Wednesday, July 24, 2013

5-Year Wedding Anniversary

Peanut -

Tomorrow Momma and Dadda celebrate five years of marriage.  (Never mind that we met and fell in love over 20 years ago when we were just 13 years old.)

It was five years ago that we decided to "tie the knot" all on our own out in Las Vegas.  We decided to create a ceremony that was meaningful to us, an older couple who were getting married out of love, commitment and a desire to start our own family.  

Six months later, Momma discovered she was pregnant. After tossing her cookies while cooking salmon for dinner one night there was a moment, a this morning sickness?  Um, yep.  It was!  Two months later and 12 pounds lighter we moved into the honeymoon phase, assisted by one of the coolest spring/summer seasons in St. Louis history.  Momma's pregnancy with you was blissful and capped off by a speedy, happy, easy and quick labor/delivery experience.

On our first wedding anniversary, Momma and Dadda were treated with a giant, beautiful baby shower   for you.  One of the most meaningful moments?  When Momma's aunt presented a hand-crafted quilt with all the characters from Peter Rabbit.  Amazing, beautiful, hand-drawn and stitched, this quilt hung over your crib and was a source of stories, joy and wonder for you.

Our second wedding anniversary also included you.  Momma and Dadda took you to the downtown City Garden where you charged through the shooting fountains of water like a tiny warrior.  We attempted to do an overnight downtown, but going home simply proved to be easier.

Our third anniversary was heart-breaking.  Still reeling from the loss of you, we were also dealing with the news that Pickle's twin sister had not survived.  There was a feeling of...what more? Why us?  Why are we being challenged and tested like this?  (Chickpea...we still light a candle for you every night.)

Year four was marked with a new sense of joy.  Hope.  Optimism.  We chose not to do much in terms of a celebration, but the sun had started to shine again.

And now here we are....year five.  Momma feels weathered, seasoned.

We entered this marriage with such optimism   A sense that nothing truly bad could happen to us - that those things happen to "other people"   We now know that we are the other people.  Yet, we have survived.  Dadda is the only person who truly understands Momma's grief and joy.  And all the other conflicting emotions.

It is with this lens that Momma welcomes and truly celebrates tomorrow. Peanut, you made us - and still make Momma and Dadda - better people, better partners, better citizens of the world.  Thanks to you we appreciate our precious time together.  

Peanut, we love and miss you.  To the moon - and back!

- Momma

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

18 Months

Peanut -

Tomorrow is one of those milestones Momma can anticipate.  Sort of.  Thank goodness.

Tomorrow your little brother will officially be 18 months old.

Why is this important?  Well...a few reasons.

First, all infant/toddler clothes are sold by months.  You had barely started wearing your 12-18 month clothes when January 26 happened.  We had a closet full of clothes you never got to wear and chose to hang on to for The Pickle.  Some have worked, some haven't due to the seasonal differences in your ages.  But...he is now beyond most of what we purchased for you.  Everything is new.

That leads to the next point.  Momma is so far beyond what she knows, it is startling.  Your brother is communicating, speaking phrases with words, sign language and gestures.  I now know I don't know what's next.  We (Ok, I) are venturing into new territory.

It hurts my heart to realize your little brother has surpassed you in terms of time on earth.  This is a tough milestone to swallow.  That fact that every big event from this day forward will mark a giggle, a word, a version of smile we will never get to experience with you.

It's funny.  As the pressure of The Pickle "surviving" lessens the heartbreak of what we missed with you has intensified for Momma.   Who knew?  One more layer in the process of grieving.

Tomorrow Momma will strive to give The Pickle a celebration.  Tomorrow Momma will cry for what the world has lost with your death.

Peanut, I dream with you often.  Not about you, but with you.  That's important.  I believe you are still very present and are guiding us...and that Pickle sees you.  You are always with us.

I close my eyes, take a deep breath, say..."Hello Peanut."  And here you are.  Right next to me; in my heart, in my arms, giving me a Peanut hug and butterfly kisses.

Missing you, loving you - to the moon and back!

- Momma

One of the last photos we have of Peanut before he passed happy with his book.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Proud To Be "Those People"

Peanut -

Momma and Dadda have officially become "those people."  The people who are out in public with spirited, rambunctious toddlers, who stoically receive icy glares and hear loudly whispered nasty comments from older folks and couples who don't have kids.  We clearly invade their non-child time (but, wait, don't they get that at home?).  We are the people who were once embarrassed to be "those people" but now bask in the love and glory of these sometimes embarrassing moments.

Why?  Because we are lucky enough to get them.

We strive to give your brother exposure to the world just like we did with you.  Museums, restaurants, art fairs - these shouldn't feel off-limits to kids.  These are the places and experiences that form a more well-rounded, culturally competent and competitive kid.

Peanut, you were on track to be a mammoth contributor to this society.  I believe you were - and still are - a game changer when it comes to spreading a message of love and empathy.  Thanks to you, Momma does't allow an unkind look, a snort, or a <hrumph> to get under her skin.  There might be a little Momma-chuckle, but that's about it.

Readers, if you are out and see or hear a family with a child shouting out with joy (or frustration), please don't feel annoyed.  Embrace it.  Shout with them!

Why?  Because you never know. They could be reeling from the death of a child or loved one. Or, could be navigating some other personal hardship.  You just never know.

Just as I need to remember those sorrowful months when Dadda and I felt like many of those couples who desperately want, but cannot have, children might feel.  Hollow and hopeless.  Those times when a child's laugh was simply salt in the wound of our vast canyon of grief.

Peanut, I watched a group of boys your age play today on a water-slide.  In their big-boy surf shorts I could envision you as a happy participant, a ring-leader.  And then I saw a butterfly...the second one to flit by Momma, Dadda and Pickle in a 30-minute time frame.  It's presence prompted a peal of giggles from your little brother.  Well hello, Peanut...we know you are still here with us.

I love you, my awesome Peanut.  I hope you always feel my love.  To the moon - and back!

- Momma

July 4th weekend, 2010