Monday, January 30, 2012

On This Day Last Year

Peanut -

On this day last year we bid you "farewell" in a very public way.  This was the day of your memorial service.  In terms of closure and tradition, this service was a very necessary part of our grieving process.  In terms of something "no parent should ever have to do," this ranks in the Top Three.

On this same day last year, another brilliant light left this earth.  Joey, with his 10,000 watt smile and bright blue eyes.  Joey, who loved to swim, play in the snow, hang out in his monogrammed chair.  Joey, who embraced life with a zest and gusto - and who loved to eat almost as much as you, Peanut - left the world and shattered the hearts of his amazing parents on January 30, 2011.  Today is Joey's Angel Anniversary.  Who could have imagined, another St. Louis family with a little boy close to your age, walking this same path of loss and grief in parallel with Momma and Dadda?  This couple, this family, have become our friends, our lifeline, our sanity, and in so many ways a new branch of our family over this last year.  And now, like us, they are celebrating a new little life - a daughter - while learning to navigate a world without their precious son.

Peanut, I think back to your memorial service and wish I had better, more clear memories.  That day was such a fog.  I vaguely recall planning the service, first at the funeral home and then with the pastor who came to our house.  There were things I knew I couldn't tolerate - singing, too much scripture, too much talk of you "being in a better place."  Because, you weren't in a better place.  A different place, yes.  But the best place for you was HERE.  With me.

So many people attended the service, and I'm sorry to admit I can't remember most of the faces, the names.  We had only planned one hour for the visitation which was a mistake.  The line snaked out the door, and the funeral home wasn't nearly large enough to contain the crowd, the love, the grief.  During the service, I held onto your school froggy for dear life...he was the only thing keeping me grounded in reality.  People got up to talk, to remember you, to read your favorite book, and all I could do was try to not break down.  To not cry too hard.  My vision was fixed on your little urn at the front of the room.  My brain and heart kept asking, "When is Peanut coming home?"

Later, after the service, we invited everyone to a local restaurant for drinks and food.  Dadda and I just couldn't bear to come home to our empty house.  It was too quiet. It had become a tomb for the living.  The giant picture boards created by your aunts, brothers and sister were displayed around the restaurant, and I finally got to look at them - REALLY look at them - and in that moment my brain connected with reality.  Peanut is gone.  All we have left are pictures, memories, stories.

When Dadda and I got home that night, we realized it was just the beginning of our true grieving process. The early days of a house full of people, constant things to do, and an ability to ignore what had happened, had come to an end.  It's hard to believe that was one year ago.  It's hard to believe we are now able to laugh.  To smile.  To make future plans with hope.  It's hard to believe we are home with your little brother.  It's still hard to believe you're gone.

I reflect on all of this today, as I send love and strength to Joey's family.  As we both embark on "Year Two" it is impossible not to think of the journey we've traveled over the last 12 months.  I continue to be amazed by the power, strength and resiliency of the human heart, spirit and brain.  And, I am eternally thankful for the support and love we have found through Joey's family.

So Peanut, today we send love, hugs and butterfly kisses to you and to Joey "Monkey Man" - to the moon and back, boys!  To the moon and back...

- Momma

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Do A Little Dance...

Peanut -

On your First Angel Anniversary - which was this Thursday, January 26 - Momma made a request of her friends and family via Facebook.  It was pretty simple, actually.  Just a little action, a little gesture, to honor you.  To remember you.

I asked people to dance.

On a day that could have been devastating, I chose to smile, laugh and dance through my tears.  And, in that moment, I touched my little boy via joyful, wonderful memories.  I relived an afternoon of Disney movies and dancing with you, my Peanut.  You entered my heart as I grooved to Louis Prima belting out "I Wanna Be Like You" and you lifted my soul.  I cried and cried, realizing I will never again get to dance like that with you, but am immensely thankful for the memory.  For that day.  For those dances.

So, it just made sense to ask others to honor you through dance - to that song, in particular.  I have a vision of you watching us from heaven, cracking up as all these silly people jump and jive to one of your favorite songs from one of your favorite movies.  What a sight we must be!

But, Peanut, here's where things get really amazing.  Here is where your Peanut Effect fully reveals its impact.  Within hours of me posting that request on Facebook, I noticed this blog was getting more hits than usual.  A lot more.  And then I started getting e-mails and little messages from readers - some who have followed this journey all year, others just reading for the first time.  Every note was full of love and kindness.  And, every reader let me know they were dancing.  Dancing for YOU.

Peanut, you had people dancing in Germany, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, Canada, Argentina, Guatemala, Israel...and more!  Pretty stunning.  A broken-hearted Momma sheds a tear of love in St. Louis, MO and her spirit is lifted by someone dancing half a world away in honor of one incredible little boy.  Her Peanut.

So, tonight I hope you and your friends are having your own dance party in heaven - maybe you learned a few new moves this week?!  Sending you Momma love, hugs and butterfly the moon and back.

- Momma

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Your VERY Big, But Far Too Little, Life

Peanut -

One year.  365 days.  <sigh>  It's hard to comprehend.  It is impossible to describe.  It has felt like 200 lifetimes.  It has felt like a blink of an eye.  And now, this first year, this "last of the firsts" is behind us.  Does it change anything?  No.  You're still gone.  We still mourn.  Just another milestone has passed us by, another mile marker on an endless journey of grief, love and learning.

At 7:02 am on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 you were officially pronounced dead.  And, in that moment, the world shattered into a million sharp, jagged pieces.  Over this last year, we have worked to glue those pieces back together, and have smoothed their rough edges a bit.  They will never again fit together perfectly, and will always be a bit fragile.  But, they have reformed into something new, different, and somehow beautiful.  The passing months have allowed us to remember you more through laughter, and with each day there is more and more joy in telling your stories and speaking your name.

As I swim through this day, in a bit of a fog, I am so thankful for the sunshine provided by the very real, very sharp memories I have of you.  In particular, I think about the last few days we spent together - the last weekend.  You had grown into such a ham.  Such a big personality.  Such a little man.  I'll never forget our last Friday together.  I had to go into work that morning, so you spent part of the day at grandma and grandpa's house.  But, around lunchtime, I picked you up and had a surprise waiting for you in the car - McDonalds french fries!!!  Deeeeeeeeee-licious!  As we drove home, I handed fries back to you, one at a time.  Once you had gobbled it down, you would kick the seat to let me know it was time for MORE FRIES!  The look of sheer delight on your face was worth one hundred million words.

That Saturday, you and I spent the day hanging out in the kitchen - you in your high chair and me at the computer - while Momma built out the family tree on  I'll never forget the pride I felt in adding your name to the tree...never imagining your branch wouldn't be allowed to grow firm and strong, cut short in just a few days.  Every hour or so Momma would take a "steam break" since I was fighting an awful sinus infection.  Those steam breaks, where I would drape a towel over my head and a pot of hot water, sent you into peels of hysterical laughter.  The combination of "peek-a-boo" and Momma's electric red face was just too much fun.

Later that afternoon, we watched "The Jungle Book" and we danced and danced and danced.  You fell in love with King Louie and his song, "I Wanna Be Like You" to the point that we played it not once, not twice, but over five times that day!  At first, Momma picked you up and we danced around the room with you in my arms, your hands over your head as you giggled and squirmed.  Then, I turned you loose on the dance floor (OK, the TV room floor) where you bopped and bounced with your hysterical little Peanut dance.  EVery few seconds you would glance over your shoulder to make sure Momma was watching, laughing, clapping.  I finally scooped you up, covered you with kisses, and received a Peanut hug in return.

In short, that was one of the best weekends of my life.

Then again, every minute with you was the best moment of my life.  And now, your legacy lives on through the little brother you helped us conceive.  The little brother who was born last week.  The little brother who is sleeping peacefully as Momma writes this posting, tears streaming down her cheeks, but with a smile on her face.  And, in just a few minutes, I will play King Louie's song over and over for him while I share stories of his big brother, his guardian angel.

Peanut, your light was snuffed out far too early, yet your impact in the short, 500 days you spent on this earth has been powerful.  Amazing.  Magical.  Your Peanut Effect.

Missing you more than I can describe on this terrible anniversary.  But, my heart is full of fierce, powerful Momma love that I am sending to the moon, the stars, the universe and back.  Forever, and ever, and ever, and ever...

- Momma

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Remembrance: Two Paths

Peanut -

Right on the heels of welcoming your amazing little brother into the world, we are now thrust into a week of remembrance and reflection.  And, like all the milestones and hurdles we have faced over this last year, how to emotionally process and survive this week has boiled down to two decisions - two very different paths - for Momma:

1 - Allow this 1-year anniversary to cripple me and reduce me to days of tears and sorrow, constantly reflecting on how painful and unfair this loss has been, how much we have lost, how much potential we will never get to see...


2 - Spend this week immersed in for my Peanut, love for The Bean, love for Dadda, love for how much I have learned through becoming a Momma, and maybe, just maybe, some form of appreciation for how much I have learned about myself, about life, about parenthood through incomprehensible loss.  Loss of the best, most precious gift this world has had the honor of receiving - you.  My Peanut.

I choose Door Number Two.

I know, I sounds too Pollyanna-ish.  Easier said than done.  Blah, blah, blah.  True, it is terribly difficult to fight through the bitterness.  True, I have cried a lot of tears this week, and every week, every day, every hour since you've been gone.  That will NEVER end.  I will mourn you forever, or, at least until we meet again.

But, I am taking away the power of this week.  Of this milestone.  As Dadda says, we choose to celebrate your life, not your loss.  We will celebrate your birthday every year.  We will rejoice the 500 days we were privileged to spend with you.  But, I will not give January 26 too much control.  Too much power.  We will spend that day in solemn remembrance, and we will visit hundreds of beautiful butterflies in an attempt to get a little closer to heaven - to you.

However, Peanut, you are with us each and every day.  I reach out and can feel your touch.  I close my eyes and see your smile.  I take a deep breath and hear you whisper, "Momma..."  You are helping to heal my soul, my heart, my brain.  THAT is what I choose to remember and celebrate.

Thursday is "the day."  Your Angel Anniversary.  I've debated taking a break from this blog on that day, but, no.  There will be a post full of memories and pictures and smiles and laughter.  Because you wouldn't have it any other way, Peanut.

I love you, my sweet, amazing son.  To the mooooooooon and back.

- Momma

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Navigate With The Heart

Peanut -

Momma should have known.  Should have trusted.  Instead, I chose to worry, worry, worry.  Will I be confused by this new little Bean?  Will it be too hard?  Will sadness overcome and overwhelm?  Will the memories get jumbled with current day?  Oh...silly Momma.  Just as they have done over the last 12 months - miraculously at times - my heart and brain have got this whole thing figured out:

All I had to do was allow my heart to navigate the brain will follow.

I feel a bit like the cartoon character of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas.  When he allowed himself to see the beauty, magic and love of Christmas, his heart doubled, triple, quadrupled in size!  Well, the moment I gazed into your little brother's eyes, I felt my heart open, expand...and it has continued to do so over the last 5 days.

As I have been told and reassured by other bereaved moms who bravely blazed this trail before me, grief and joy truly can exist side-by-side.  They are not mutually exclusive, and each emotion is feeding, informing the other.  The joy of the The Bean and all our "firsts" with him evoke powerful reminders of each "first" with you.  Some memories I had completely forgotten.  Moments buried in sleep deprivation, time, and a hectic life.  Rediscovering those moments has brought a whole new, different level of joy combined with pain. This is a new type of emotion that allows me to smile, sob, laugh and cry thanks to the love and light you brought to this world - to this Momma.  And, this is an emotion I am growing to love, to embrace.  To quote Truvy from "Steel Magnolias" (one of Momma's favorite guilty pleasures) - "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion."

Peanut, I snuggled with The Bean this morning in the dim early morning light, and realized he wasn't sleeping.  He was wide awake, gazing straight into my eyes with a wise, all-knowing look.  He reached out one of his little hands and touched my cheek.  Ah...another tiny, old soul.  In that moment, I believe he was being touched by you, and together you both reached out to me.  "We love you Momma.  To the moooooooooon and back!"

- Momma

(Pictures: The Bean is in the cream lamb towel; Peanut in the blue cow towel)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Bean Has Sprouted!

Peanut -

Sometimes things are just better stated by others than by your Momma. I am sharing a blog post from Heidi Drexler that includes some of your little brother's first photos.

Thank you for helping him arrive safely, at 9:04 am on Tuesday morning, January 17, 2012. He weighed in at 6 pounds, 15 ounces, and is 20 inches long. Healthy. Strong. Your baby brother. Your gift. We feel so much love and such a connection to you, Peanut, as we hold him and experience these first days.

Sending you the moon and back!

 - Momma

Monday, January 16, 2012

Responsibilities of An Angel Brother

Peanut -

Tomorrow, January 17, you will become a big brother.  Not just any normal big brother, but one of the most rare and special kinds - an Angel Brother.  As his wise Angel Brother, you have already been watching out for The Bean for close to 40 weeks.  But now, starting at 1:00 am tonight, The Bean will begin his entry into the world which will require a whole new set of Angel Brother responsibilities.

If you were physically here on earth, I would be sitting down with you to explain all your brand new duties.  Things like: Be gentle with him, remember to share Momma and Dadda, show him how to pet Henry the Dog and Zeke the Cat, teach him how to dance to the Backyardigans, and demonstrate how to give really, really great hugs.  Instead, Dadda and I will share these lessons with him through your stories and pictures, allowing him to learn from you while forging his own path.

As his Angel Brother, you get to watch over him from heaven and to be present in every moment, every second of his new life.  To touch him through the warmth of spring sunlight, the chirp of a frog, the flight of a butterfly, the wind moving through your special wind chimes.  When he is afraid of the dark, you will be the soft glow of the moon.  When he is wary of thunderstorms, you will ease his fears with the pitter-patter of raindrops.

The impact of your life, your love, your Peanut Effect will benefit The Bean in every way imaginable.  A better, more present Momma who never dreamed of having this second child, this miracle baby.  A family who thought loss through the death of an amazing, special little boy was impossible - a family who will now treasure every single moment with his brother, and will always think of you when we see him smile.  And, hopefully, a world that is kinder, more gentle.

Peanut, these hours leading up to our trip to the hospital are proving to be wildly emotional for Momma.  I am reliving the hours and minutes of your birth date.  The overpowering love, the anxiety, the boundless hopes and expectations for the future.   Yet, this time there is a new element, one of sadness, of something - someone - who is stunningly absent.  You.  While I can feel you in my heart, I would give anything, anything, ANYTHING to see you smile and touch your little brother tomorrow, the next day, 10 days and 10 years from now.

As I write this, I can hear your wind chimes ringing loudly in the wind, and I know you are here.  My Angel Son, and Bean's Angel Brother.  I take a deep breath, wipe away the tears, and prepare for the next begins tomorrow.

I love you Peanut.  To the moon and back!

- Momma

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Different Momma

Peanut -

On the day you were born, I was petrified.  Excited.  Unprepared.  I felt like a total fraud.  At 38 weeks, I thought some secret Momma-knowledge had bypassed me.  That I would drop you the instant you were handed to me, that I would never figure out how to hold you, feed you, care for you.  But, I knew I would love you the best I could.  And then...the moment our eyes met, all hesitation and fear disappeared.  I knew we would be fine.  Better than fine.  And, I would love you with the most fierce kind of love imaginable.

I also made a lot of assumptions.  Natural assumptions that all "normal" parents make.  Things like, I would be present to watch YOU have children.  That we would have a lifetime together.  That nothing horrific could touch us.  That bad things happen to other people's children.  We were untouchable.

Oh, how the landscape has changed.  Peanut, every night for the last few weeks Momma has woken up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.  I can't feel The Bean moving.  Well, of course I can't.  He's trying to sleep.  But, in a panic I get up, walk around, drink some juice, and get him stirred up.  I am already living with a whole new set of assumptions - awful assumptions.  We will not get more than a few, precious moments with him.  Something will go terribly wrong in delivery.  Just like you, he will slip away in his sleep.  With no answer.

I said to Dadda today, "I have to hope that once The Bean arrives, the heart will trump the brain.  I have to believe that will be the case."  His response?  "God, I hope so."

We have all the baby monitors and protections in place.  We are prepared.  It is almost time to welcome your little brother, while still grieving over the loss of you, our beautiful Peanut.  A loss that still feels so unreal.  And, in the hardest of moments, a brief, 500-day life that is beginning to feel a little dream-like.  Almost as if it were a different life, and we were different people.  Then again, we were.

I choose to search for the blessings in all of this.  That I will be a more present, focused Momma.  I will cherish every single moment.  I will take more pictures, document more stories, be less caught up in the politics of work and life, and will immerse myself in the beauty of every smile, giggle, touch and hug.

That is our gift from you.  That is another ripple in your Peanut Effect.

I go to bed tonight wondering...will we go into labor?  Is tomorrow the day?  I am thankful for the Bean's kicks and turns.  He is strong.  Alive.  I am full of joy and sorrow.  Most of all, I am consumed by love.  Momma love for my children.  For the Peanut who changed me - the core and fiber of me - for eternity.  To the moon, the stars, the sun and back, sweet boy.

- Momma


Thursday, January 12, 2012


Peanut -

As Momma ended maternity leave back in 2010, after being home with you through the holidays, we had to settle on a pretty structured morning routine to get everyone up, fed and out the door on time.  Certain things didn't even need to be discussed - we knew an evening bath routine was out of the question.  Other items figured themselves out - Dadda would feed you breakfast while Momma got her shower out of the way.  But, once we had a routine, it worked.  And, it was wonderful.  I miss that routine, and the delightful little insights it gave me into you, Dadda and your very special relationship.

Every other morning was deemed "Shower Morning" for you, 'Nut.  Unless, of course, there was some sort of unplanned diaper blowout that made an off-schedule shower or bath necessary.  On Shower Mornings, Dadda would pick out your school outfit, get you fed, then bring you into our bedroom as Momma wrapped up her shower/blow-dry routine.  I would get your towel, brush, diaper cream, and lotion set-up on the bed while you played in the pack-n-play and Dadda grabbed his own shower.  A few minutes in, you would always have a crazy diaper event, then I would pull your diaper off, give you a little clean-up and hustle you into the shower with Dadda.

Watching you two in the shower was hilarious and sweet.  Dadda, a former football guy and gentle giant at 6 ft 3 in, and the wee Peanut with your slight build and squirmy could be a battle of size over slick sometimes!  Dadda would get you all soapy with bubbles from head to toe, while you enjoyed the shower spray on your back.  Then, when it was time, he would start the countdown:
- your little legs would start to pump up and down -
- you would start your "Oh! Oh! Oh!" ecstatic grunts -
- and under the waterfall you would go! -

I always watched this whole show play out in reverse, in my bathroom mirror while I finished getting ready for work.  Peanut, you figured out early on that you could watch me right back in that mirror, so at the end of your shower I would catch you spying on me, waiting to catch Momma break into laughter.  Without fail, I rewarded you with that laugh and a giant smile.

My favorite moment was when I would scoop your dripping wet little body out of Dadda's arms and into a big, red, fluffy Elmo towel, or your light blue Cow towel.  I would wrap you up, put the Elmo hood on your head, and breathe you in while smothering you with kisses.  Time stood still in that exact moment.

We would then break into high gear, getting you lotioned, diapered, dressed, combed, and ready for school.  It was then the mad dash out the door, always capped off with a kiss for Dadda before you and I drove off for the day.

That was our life.  It was wonderful.  It wasn't "perfect" was.  I miss the routine desperately, but know we are about to re-enter that world with The Bean.  Will it be confusing to hear Dadda's "One...Two...THREEEE" with another smiling little boy?  Perhaps.  But, will it make my heart glow again?  I think so.  Because, you will be there with us ever step of the way, Peanut.

I love you soooooo much, 'Nut.  You've been in my mind every second of every minute of every day.  Always.  Sending you Momma love, dreams and kisses - to the moon and back!

- Momma

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Peanut -

The last few days have been defined by one word: anticipation.

My heart is torn between two worlds of conflicting, yet intertwined emotions.  In one world I am preparing for the arrival of an infant.  A little boy.  The Bean.  A tiny Bean just waiting to sprout.  A Bean who has no idea how much hope he is bringing into this world, this family, this Momma.

In the other world, I am a bereaved parent.  A Momma who desperately misses her Peanut.  A Peanut who taught her the meaning of selfless love, and how to be a Momma above all else.  A Momma who is anxiously watching the calendar approach January 26.  A terrible day.  A day that doesn't deserve the term "anniversary."

Today we made a decision that bridges these two worlds.  If The Bean hasn't been born by our due date, January 17, we will induce on that day.  This will ensure over a week between The Bean's birth date and your Angel Date.  It just seems appropriate.  Right.  You will each have your own place, your own week, in the month of January.  Time carved out to honor you each, in your own individual ways, without confusion.

But, in 2012 I am at a loss.  It will be the first Angel Date for you.  And, we'll be home with a tiny newborn. do I ensure we honor you, remember you, pay tribute in the midst of all the "newborn-ness"?  How do I give my heart and brain permission to dive into sorrow on that day, knowing I will have a new baby counting on me?

As I anticipate these two giant milestones, I find myself constantly staring at our wall of Peanut pictures while rubbing the Bean Bump.  Every time I think about you, or cry, or look at your pictures, The Bean kicks and moves.  Almost as if he feels the connection between you two brothers and my heart.

Peanut, I hope to dream about you over these next weeks and to get some kind of sign or indication...what will make you happy and proud of us on January 26?  How can we honor a life so full of beauty, light, love and laughter?

I stare at the picture for tonight's posting, and I know you hear me.  I know you're listening and watching. I know you will visit to check on Momma, Dadda and The Bean.  As sure as I know we might never have an answer around what happened or why you died, I know you will show me the correct path for your Angel Date and beyond.  Because, your presence continues to make this world a better place.  Sending you my heart, full of love and tears - to the moon and back!

- Momma

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Your First Haircut

Peanut -

On this day last year - January 8, 2010 - Dadda gave you your first, and only, big boy haircut.  While we adored your long, blonde curls, tangles and knots were becoming a daily issue and your hair was beginning to resemble a toddler mullet.  Not a great look.  So, without fuss or fanfare, Dadda quietly sat with you in the bathtub and set to work while Momma provided a distraction.  In less than 30 minutes, you were transformed from Baby Peanut to Toddler Peanut, with a stylish new 'do.  And, Momma captured an entire baggie full of discarded blonde hindsight, what a blessing.

Later that morning, I took a series of photos in your bedroom since the haircut made you spirited and full of sass.  We had a total blast crawling around your room, me with the camera, you with your Handy Manny tools in hand, and drool everywhere since you were cutting your last two teeth.

I look at those pictures and see the little man you were becoming.  Your personality shines through in that series of photos - your sly smile, peek-a-boo with the camera, head thrown back with laughter.  I'll never forget taking you to school the following week to have your teachers declare how much older you looked.  It's true.  The haircut transformed you.

Maybe that's why it's become easier for my brain to erase the image of you on the morning you died.  So much about you didn't resemble MY Peanut that morning.  The little boy I clung to in the emergency room, whose body I held through screams, sobs and prayers, who I had to say "good-bye" to forever...that wasn't you.  My Peanut is the funny face with the blonde curls, stuffing Goldfish in his mouth and dragging around his favorite froggy.  That is the Peanut in my brain, memory and heart.

Peanut, I had really hoped your little brother would be born today.  Something seemed so "right" about having his birthday fall on a day that holds such wonderful memories.  Alas, it doesn't look like that will happen.  The Bean is more stubborn than even your Momma, as hard as that might be to believe.

In honor of that wonderful day, the haircut milestone, Momma is sharing the best of the photos from that day.  The wounds in my heart feel especially raw when I view these pictures...I can't fathom this was 1-year ago today.  It defies all logic, and I still can't really grasp that you're gone.  Missing you more than I can express...and sending you all my love, to the moon and back!

- Momma

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Sweetest Word

Peanut -

This morning Dadda and I went to the doctor for our Bean 38-week check-up.  All is well with The Bean, who has decided to hang in for another few hours, days, weeks????  We'll see.  He is healthy, gaining weight every day, with an incredibly strong heartbeat.  All comforting news for a Momma who is hyper-sensitive, hyper-worried.

After the appointment, as we were walking down the medical building's hallway, Dadda and I ran into a grandmother playing with her 2-year old grandson.  He was wearing a fantastic, bright green t-shirt with a navy pinstripe men's tie drawn on the front.  Very dapper.  With a mop of dark hair and big brown eyes, he was playing his own little peek-a-boo game behind grandma's back.

Momma's pregnancy waddle must have grabbed his attention, because his game stopped short and his little boy attention span focused on Momma and Dadda.  A little smile spread on his face, he stared straight at me and declared, "Momma!"

And my heart broke into ten million pieces.

His grandmother laughed and said, "No, silly!  That's not your Momma!"

We all grinned at each other, I told him I loved his t-shirt, and we went our separate ways.  A few minutes later, I finally admitted to Dadda how I wish I'd had that moment with you, Peanut.  At 16.5 months, you were calling me Momma but I never got to have "that moment."  You know, the moment where you catch sight of me across the room and call out "MOMMA!" with excitement.  In my dreams of meeting you in heaven, it's the first interaction we and I seeing each other across a field - "Momma!  "Peanut!" - running and hugging, never ever letting go.

I cling to that dream, and to the hope of hearing your little brother say that word to me.  Maybe it's silly, how much importance I place on this moment, this word.  But, I know in my heart I will hear you say it, in this world or the next.  Until then, just know how much I love you, Peanut.  To the moon and back!

- Momma!!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Music Messages

Peanut -

Last night one of your very special, amazing teachers posted a note on Momma's Facebook Timeline.  She turned on her car radio yesterday afternoon and immediately heard one of your favorite songs, "Chicken Fried" by the Zac Brown Band.  For her, it was not only the first time she'd stumbled across it in a while, but it was one of the first times since your death she was able to listen to it with a smile...full of joyful memories of you dancing.

I loved that post, and thought about all the wonderful moments you and I spent dancing together throughout the evening.  Then, this morning as I was pulling out of the driveway for work the first song picked at random by my iPod was..."Chicken Fried."  I burst into tears and laughter all at once, and glanced in my rearview mirror, thinking I just might see you grinning at me from the backseat.  I repeated the song three more times during the drive in to the office, singing, crying, laughing.  The Bean kicked and turned somersaults as if he wanted to join the party too.  What a way to kick off the day!

Peanut, I believe these little messages are from you.  You are gently reminding us of the 500 days of happy, wonderful moments we were blessed to spend with you.  Reminding us to remember you with smiles and laughter.  Helping to lighten and heal our hearts.

Tonight I am re-sharing the movie Dadda and I made over the Christmas holiday.  This movie was incredibly emotional, painful, heart-wrenching, joyful, and inspirational to create.  It was impossible to watch the movie without tears of first.  But now I watch it with tears of joy, and catch myself laughing as I remember the stories behind the pictures.  I treasure these memories, this brief history of you, and the amazing gift of your life.  Your light.  Your Peanut Touch.

My sweet, beautiful, handsome, joyful, musical, brilliant Peanut.  My son.  My heart.  I miss you and love you sooooooo very much - to the moon and back!

- Momma

Monday, January 2, 2012

Peanut and The Bean

Peanut -

The arrival of 2012 has brought with it the overwhelming anticipation of your little brother's birth.  While he isn't due for two more weeks, it really could be any day now - especially since the contractions have picked up in terms of duration and frequency.

Your 1st Angel Anniversary is also approaching on January 26, but Momma is choosing to focus more on the legacy of your beautiful life, instead of the horror of that date.  That day will mark "the last of the firsts" in many ways, but you are still so present in our hearts and minds...I refuse to consider that you aren't an integral part of every piece of every day.

I suspect when your little brother arrives, we will feel your presence surrounding us in surprising, unexpected ways.  The fact that we confirmed this pregnancy Mother's Day weekend, and his birth date is so close to your Angel Date - it all feels very significant.  Your little brother is the blessing we had never planned, the second child I never thought I could or would conceive, and the child who is helping us remember how much joy we found as parents - Peanut's parents.

This weekend, as we welcomed 2012 on an unseasonably warm day, Dadda and I decided to take a few pictures.  Pictures that are meaningful to us, because they include BOTH you and The Bean.  These are the beginning of what should hopefully be a lifetime of Peanut and Bean pictures.  These will never be "normal" family pictures, because you won't physically be sitting in the frame, but your spirit, your smile, your froggies, your sunshine will infuse our family pictures forever.

And, let's face it, we will never be a "normal" family again.  We will always be a family who survived the worst loss.  A family who was blessed to be touched by your amazing, boundless love.  A family who will always feel the glow of your beautiful smile.  A family who has been at the center of The Peanut Effect.  A family made better because of you.

Peanut, you are going to be the best Angel Brother ever.  You already are.  I love you, my wonderful, beautiful, amazing little son.  My son who taught me how to be a Momma and how to love.  To the moon and back!

- Momma