Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Jungle Frog and Superman

Peanut -

Tomorrow is Halloween.  A delightful holiday made for kids and adults alike to indulge in costumes, candy, jokes, and pretend.  It's a way to poke fun at death, to stare down fears of vampires and ghosts, and to laugh at silly skeletons and fake graveyards.  While the day is rooted in a much deeper and more serious tradition, today it is simply a fun day filled with costume parades and trick-or-treating.

For many parents who have lost children, this holiday is particularly bitter and difficult to face.  All the reminders of not only death, but that their son or daughter isn't here to celebrate with friends and classmates, can be paralyzing.  Many choose to not celebrate or acknowledge - an approach Momma and Dadda exercised on the first Halloween without you, but have chosen not to take going forward thanks to The Pickle.

For Momma, Halloween is a reminder of all the costumes you will never get to wear.  The candy you will never have the chance to indulge in until your tummy hurts.  All the goofy one-liners you will never recite, followed by your booming belly-laugh.

It is also an opportunity to look back at pictures from your first - and only - two Halloweens and remember your adorable smile, handsome little face, glowing blue eyes.  To remember how the booties on your Jungle Frog costume didn't fit properly, and were super slick thanks to a lack of traction grips.  You were just beginning to walk at 13 months old, and kept wiping out on Grandma and Grandpa's floor.  We finally looked over to catch you ripping the footies off out of frustration - clever boy!

Tomorrow we will celebrate with your little brother, who is going to be dressed as Superman.  Pretty appropriate given how his presence has helped form the scar tissue that now binds Momma's heart.  In so many ways, Pickle rescued Momma from a hollow life of sorrow and potential bitterness.  While his foray into new, unknown toddler territory and milestones has been at times sad and often a little scary, these moments also give me insights into the little boy you were growing into on a daily basis.  He keeps you very much alive for Momma.

As we enter this holiday season, Momma is taking a class focused on practicing authenticity, living wholeheartedly, embracing our imperfections, and being vulnerable.  All the hard lessons learned in the wake of your death that, in recent months, Momma seems to lost touch with, or that have at least somewhat faded into the background.  As a part of this class, we were instructed to choose a photograph of ourselves that captures us in a truly authentic moment and to explore what we love and appreciate most about the person in the photo.  Momma "cheated" a bit and selected two photos - one with you and one with Pickle, and in both there is a complete and utter lack of care or concern for anyone or anything outside of that moment.  Our eyes are locked on each other, our faces glowing with joy and total connection.  Tenderness.

Peanut, these are the gifts you opened my eyes and heart to, and continue to give as Momma chooses to grieve and celebrate you through love.

Sending you love, giant hugs and kisses every moment of every day.  Momma loves the moon - and back!

- Momma

(PS - Thanks for the giant orange butterfly this weekend.)

First Halloween - almost 2 months old.

Look at those darn footies!

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