Thursday, February 28, 2013

A New Chapter

Peanut -

Next week a brave new chapter begins for Momma.  We have decided...after many remove The Pickle from your old school.  For his health.  For our sanity.  For general logistics and convenience it all makes sense.  But. Still.

You loved that school.  Its teachers became your surrogate mothers.  Two of your teachers spoke at your memorial service.  They are our family.

We love that school.  They cared for you as if you were their own.  They supported us after your loss and continue to be a part of our family.

Walking into that school with The Pickle was hard but also familiar.  We've continued to almost force The Pickle to walk your path for the last year.  Beginning next week his path diverges from yours.  He begins to blaze his own trail.

As I write this letter I realize...that's it.  That is what I find so heavy.  Final.  Yet, somehow relieving, as if a giant weight is being lifting from Momma's shoulders.

It is OK to allow The Pickle to stray from your path.  Your all-to-brief path that will end in the next few months for us with The Pickle.  It is time to stop the comparisons, no matter how much the hair or smile "seem" the same.

It is time to let The Pickle simply be The Pickle.  Not a comparison to you.  Rather, a compliment.

Oh man, the guilt.  The guilt of writing that, admitting it out loud.  Tremendous.

Peanut, please know this doesn't mean I'm letting go of you or what you mean to my heart.  It simply means Momma is recognizing this is yet another time when grief, love and hope need to learn to live side-by-side.

Peanut, I love you so very much.  How much?  To the moon - and back.

- Momma

Connor with his books...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Living On Borrowed Time

Peanut -

The last three weeks have been nerve-wracking as your little brother has battled through a persistent ear infection and spiking fevers, despite being in good spirits.  So much like you in January of 2011.  Momma has been spiraling downward, and just hasn't had the heart or will to write a letter.

I feel like we are living on borrowed time.  Momma is convinced The Pickle will not live past 16.5 months.  Quite frankly, I'm not sure how to handle life past 16.5 months.  You were my first child.  My baby.  I was learning along the way with you.  With The Pickle - so far - it's been familiar. But...what happens when it is no longer familiar?

The persistent ear infections and fevers have also led to a question.  Is there a lesson we haven't learned?  Work and the pressures of life should NOT trump the health and safety of our children.  Is there a point when we need to really, truly examine what we need vs. what we want?  Probably.  No, not just probably.  Yes.

Peanut, I wish I could have given you more of myself.  More time.  More care.  I think back to the mornings when we woke you up simply to get you out the door to daycare.  I think about the accelerated timeline school put you - and now The Pickle - on to move to one nap a day.  It was at that point that you - and now The Pickle - started getting sooooooo sick.

Momma will learn this lesson.  We will protect The Pickle.  And we will know every single day this is another part of your amazing Peanut Effect.

Peanut, Momma has been crying for you every day for the last few weeks.  Please, know it is because I love you so very much.  As you and you brother begin to collide in my brain, so many memories and emotions are re-awakend.

<sigh>  I miss you so much.  Feeling very alone in my grief lately, which is part of why I haven't had the energy to post a letter.  I promise...I'll do better moving forward.

I love you, sweetamazingawesomewonderful Peanut.  How much?  To the moon - and back!

Peanut at almost 14 months...close to where The Pickle is today.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Love Like It's Your Last Day

Peanut -

While Momma still talks to you every day, the letters posted on this blog have become more and more rare.  Why is that?  Well, lately Momma has realized that someday your little brother will probably read these letters and do the math...he will understand how much Momma was grieving while still experiencing the joy of his life.  And I've realized that as much as my Momma-heart has grown to understand that conflict and confusion will forever be a part of this experience, I can never expect The Pickle to comprehend those layers.

Over the last few weeks your little brother has been struggling with lots of little colds, runny noses, coughs, and low-grade fevers....just like you in late 2010 and early 2011.  He has had a hard time with day care trying to force him to one nap a day...just like you.  He has started walking and talking, which has led to an interrupted sleep pattern...just like you.  He has discovered a love of goldfish crackers, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, and meatballs...just like you.

Day-by-day, Momma rediscovers some joy and some heartbreak from two years ago buried in her head and heart for protection.  The grief of two years ago has been vividly reawakened by not just the two year milestone of your death, but your little brother catching up...faster than anticipated.

I am remembering the moments long forgotten from that awful morning when I stood in the shower and saw Dadda standing outside holding you in his arms, outstretched, sobbing.  I was convinced you were playing peek-a boo. Until your utter stillness hit me and I jumped out and held you to my skin.  My warmth would save you, just like skin-to-skin contact with newborns.  I remember screaming, "No, not my little boy...not him..." until the paramedics arrived.  I remember trying to do CPR.  I remember your eyes, already lifeless.  Honestly, I remember too much.

So, while your brother battles these colds and sniffles, Momma finds herself convinced he is not going to survive.  Crazy, right?  Maybe.

But, I know this.  While you were on this earth, and now as an angel, I love you with every fiber of my being.  I know there were times when I let you see my frayed edges.  When I was an impatient Momma.  But the's overwhelming.  I try to let it bleed into everything I say and do.  To make me kinder, more patient.  To remember...everyone has a story.  In short, to love and live like I might never see people/friends/family again.

Peanut, you humble me every day.  I see the shadow of your 3 1/2 year old self playing in my shadows, much like Peter Pan.  I feel your arms around my neck, giving me one of your famous Connor hugs.  In short, you are alive in my heart.

Missing you so very, very, very much.  I love you, to the moon - and back.

- Momma

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Peanut -

Being a parent requires (allows) adults to get re-aquainted with fairy tales, stories, songs, music and toys long since forgotten.  Momma views this as a privilege and delight - in particular when she is surprised by something new or different from what she remembered.  That happened yesterday in the form of "Tangled."

How did I either forget or not know the story of Rapunzel?  Had I known the plot, there is a very good chance Momma would not have cheerily plopped down with The Pickle to watch the entire movie thinking, "Oh yay!  Disney movie Saturday!"  However...I sure am glad we did.  For those as unfamiliar with the storyline of "Tangled" as I was, here is a synopsis from Wikipedia:

A single drop of sunlight falls to Earth and becomes a golden flower filled with magical properties. An old woman named Gothel discovers the flower and hoards its healing ability to restore her youth for hundreds of years. The pregnant queen of a nearby kingdom falls deathly ill, leading the king to seek out the legendary mystical plant. Despite Gothel’s efforts to hide it, the flower is found and ground up into medicine for the queen. It heals her, and as a side effect the newborn princess inherits the plant’s astonishing healing abilities – which manifest through her very, very long golden-blonde hair. Gothel, wanting to reclaim her immortality and youth, breaks into the royal nursery to cut a lock of the princess's hair, only to discover this causes it to lose its magic. She kidnaps the princess instead and names her “Rapunzel”, raising her as her own in an isolated tower. The king and the queen honor their missing daughter by releasing floating lanterns on the night of her birthday each year in the hopes of one finding her so she can follow it back home.
For her eighteenth birthday, Rapunzel asks Gothel for permission to go outside the tower to see the source of the annual floating lights, but Gothel refuses. Meanwhile, Flynn Rider and the Stabbington brothers steal the tiara of the lost princess. During the ensuing chase, Maximus, horse of the Captain of the Guards, is separated from his rider but continues on his own. Flynn outwits his accomplices, takes the tiara, and stumbles upon Rapunzel's tower. He climbs up into the tower, but Rapunzel knocks him unconscious with a frying pan and puts him in a wardrobe. When Gothel returns, Rapunzel tries to show her the captive Flynn to prove she is capable of handling the outside world, but Gothel cuts her off by saying she is never leaving the tower. So Rapunzel instead asks Gothel for a special paint, the ingredients for which require three days' of round-trip travel. Gothel leaves, and Rapunzel rushes to get Flynn from the wardrobe. She ties him up in her hair and then tells him that she will give him the tiara back if he takes her to see the lights. After much arguing, Flynn agrees. While en route, he takes her to the Snuggly Duckling Inn, which is full of Gaul thugs, in hopes of scaring her into giving up her quest. The thugs, however, are charmed by Rapunzel, who encourages them to follow their dreams.
Mother Gothel returns early to the tower: Rapunzel is gone but Gothel finds the tiara. She then teams up with the Stabbington brothers so she can get Rapunzel back and the brothers can get revenge on Flynn. Meanwhile, the guards invade the tavern and chase Rapunzel and Flynn to a dam which collapses. Flynn and Rapunzel become trapped in a flooding cave. Believing he is about to die, Flynn admits his true name: Eugene Fitzherbert. Rapunzel admits her hair glows when she sings, then realizes they can use the light from her hair to find a way out. Rapunzel later uses her hair to heal Flynn's injured hand. Flynn tells Rapunzel that he was an orphan who dreamed of being like the storybook hero that inspired his alias, but Rapunzel tells him she likes Eugene better than Flynn. When Flynn goes to gather firewood, Gothel meets Rapunzel insisting that Flynn does not care for her and gives Rapunzel the tiara, suggesting that she test Flynn by giving it to him. The next morning, Maximus confronts Flynn but Rapunzel befriends the horse and convinces him to help them instead. Arriving at the kingdom, Flynn takes Rapunzel round the city and later in the day takes her to see the lanterns. There, Rapunzel gives Flynn back the tiara. Flynn spies his old accomplices and leaves Rapunzel to give them the tiara, realizing that he cares more for Rapunzel. However, the brothers knock him out, tie him up on a boat, and sail him across the lake. They claim Flynn betrayed Rapunzel as they attempt to kidnap her for her hair's power, but Gothel rescues her and takes her back to the tower. Later, reflecting on what she had seen during her adventure in the kingdom, Rapunzel realizes she is the lost princess and attempts to flee the tower.
Meanwhile, Flynn is arrested and sentenced to death, but he is rescued by Maximus and the Gaul thugs from the inn. Flynn races and climbs up back to the tower to find Rapunzel bound and gagged. Gothel then stabs him from behind and prepares to take a struggling Rapunzel to a new hiding place. Rapunzel tells Gothel that she will stop resisting if she can heal Flynn. Gothel agrees, but before Rapunzel can heal him, Flynn cuts her hair which subsequently turns brown and loses its power causing Gothel to age rapidly, fall out of the tower, and turn into dust. With his last breath, Flynn declares his love for Rapunzel who cries, and the healing power of her tear revives him. Returning to the kingdom, Rapunzel is reunited with the King and Queen. Flynn then closes the film, telling the audience that he readopted his original name, and he and Rapunzel eventually get engaged and married.

Momma has highlighted three sections of the synopsis for a reason...those floating lights turned me into a puddle of tears.  Speechless.  Stunned.  Amazed.  As the king and queen lit their lantern in remembrance of their stolen daughter, thus causing their entire kingdom to glow as thousands upon thousands of lanterns illuminate the streets, it struck me...I understand their pain.  In that moment a simple Disney movie based on a Grimm Brother's tale morphed into a life-altering moment for Momma.

We will do this.

While there is no hope of you returning to us on earth, the concept of lighting the path home for you touches my heart.  Sending lanterns towards the heavens, touching the sky...I believe they will find their way to you.

So today I send you a kiss, a Momma hug, and thoughts of beautiful, glowing lanterns showing you the path to home, to Momma, to my heart.  Missing you desperately, sweet 'Nut.  To the moon - and back

- Momma

Scenes from the movie.