Saturday, September 12, 2020

 Happy 11th birthday, Peanut.

We miss you so very much, but today is a day of joy and remembrance. There was so much joy that day - and funny circumstances- that happened that day.

Momma was at a pedicure appointment that morning and thought she might have had an upset tummy. An hour later I started keeping a journal of my contractions. When we got to 5 minutes between contractions I called Dadda, who was coaching a football practice and told him to get home. Now. 

Dadda came home and didn't seem too concerned about the timeline until he realized I was 2 minutes between contractions. The drive to the hospital was pretty exciting. By the time we got to the maternity floor they rushed Momma into a room and tried to start an epidural. The first didn't work, so we had a second one. Dadda almost passed out watching the epidurals, so I told him to just look at my face.

After that, Dadda had an "angry cam," because childbirth class had terrified him. We saw a lot of people yelling/screaming on film during that class. He was shocked when all I wanted to do was watch a St. Cardinals baseball game until it was time to push.

Then we had a situation where you, my Peanut, weren't positioned for birth. Momma was so numbed by the epidurals that the nurses needed to lift me onto my hands and knees - and at that moment your aunt walked in!

When it came time to actually push, your Dadda, the gentle giant, bumped into the tray of sterilized equipment and knocked it all over. Our delivery doctor declared, "We have a dad going down" and then ordered him to a couch to order Momma some dinner.

But arrived. And one of the nurses declared you were a perfect little Peanut at 5.1 pounds. And the nickname stuck. 

Thank you for teaching us to love as parents. 

How much do I love you? You know! To the moon - and back.

- Momma

Friday, March 6, 2020

Guess How Much I Love You

Peanut -

Hi there kiddo. I know it's been a long time since my last letter. But, you know I talk to you, cry over you, and have lots of conversations with your little brother about you. We keep you as alive as we can every single day.

It's just over nine years since you passed away. I never say we "lost" you. We know where you's just not here with us on earth. The more time passes the more your Momma tries to imagine the boy you would've grown into - especially as I watch your younger brother grow up.

I was cleaning out books the other day from your brother's shelf and found "Guess How Much I Love You." I let myself read it and cry a little bit, but they were happy tears of remembrance. The joy you and I shared in reading that book every night is so powerful, amazing, and healing for your Momma. I love focusing on that memory.

Sending you so much love, my sweet boy. How much? Come on - you know! To the moon...and back.


Thursday, September 12, 2019

Happy 10th Birthday, Peanut

Peanut -

Today you would be turning 10 years old - double digits. While we choose to focus on the joy this day brought us when you were born, this particular milestone has been breathtakingly hard for Momma.

I try to picture 10-year old you, and what I envision is a tall, lanky young man who still has that extraordinary smile, laugh and love of music. Tennis or swimming would most likely have been your sports. And I know you would be an amazingly kind person given your "old soul."

Last night, as I reflected back on the day you were born, I pulled out a journal from 2009. Sure enough, I had a page where I wrote down the timing of my contractions (picture included below) since I wasn't fully sure - at first -  if I was actually in labor. It turns out we cut it pretty close given how close together they were, and we had a 15-20 minute drive to the hospital. As soon as we made it the maternity ward, the admitting nurse told us two things: "Yep, you're having a baby today!" and "We'll see if you still have time for an epidural." Turns out we had time for not one, but two epidurals since the first only took effect on one side of Momma's body. But you entered this world less than five hours after we arrived at the hospital, when one of the nurses immediately called you "A tiny little peanut." And your nickname was officially born.

Peanut, our hearts, family, friends and the world have been so blessed and lucky that you entered this world. And in your death you have continued to impact people across the globe - your Peanut Effect.

Today we will do a little dance with your younger brother, in your honor. And, of course there will be a birthday cake in celebration of your life. You changed the shape of my heart forever, and for that I am forever grateful, my Peanut. I miss you. I love you. How much? You know! To the moon - and back.

Love -

Friday, January 25, 2019

The Peanut Effect Revisited

Peanut -

Hi, sweetheart. It's been a year since my last post, but I still talk to you every day. Today is significant for Momma since it marks eight years since the last time I took you to daycare, received one of your amazing Peanut hugs, read your favorite book to you (Guess How Much I Love You) and heard you whisper, "Momma..." in my ear.

In the time we had on earth with you, and in the subsequent years, your spirit, love and influence softened Momma's heart. You taught me to be to be kinder. To assume good intent. And to always listen when someone needed a friend. I named it "The Peanut Effect" and it is still active in my life today - and I think it is with others as well. The world needs more of your Peanut Effect today. That is part of Momma's mission - to remind people that one act of kindness creates another, and another and they start to multiply. The Peanut Effect.

Your little brother turned seven years old last week, and I know he desperately wishes you were here to celebrate with him. He has hit milestones you never got to experience on earth but we talk a lot about what you're doing in heaven, and those are magical conversations. Every family picture he draws includes you - and it makes Momma's heart sing. More Peanut Effect.

I know you see everything we are seeing and doing, and I feel your touch, your love. Just know, we/I miss you desperately. Tomorrow is not a day we "celebrate" which is why I wanted to write this letter today - because it is full of good memories. And tonight, I will read you your favorite book. Because I know you will hear me.

Peanut, please know I cry and have moments of sadness, but also joy, because I love you so very much. How much? Guess. OK, OK - you know this one. To the moon - and back.


Friday, January 26, 2018

Anticipation and Seven Years Without You

Peanut -

Hi sweetheart. It is so hard to believe it’s been seven years since we last held you. Seven years since our world was turned upside down. Seven years of committing to live, love, grieve, cry, laugh, hug, and be a mom and person you can be proud to watch from Heaven. And, while I am sure I often fail, I can say that on the flip-side I do often succeed in that effort.

When Monday of this week arrived I felt the black fog of sadness cloak my entire mind and body. Fortunately, Momma has become a master of compartmentalization over these last seven years which allowed me to function at work and home for the majority of the week. But, I have learned many lessons over years and I recognize the importance of self-care and creating a safe space to uncage my grief. Yesterday afternoon I signed off my work computer and spent hours pouring over pictures and videos of you, my dear Peanut. Tears flowed but, miraculously, the black cloud began to lift. The more I allowed my love and sadness to run free, the more I felt the overpowering love of your Peanut Effect.

Peanut, you continue to be the savior of my heart and spirit.

Thank you for changing the shape of my heart by making me your Momma. And, thank you for never abandoning my heart as I navigated the very confusing, complicated road of grieving your death. While I continue to walk that winding path every day for the rest of my time on earth, I know you are by my side, on my shoulder, and watching over me and our entire family.

I see you in your little brother’s smiles. I hear you in his laughter. While his personality is very much his own, there are many echoes of you, which tells me you - his big brother - have been instrumental in his life. While you weren’t physically here, you have been here surrounding him with love.

Peanut, on this day of remembrance I honor you, embrace you...and I might even snuggle with your special froggy for a bit. As the remarkable Stevie Wonder sings, “You are the sunshine of my life...” Momma loves you so, so much. How much? You know, silly! To the moon - and back.

With all the love in my heart,