin picture that I used on our New Year's cards.  I reminded Grandma I took the picture the afternoon of December 10, the same day we visited Santa Claus.  A few hours later she called me to share a memory from that same day.  A memory I had totally forgotten.  It was the first time you really, REALLY walked.  You walked the entire length of Grandma and Grandpa's family room, and you were sooooo full of pride and Peanut spitfire you started bee-bopping around their entire house.  I had you home with me alone that weekend while Dadda was out of town, and got to watch you walk everywhere for the next two days until BAM! walking was no longer "fun."  I was disappointed Dadda missed those first few days of walking, but knew we just needed to be patient and supportive.  You'd get the Walking Groove back.

You also were just as stubborn as your Momma.  I think you knew exactly how much we wanted you to walk and, well, you were just going to do it on your own timeline.  When we weren't looking, you would take off walking.  But the second you saw us watching you, down you went!  And your crawl...hilarious.  Hands slapping the floor, super fast, laughing the whole distance.  This went on for about two more weeks, until over the holidays it all clicked and you were officially Peanut The Walker.

I wish we had more photos of you walking.  In their absence, I can only continue to share the memories. And, they are all wonderful.  I love you with all my heart, Peanut.  To the moon and back.

- Momma


Friday, May 6, 2011

Bright Orange Peanut Butterfly

My wise, crafty little Peanut -

You are still so present around us, it's powerful, comforting.  Dadda and I were sitting in the yard today, enjoying the sunshine with Henry the Puppy, telling Peanut stories.  We had just hung up a beautiful butterfly windchime to match one we bought two weeks ago.  Now, all our visitors are greeted by your butterflies and the song of the chimes.  And, just as we uttered your name, a strong wind blew through the yard...your chimes started to play beautiful music.  Dadda and I looked at each other, smiled and said, "Hey, Peanut!" at the same time.

Later this afternoon we left to run a very important, emotional errand.  I asked for a sign from you, looked out the car window, and there you were.  In the form of a bright orange butterfly, winging alongside the car for the next few blocks.  Amazing.  

Peanut, you are the sun, moon and stars.  You are the froggies singing outside the bedroom window.  You are the wind in the chimes.  You are the powerful love in my soul that is gradually smoothing the ragged edges of my heart.  I love you, to the moon and back.

- Momma




Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Cinco De Mayo a la Peanut

Ohhhhhhh Peanut -

Dadda and I spent the evening up at Vallarta watching their big Cinco de Mayo celebration.  We didn't really "participate" but enjoyed seeing our friends do so well on a busy, rainy night.  The rain we're getting is perfect.  Steady, slow, cool...just what your Peanut Tree needs to thrive.

As we sat with our food in the noisy restaurant, Dadda and I reflected on how much fun we had with you - all the time!   You LOVED our goofiness, and actually brought it out of us at the most unexpected moments.   One of the funniest moments I remember is doing an elaborate dance/song number for you in our kitchen, while you were in your high chair - to a song that went something like "C'mon ride the train, oh ride it, whooooooh whoooooooooh, c'mom ride the train, yeah ride it....whooop whoop!"  You were so entertained.  MORE MOMMA!  MORE!

Making you happy was so easy.  Just a smile.  A hug.  A kiss.  You are my lesson for the world.  You have so changed the way I view my life.  Folks, it's not about the money, the house, the car.  It's about the love you create and give back.  It's about the Peanut Effect.

Sharing a picture Dadda took of you and your friends enjoying snack time at school in November (Peanut is to the left with the green sleeves and crazy hair!).  Love it.

Baby, I love you.  To the moooooooooooon and back.
- Momma

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cutie Pah-Toooooooh-Tie!

Peanut -

Do you have any idea how much I love you?  How very special you are? How you are the cutest sweetie pie I've ever seen?  You are my cutie pah-toooooh-tie!

Dadda and I were out today enjoying vacation time and sun in The Lou.  We had some treats (food/beer) on a local restaurant patio and ran into lots of old friends.  Very nice day.  But I also got to see loads of families with kids and babies and I just kept thinking...that should be us.  We should be watching you run towards the train tracks to watch the trains and you should be chasing the spring birdies around the plaza.

As I watched the young couple who looked exhausted eating dinner with their 2-month old with grandpa/grandma taking "turns" on relief duty I understood the impact you've had on me.  I will totally appreciate every moment if I'm ever given the opportunity to have another baby (or babies).  Never again will it feel like exhaustion.  Or an extra effort.  I'm not sure if it ever did, but I'm more aware of it now than ever.

Peanut - I'm looking for more signs.  I think you might want a brother or sister.  If so, show me.  Until then, I'm sharing a pic that cracks me up.  Peanut in jail.  Actually, Peanut outside our pool gate, but it still cracks me up.

I love you to the mooooooooooooooooooon and back!
- Momma

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Your Backyard Friends!

Peanut -

I miss watching the Backyardigans with you every night at 7:00 pm CT.  That was our schedule.  After, of course, WHEEL OF FORTUNE we switched over to Pablo, Tyrone, Uniqua and the other Backyardigans for 30 minutes of singing, dancing and general happiness.  We loved that show.  Yes.  You, I and Dadda. We ALL loved that show.  The title song always got you dancing and clapping with your HUGE Peanut smile.  Sometimes the story didn't capture your attention, but the music always re-engaged.  Bum-bum-bah-bum-BUM-buh-bum-ba....Your Backyard Friends....!

After the show we had your bedtime story, then a kiss (MWAHHH) goodnight.  I still keep the last part of the routine every night, but it's missing my Peanut.  I haven't been able to watch any of your shows, but I do still read your stories, kiss your stuffed animals, and light your nightlight.  Mr. Snuffles sits in your room and waits for you day after day, night  after night.  I wonder, should I bring him out?  Bring him to bed with me?  No....

Peanut, I dream of you dancing and enjoying the music in heaven.  In particular, with our family members who have preceded us...often, my uncle who was Julliard accepted and always had a special music connection with me.  I had a dream of him with you at a piano bench surrounded by other family members in a school cafeteria.  You were all laughing and enjoying the jazz, blues and soul.  Oh, how I love that image.  It reminds me of Thanksgiving 2010, when I played the piano with you at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  (pictures included)  We rocked the house!

I love and miss you so much, sweet Peanut.  To the moooooooooon and back.
- Momma


Monday, May 2, 2011

Staying Close to Peanut's Universe

Peanut -

Well, we are still home tonight. No Sanibel. Momma just couldn't get on that plane without you. This trip was supposed to be our trip with you. Even with Froggy stowed away in Dadda's pocket, I couldn't do it. It's funny the things that force me to hit the wall. Turns out the physical act of this trip was one of the unexpected triggers.

We will figure out a way to make this trip eventually. For now, I am allowing myself to be sad and to miss you. Curling up in bed with Zeke The Cat seems to be the best therapy tonight.

Hopefully our luggage will come back tomorrow...glad at least it got to see Ft. Myers for a bit. I love you my sweet 'Nut. Sorry I wasn't able to take your memory to the beach. Not yet, at least. To the moon and back, baby boy.

- Momma

Sunday, May 1, 2011

St. Peanut

To my darling Peanut -

You are my little miracle worker.  Thank you for your acts of love, hugs and kindness and for making Momma re-prioritize.  In your 16.5 months on this earth, you showed me how to open my heart, embrace every moment and love without expectation or condition.

Today could have been a bitter day.  And it did start with tears.  But your love filled me via friends, family, strangers and signs.  I truly believe you are an old soul that was sent to this earth to change me, change us and change the world.  Your 16.5 months were filled with purpose, and my time left here will be to continue your purpose.  Love.  Family.  Hugs.  Smiles.

I now know that everyone I meet has a story.  People carry more than you can ever know.  The person with 50 items in the Express Line at the grocery store, the driver who just cut me off...it's just different.  With purpose, I choose to give grace.

You used to gaze into my eyes with such emotion.  I didn't really reflect back on that until we lost you.  But now I think...you were connecting with my soul.  It's part of what has made this loss so powerful, because you are so linked to my heart and soul.  It's also what has made the journey ahead seem positive - hopeful.

I'm sharing a photo tonight that (I think) captures the essence of Peanut.  I laughed when I first saw it because you seemed so old and wise, at 3-months.  Now, it explains everything.

I love you, my Little Nutbrown Hare.  To the moon and back.
- Momma