Your final Christmas with us - which was only your second Christmas - was filled with "big boy" gifts and monogrammed, personalized items. Gifts that expected and spoke to a fun-filled future. Gifts that were given with images of lazy weekend afternoons, and giggly post-work evenings. Gifts that still evoke images of Peanut at ages 3, 4, 5...years you will never experience.
The wooden step stool with your name carved in bright, wood-block puzzle letters. The step stool you would have used to reach the bathroom sink to brush all those teeth of yours!
The keyboard with the giant keys and little horns that connects to our television and still begs for a little boy to stand in front of the TV, banging out tunes that trigger various games. Every time I hit the horn noise by accident, I see your face light up and hear your hilarious cackle. When you would hit that button, you would quickly turn around to make sure Momma and Dadda were dancing to the music.
The soft bowling pin and ball set that never got set-up or used...it still sits, packed away in its carrying case. Waiting for you to haul it to grandma and grandpa's house so they could play with you all afternoon, tournament after tournament.
The toddler Lego set that you and I played with during your last two weekends on earth. Momma still has your final "creation" saved because it was made by YOU. Your hands. Your brain. Your creativity. It reminds me how much fun you had with that set, and makes me wonder...what wonderful towers and Lego cities would Peanut have created by now? I imagine a trip to LegoLand would have been in our future...
The soft, butter colored Wells Fargo pony Momma bought at the office, meant to be the first in an annual collection...it now has a mate. The brilliant white pony issued for 2011 with her red saddle. This will forever be a collection shared by you and Pickle.
The oversized Pottery Barn futon chair with its navy blue, monogrammed slip-cover proudly announcing your name with a little football stitched below...dreams of you playing pee wee football, into high school and maybe even beyond.
The hooded bath towels with your name embroidered across the back of one, and your large initials - CPM - blazing across the other. I still picture what you should look like, as an almost 3 year old, running around the house with your blue shark towel - teeth and all - propped on your head, arms outstretched like and airplane, chasing the dog and cat. Bright blonde curls peaking out from under the towel. I imagine you would be suntanned after a summer spent learning to swim, and swinging on The Perfect Swinging Tree.
Do I call upon these images, these remembered and created stories to torture myself? No. Not one bit. They bring me smiles. They remind me that we lived to the fullest with you, each and every day. Every day was packed with joy and laughter. And love. So much love.
The time has now come to purchase some toddler towels for your little brother. I think I'll pick out his very own hooded towel, with his special initials. Or, maybe his nickname - Pickle. And someday he will run around the house, towel flying behind him, the dog on his heels. And, in that moment I will get a piece of you back.
I love you, my little Nutbrown Hare. Missing you terribly. To the moon - and back!