Saturday, March 31, 2012

You Are The Sun, You Are The Rain...

Peanut -

Momma came across a Native American poem this morning that spoke to my heart.  It so beautifully, so perfectly sums up how I think of you and your constant presence in every moment of every day.  
I immediately shared it with a group of special, grieving women I've gotten to know through this journey, hoping it might speak to them as well.

So many of the quotes, poems, passages that speak to my soul come from other cultures.  It fascinates me to observe how other cultures view, ritualize, speak and write about death.  Those who describe it as part of the circle of life, who don't see death as an end but, rather, a passage to another state of being truly resonate with my beliefs.

I give you this one thought to keep -
I am with you still - I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not think of me as gone -
I am with you still - in each new dawn.

While you aren't here for me to hold, you are still here for me to love.  I still sing and read to you.  I talk to you in the still of night.  And, I write you these letters every week knowing you hear my heart.

Sending you love and butterfly kisses, Peanut.  To the moon and back!

- Momma

Lighting up the room - and Elmo - with your laugh.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Faces of SUDC

Peanut -

I was planning to write you a letter tonight about so many different topics...but then I saw a message in my e-mail Inbox.  It was from the SUDC parent's support group, announcing a new video titled, "Faces of SUDC."  My brain instantly remembered sending in a picture of you for this tribute video.  Hey!  Peanut is in this!  Pay attention, Momma!

Sure enough, in the fourth minute of this five minute video - minute 4:11 to be exact - there you are.  Connor from Missouri.  My Peanut.  Surrounded by five minutes of other vibrant, smiling, beautiful children.  Children who died without a known cause.  Without reason.  No known means of warning or prevention.  SUDC.

I watch this video and see names who have become so familiar to me.  I've gotten to know many of their parents - through their postings to the support group site, e-mail conversations, or phones calls and lunch dates with those close to home.  A community of parents who have survived a loss quite like no other.  A community of parents who have joined forces to support each other, share fears, celebrate accomplishments, and who are trying to raise awareness.

Peanut, I share this video tonight in tribute to you, the other children of SUDC and this amazing group of parents, volunteers and advocates.

Readers, if you are looking for a cause to support or share, please consider forwarding this link.  As of today, there is no government funding of research for SUDC.  This must change.  How can the world afford to lose another Peanut?

Watching this video has brought a bittersweet smile to my face.  I am so glad it exists to raise awareness.  But, I hate that we are a part of it.  Actually, I hate the reason we are a part of it.  I wish I could instead watch that smiling face grow to be a boy, a teenager, a young man, a husband and a father.  I wish...

Peanut, I miss you.  I love you.  So, so, so much.  To the moon and back.

- Momma

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Finding My Smile

Peanut -

Several times this week friends and co-workers have commented on my smile.  My long lost smile.  A smile that went into hibernation after your death.  A smile I believe had actually gone into early, permanent retirement.  You see, Peanut, Momma's giant Cheshire grin has been a bit of a trademark - along with an uncontrollably loud laugh - for most of her life.  And, it was a trait you inherited in full force.  Your electric smile and musical laugh...well...I might miss them most of all.

Your little brother has brought a lightness back to my heart that has poked and prodded at my smile, waking it up from this long winter's rest.  I felt it sneaking up on me during the last months of our pregnancy.  And, the day The Bean was born, it popped out from behind the clouds and shouted "HELLO!"

Oh, Peanut.  I felt so, so guilty.  But then, in trying NOT to smile I felt an even heavier guilt.  How can I rob your little brother of this expression of love and joy?  In denying my smile, do I think I'm somehow honoring you?  Ugh.  No.

I let the smile in, with a bit of fear. felt good.  Like an old friend.  A fuzzy, worn-in blanket.  And, indulging it brought back memories of you stuffing your mouth full of carrots, green beans and corn, then throwing your head with your bellowing laugh.  Even as the food sprayed out of your mouth, I couldn't help but crack up with you.  Peanut, your ability to find immense delight in the littlest moments amplified my heart, my laugh, my smile every day I was blessed to spend with you.

So, I honor you in finding my smile.

In return, you have sent me a beautiful gift.  Your little brother's smile.  A smile he discovered several weeks ago, and offers freely, constantly, with reckless abandon.  Just. Like. You.

Peanut, with each day that passes, the reality of your absence sets in with heartbreaking finality.  But, each day also brings memories of you awakened by any and every little moment with The Bean.  So, in a sense, I also feel close to you again.  Closer, yet further away, every day.  Does that make any sense at all?

Tonight, I send you a smile and a booming Momma-laugh tinged with a tear.  I love you, Peanut.  To the moon - and back.

- Momma

Cracking up - with a mouth full of food!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Book of Baby's First Five Years.

Peanut -

You've been on my mind all day.  And, not just on my mind.  At the front.  On the sides.  Smack dab in the middle.  It started when I turned on The Backyardigans this morning for The Bean.  He was instantly transfixed by the bright colors and constant motion.  I was struck by the songs...the episode.  It was a repeat from over two years ago.  One I watched with you over and over and over again.  How can it be?  How can this silly cartoon survive longer than my little boy?

Then I started ticking off all the unlikely items that outlived you.  The tiny, thriving plant grandma and grandpa sent to the hospital the day you were born, in its Humpty Dumpty music box planter.  The ginormous box of multi-colored Goldfish crackers we bought for you when you hit 12-months.  The batteries in your Meow Cat keyboard.  Me.

Here's how I'm different from most other Mommas.  My greatest accomplishment every day is waking up to find your brother alive and breathing.  I now assume I can and will lose your Dadda, brother, puppy dog, kitty cat (hi kitteh kah!...) in their sleep.  Every day we survive is the greatest gift I can imagine.  It's almost impossible to buy 12, 18 and 24 month clothes for The Bean since that action is just so...optimistic.    I am a here and now, live in the moment and be thankful for it, Momma.

I look back at how much of your future I had planned.  Even your baby book.  It wasn't the normal "Baby's First Year" book.  Not even the first 3 years.  It was a FIVE year book.  I wasn't as diligent as I could or should have been with updates.  But, I did keep it fairly current.  And now it will never be completed. I will never fill in data about your first dentist appointment.  Or your second, third, fourth birthdays.  So many firsts you never reached.  Frozen forever at 16.5 months of age.

Now I have a book for The Bean.  I forced myself to be somewhat optimistic, so I purchased a 3 year book.  And, truth be told, I have thoroughly enjoyed filling it with pictures, details, keepsakes.  Because, even if I don't get a lifetime with him I will love him with every piece of my heart for every day I do get to spend with him.  That is your gift, Peanut.  Peanut Effect in full force!

Peanut, my heart is sad tonight.  Sad with longing for you.  Sad for every moment I don't get to spend with you.  Just sad.  But, I also am blessed with love and joy.  Your little brother is my new ray of sunshine.  He smiles, coos and laughs the moment I give him a grin.  He loves music, just like you.  And, he is a talker.  Just like you.  He brings me closer to you with every gesture, every giggle, every grip of my finger.  My boys...

Sending you Momma love and air kisses.  To the moooooon and back!

- Momma

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Paying It Forward

Peanut -

In the midst of fretting and complaining about going back to work this week, Momma had a wake up call.  A reminder.  The world doesn't just revolve around one person, one family, one event.  Given the vast impact of your Peanut Effect you would think I'd have that concept down pat, right?

In the final days of my maternity leave with The Bean, I hit a very selfish low.  After all we've been through, the relentless pace of life despite our grief, I felt I deserved a break.  A time to resolve some of my sorrow, a time to embrace and bond with my new little boy, a time to re-energize.  A time to reassess life.  And, I think I did have the chance to scratch the surface over the 8.5 weeks of leave I got to take...but it wasn't nearly enough.  Will any amount of time EVER be enough?  Doubtful.

During my maternity leave, on the awful anniversary of your passing, another tragedy occurred in St. Louis.  One that directly impacted a co-worker of mine.  Her husband was murdered in a senseless shooting, leaving her and her two young children alone.  Confused.  Angry.  Heartbroken.  A widow at the age of 35.

I sat in my office this week, greeted by a smiling picture of you and instantly knew...this wife, this mom, this widow...she needs a friend.  She needs to know she isn't alone.  She needs to know she can and will survive this.  And, I can help her with that.  As it turns out, she was waiting for me to come back from leave, so we could talk.  After spending over an hour with this brave, yet broken, woman I can say this:  She is a survivor.  And I will hold her hand as she walks through the fire.

This sense of paying it forward, of sharing experiences to help another mourning woman, is yet another ripple in your vast, expanding Peanut Effect.  While nothing about your loss will ever make sense to me, these unanticipated impacts provide a measure of comfort...a sense of...well...sense.

Peanut, I feel you in the hugs I give, in the words of comfort, in the tears I share.  I love you, my sweet son.  To the moon and back.

- Momma

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I Am Up To...Nothing Good.

Peanut -

I was given the gift of rediscovering a memory of you today.  Is that possible?  Can you lose a memory?  Or, maybe it's just that it was buried.  Put away for safekeeping until Momma's brain could follow a treasure map that would lead her to the chest of gold.

A co-worker was telling me about her 2-year old daughter's mischievous deeds specifically relating to their home office and highlighters.  Yeah.  Highlighters.  Think - walls, floors, any touchable surface.  Fortunately, this mom caught her daughter in the act before any damage was done which, of course, elicited all sorts of funny, delightful denials and reactions from her little girl.

And, without warning...POP!  A memory.  Of you.  Holy cannoli....where did THAT come from?!

Peanut, you were just old enough to know when you were doing something we wouldn't love.  Something just a little naughty.  Something just bad enough to be absolutely hilarious.  Mostly, this involved dismantling stuff in your room.  So, you would either sneak into your room quietly, or you would truck in there and slam the door.  The sneaking was when I got worried.  You would creep in there, and then peak your head around the door every few seconds.  "Is she looking?"  <sneak back into the room then back to the door>  "Is she looking?" <duck away, giggling>

At this point, I would come around to check on you.  Of course, you were up to...Nothing Good.

I'll never forget finding every item from the floor of your closet tossed across the room.  Why?  To create a Super Secret Peanut Clubhouse inside the closet.  Just for you.  You had no use for all that STUFF.  You needed the space!

I love, love, love that memory.  What a gift.  I'm laughing as I write this, so thankful that I have found this moment.  I wonder?  Is it just that I'm old and my memory is failing?  Is it the grief?  Is this normal?  Will I find more new memories?  I hope so.  I believe so.

Maybe this time around I'll leave the closet floor open for your little brother.  Can you show him what to do with all that space?  Maybe you two can have a Secret Club!

Thanks for the memory, my sweet, kissable little man.  I love you soooooooooooo much, Peanut.  To the moon - and back!

- Momma

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Turn, Turn, Turn...

Peanut -

Spring is in full bloom across the midwest.  Our average temperature has been running in the 80 degree range.  The daffodils have sprung out of the ground, with their sunny yellow smiles.  The bradford pear trees along the road look almost snow covered thanks to their plentiful white blossoms.  Momma slept with the windows open last night, and woke up to the sound of birds singing and frogs chirping.  The landscape is shaking off the winter, exhaling with a giant yawn (and some window rattling storms), and welcoming new life, new hope.

This change of seasons last year was particularly traumatic for Momma.  Seeing a new season arrive, without you, was one of the first doses of reality that life and the world is going to move on.  I wanted the world to remain frozen in time - like you.  Like your bedroom.  Like your closet.  I remember transitioning to shorts and t-shirts, only to realize your closet was full of 12-18 month winter clothes.  Your navy puffer coat.  Your little jeans and corduroys.  Your flannel shirts and thermal henleys.  Items that sat waiting for you.  "Where is our little boy?" they seemed to ask.  I remember watching them gather dust and wondering what was worse - letting them collect dust or packing up your closet?

Now, here we are a year later.  And, while these memories still make me cry every day, I also have so much new joy in the form of your little brother and how his presence, his life, as brought me closer to you.  The Bean and The Peanut.  He turned 2 months-old yesterday.  Every morning I breathe a sigh of relief when I see he is still alive, healthy, breathing.  Every day he discovers something new in his world - a color, a movement, a sound.  His smile turns my heart to butter, and his laugh melts it.  Often, I see him looking at pictures of you with a big smile on his face, and he'll burst into spontaneous laughter.  It is in those moments I know you're with him, telling him all sorts of funny stories, sharing inside jokes, and acting as his guardian angel.

Oh, how I wish you were here - physically here.  The Bean looks so much like you, I can only imagine what it would be like to see your two little faces smiling at me from the backseat of the car.  Or in pictures while you truly experienced spring in all is majesty.

The stark contrast in my emotions, the state of my heart, from last year to this year has triggered a song I've had playing in my head in an endless loop all weekend.  Its words are taken, almost verbatim, from the Bible, Ecclesiastes 3:1 and turned into a timeless tune by The Byrds.

Turn, Turn, Turn (The Byrds)

To everything, turn, turn, turn
There is a season, turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time of love, a time of hate
A time of peace, I swear it’s not too late

Peanut, the time of Intense Sorrow has morphed into Life As We Know It.  The sadness will always be present, but now it is tempered by hope.  Joy.  Healing.

I miss you intensely.  I love you immensely.  How much?  To the mooooooon and back!
- Momma

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

History Repeating Itself

Peanut -

Momma went back to work today.  First day back after maternity leave.  It was so hard to say "good-bye" to your brother this morning as I dashed out the door, but I am so fortunate to be leaving him in the arms and care of Dadda.  What a relief.  What a comfort.  Especially during these early months, with all the flu and other sickness flying around.

I was 100% unprepared for the dizzying sense of deja vu that hit me like a brick wall during the drive in to the office.  My brain jettisoned me back to January 2010, when I returned to work after being home for almost 11 weeks with you.  That day I took you to daycare, armed with bottles, your feeding schedule, extra outfits - the works.  After I left the room, I sat in the parking lot, sobbing.

As the memory of that morning came back to me with razor sharpness, I simply broke down.  Tears rode shotgun with me the rest of the drive in.  Tears over the memory of that morning.  All the hope and love and thoughts of an endless future, filled with possibilities.  Tears over the loss of you, and the echoing hole in my heart.  Tears over having to leave The Bean for an entire day.  To not have the ability to simply look over and see him, scoop him up in my arms, give him a nuzzle and watch him smile back at me.

The work day itself was brutally busy, thanks mostly to a bout of the flu that Momma is trying to stave off.  By the time I exited the building I felt truly lousy, exhausted, achy.  In short, pretty darn vulnerable.  And then I started the drive home.  Driving home from downtown, carseat in my backseat, the promise of my son waiting for me at was just too much.  The past and future blurred together, until my brain reminded my heart, "Peanut's gone." <sob>

This day.  This flood of memories.  The vivid reliving of wonderful moments with you, gone forever.  Wow.  Today - the whole day - was an unanticipated trigger of overwhelming grief.  An unanticipated speed bump as I try to put on my mask of normalcy.

Now, armed with Motrin and a large glass of water, I'm preparing to give in to the exhaustion of sickness and sorrow.  And, do it all again tomorrow.  Hopefully with more smiles, less heartache.  More joy over the life you blessed us with, not the loss we now mourn and survive.

I love you, 'Nut.  And miss you so, so, so very much.  To the mooooooooon and back.

- Momma

Peanut, having a "big kid" snack at school.  He is on the far left, with green shirt sleeves.

Monday, March 12, 2012

2.5 Years Old Today

Peanut -

Today is March 12, 2012...30 months since you were born.  Below is what today means to Momma.

You should be:
Turning 2 1/2 years old today.  
Brushing your own teeth.  
Using pronouns when you speak.  
Putting on a t-shirt by yourself.  
Naming colors.  
Recognizing your ABCs.  
Washing your own hands and drying them too.  
Sleeping in a "big boy" bed.
Walking up and down stairs.
Asking Momma and Dadda "Why?" about everything.

More than anything, you should be:

Momma goes back to work for two days this week, and I am just heartsick.  Leaving The Bean for the day is simply beyond reason, but it is a reality.  And next week I go back to work full time.  <long, sad sigh>

I am mourning you.  I am mourning the end of maternity leave.  I am sad x 2.

But, I am also reminding myself how lucky I am.  I have Dadda, The Bean, a wonderful family.  And, I have you in my soul.  I have more love in my heart today than some people have in an entire lifetime.  So, despite the melancholy, I must be thankful.  Oh, it is so hard to be positive, but the alternative is unthinkable.  I will not be the bitter, sorrow-filled, bereaved Momma.  I will honor you and make you proud.

Peanut, I see you passing your joie de vivre on to The Bean.  It dances in his eyes.  In his almost constant smile.  In his surprising, musical laugh.  That joy, that sparkle, helps me see the light, the brightness,the positive.

I love you, my little boy who grows day by day in heaven.  My little boy who continues to make this world, and this Momma, better.  To the moon - and back!

- Momma

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Funeral Pants

Peanut -

Your Dadda might be the bravest man I know.  Yep.  He is.

Tonight he had a special event to attend.  He was pulling together his outfit - shirt, tie, dress pants, jacket - and sat down on the bench in our bedroom with a heavy sigh.

"Oh wow...what's that?" I asked.

He looked up at me, and sighed again, "I'm wearing The Pants.  The Funeral Pants."  <sigh>

I looked over at them, laid out on our bed.  They are beautiful, lightweight wool.  A deep black with nice lines.  In a normal world they would be well-worn by now.

But, these are Funeral Pants.

Much like the dress I bought for your service, Dadda put his entire outfit into the back of his closet after it was returned from the dry-cleaner.  He looked wonderful the day of your service, in these perfect pants.  These innocent pants, purchased after you died.  These pants that had no part in your death.  They did nothing wrong.  But, somehow they have acquired this curse.  This mystique.

Tonight, Dadda broke the spell.  And, I think it might have been one of the hardest things he's ever done. And, trust me, your Dadda has been through a lot of tough stuff.

The last few days have been rough, Peanut.  We've been hanging family photos around the house, with the vast majority being of you.  But...your photos end in January 2011.  And now, we have your little brother who is creating his own wall of memories.  Someday, he will surpass you.  How do I explain that to him?  How to explain that to my heart?

I miss your smile.  Your hugs.  Your, "Momma..."  Those deep, clear, blue eyes.  And, the mess of blonde curls.  The way you made my heart sing with just a glance.  And how you could make me forget my entire work day in less than 5 seconds.

I miss the promise of your future.  The hopes and dreams.  The funny voices your Dadda and I projected onto you.  The foods I thought you might grow to love.  The books I knew you would pour over.

Will I be brave enough to someday wear my Funeral Dress?  And the sparkly sweater I wore with it?  The sweater I purchased for the holidays, but wound up wearing for the worst event of my life?  Or, will they go into the special Peanut Trunk?

I don't know.

What I do know is each day is still its own journey through grief.  It is so individual.  So mercurial.  There is no guessing or predicting what is waiting around the corner.  No guarantee that tomorrow, next month or next year will be easier.  And, do I want it to be easier?  No.

Dadda looked snappy tonight.  The Funeral Pants might now just become Special Event Pants.  And, I would applaud Dadda for that.

Peanut, I did "Itsy Bitsy Spider" today with The Bean just for you.  And, later, I will read "Guess How Much I Love You."  To you.   I love you, sweetie.  To the moooooooooon and back.

- Momma

Thursday, March 8, 2012

No One Will Notice That Torn Seam, Right?

Peanut -

In my old life, the life before we lost you, buying a new shirt, sweater, or pair of jeans was no big deal.  I was actually a little obsessive about keeping items pressed, pristine.  Shoes and handbags were replaced as soon as they looked worn, and clothes weren't allowed to look faded, threadbare or unkempt.

Since your death, I've had a very hard time buying anything new.  Granted, our pregnancy with The Bean forced Momma to invest in maternity clothes...since I gave all my old ones away.  But, maternity clothes have never felt permanent since they are truly items of necessity, meant to get someone through a few months.

But, the thought of buying new "normal" clothes has been unpalatable.  How dare a new pair of jeans try to come in and replace any of my old clothes...the clothes I wore with you?  The clothes that knew my Peanut, played in the yard with you, took pictures of you smiling, romped on the floor while you danced to The Backyardigans?  Never.

That is, until two weeks ago.  I was running errands in my favorite pair of yoga pants.  Pants I wore pretty much every weekend while we lounged around the house with you, reading board books, cooking your favorite little turkey meatballs.  In the CVS parking lot, in the full light of day, I noticed...oh dear...what is that?  A rip in the seam?  Huh.  These used to be black, right?  Why do they look sort  Ugh.

So, each day this week Momma has taken a hard look at her closet.  Gosh, what has happened in here?  Oh, I know.  Grief.

Tonight Momma took a brave step forward.  I decided it was time to purge a few items, replace them.  So, my shelves got a minor clean out, and I made a quick online purchase.  Granted, nothing has actually been thrown away.  These items will be placed in a bag for a few weeks...then I'll check in with them.  Maybe then it will be time to bid them farewell.  We'll see.  Baby steps.

Peanut, I promise I will keep the owl pajama pants that made you laugh on Saturday mornings.  And the bright, spring green sweater that matched your Ireland jacket, and made your blue eyes glow.  But, maybe it's time to let go of the threadbare, torn, greenish black yoga pants.  OK?  I promise to always hold you, our memories, our joy and laughter, in my heart and soul.  But, maybe wearing a new pair of yoga pants.

Loving you more every day, and sending you all my love to the moon - and back - along with a giant Momma kiss.  MMWAHHHH!

- Momma
Peanut's green "Ireland" jacket.  And his amazing blue eyes.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Make the Fire Big...So I Can Find You

Peanut -

This afternoon The Bean and I had the opportunity to relax on the couch and watch a movie from start to finish.  He was mostly asleep on my chest in his little tree frog position, while I was lounging in my yoga pants.  The cherry on top of this peaceful ice cream sundae?  Out of Africa is currently looping on HBO, so that was our afternoon film feature. It was a moment that was almost perfect except for your looming absence.  However, we had a special Peanut moment towards the end of the movie.  

I'll elaborate.

At the end of Out of Africa, the Baroness Karen von Blixen is preparing to leave Kenya, never to return.  Her faithful servant - and friend -  Farah, while assisting her in getting the house and land in order, is saddened and perplexed by the Baroness' imminent departure. To explain, she uses a familiar analogy to help him understand.

Karen: Farah, do you remember when we were on safari, and during the day you would go ahead and find a camp, and build a fire?

Farah: Yes. And you would see the fire and come to this place.

Karen: Well, it will be like that. Only this time I will go ahead and build a fire.

Farah: And this place you are is very far away?

Karen: Yes.

Farah: (after a pause) Then, you must make this fire very big, Sabu, so that I can find you.

That dialogue brought your Momma to tears and made me hug The Bean a little tighter.  He stirred, gazed up at me, and smiled.  

Peanut, while I have visions, dreams, of us running towards each other and hugging the moment I find you in heaven, I can't help but get hung up on the logistics.  I mean, all those other people, all that space.  Heaven is probably a pretty big place.  

So, just to make sure.  Just to get our family reunited as quickly as possible, let's make a plan.  OK?  I'll look for your fire.  And, if it's big enough, I'll bet I can see it all the way from earth.  Actually, I think I already can.  At least, I know I feel it in my heart.

Peanut, I wish I was the one who went ahead to find our camp.  Build our fire.  But, I can't wait to spend eternity there with you.  

With loads of love and tears.  To the moon - and back.

- Momma

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Falling In Love With My Boys

Peanut -

I fell in love with you before you were even conceived.  And, my love for you has grown stronger every single day.  Even in loss, I fall in love with you more and more and more with each day that passes.  It is profound.  It is amazing.  It is Momma Love.

The same has happened with your little brother.  Loving him has saved Momma's heart.  And brain.  And soul.  It's not that he's made me "all better."  He has given me the hope and inspiration I needed to create a new me.  A new future.  To WANT to create something new.

Peanut, I watch The Bean sleep as I write this, hear him sigh, and I think of these same nights with you.  Back then I didn't have any idea how much my love could grow.  I had no clue, no hint, of the loss in front of us.  As I gaze at your brother I love without fear.  I love knowing how much my love will grow.  I love knowing it could all be ripped away in the blink of an eye.

That is your gift.  That is part of the Peanut Effect.  Unflinching, unconditional love.

Physical absence doesn't change the way I love you.  It just means I can't hug you, kiss you, watch you grow older and become the man I imagine you would - you should - be in the future.

Tonight I share a picture of you from your first months, side-by-side with a picture of your brother.  You are kindred spirits, forever linked.

I give him a kiss, smell his sweet breath, touch his soft skin, and know I am touching an angel.  And his brother.

To the moon and back, my Peanut.  That is just the beginning of how much I love you.

- Momma

The Bean


Friday, March 2, 2012

Momma Version 2.0

Peanut -

I feel guilty.  Your little brother is getting a new, better version of me.  Momma 2.0.  And it's all thanks to you.

Back when I was a brand new, first time Momma I was petrified.  I was worried about holding, feeding, loving you the wrong way. Not being focused enough on everything from work to family to friends to the future to blah blah blah.  To not being the best.

This time around I am all about enjoying the experience.  Dadda has noticed the same thing.  But, it's more than just being comfortable with a baby and comfortable in our own skin.  It's about our new priorities.  It's about how we view life.  It's about what's important...and what isn't at this point.

I feel guilty that The Bean is getting so much of my new sense of calm.  My undivided love.  My complete focus.  Unlike my maternity leave with you, I have totally checked out this time around.  Unapologetically.  I only get the chance to do this right once...and it might slip away before I know it.

With you, I started joining meetings and conference calls just 4 weeks into my leave.  I went back to a team offsite meeting several weeks early.  And, once I went back to work, I missed your bedtime at least once a week.

After you died, I was denied the request to take extended time off.  I was told to check in.  To work from home.  That it would be helpful for me to have the routine.

What terrible advice.

Now, I am getting ready to go back to work before I'm ready. I love my job, but I love my family more.  <sigh>  I'm watching The Bean sleep, with his little grunts and sighs.  His arms thrown over his head.  I think about the smiles and laughs he has discovered this week.  Oh...what will I miss?

Peanut, I will go back to work with an eye on balance. An eye on being present at home.  And I will hold firm.  I owe that to your brother.  And, I feel guilty.  Because, I didn't do that for you.

I hope you know that every night I worked late, every morning I got up early to get into the office, you were in my heart.  I didn't mean to short change you.

You have made me so aware.  So present.  A better Momma.  Version 2.0.  The version you deserved.

Oh, Peanut.  I miss you so very much.  To the moon - and back.

- Momma