Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Aunt Sandy


Today is July 22, 2009. It's Aunt Sandy's 28th birthday. That is pretty exciting, and I'm sad that we aren't in Grundy to celebrate with her. I've celebrated a lot of birthdays with her, and it's kinda crazy if you think about it. Coming up next month, it will be ten years since she and I became best friends. Ten years! You're only 17 months old so that probably seems like a long time to you at the moment.

I thought, in honor of her birthday, I should give you a quick (or not so quick) rundown of how Aunt Sandy and I became friends, and how she became your aunt. Because seriously, how many kids get to have their actual, real-life, blood-relative aunt be their mom's best friend?

I realize this may not make much sense.

I met Aunt Sandy when I started college at American University. It's a wonderful place in Washington, DC. She was one of the first people I ever met from Ohio - and Ohio seemed like a very exotic, far away place for someone like your mommy, who thought that New York stopped at Connecticut and could never figure out why people said it was a big state (I mean seriously, the tappen zee bridge and New Jersey weren't even far apart! ).

But I digress. Aunt Sandy was such a nice girl, she was so wholesome, like people from Ohio should be. She lived down the hall from me and I really wanted to be her roommate but it took us awhile to work that out (dorms can be a complicated universe, as you'll find as a future American University Eagle yourself I'm sure). We went on many adventures together and continue to do so.

She is the reason that daddy and I are, well daddy and I. She is also my best friend. You're a lucky little guy to have her in your life, and I hope that you always know that.
I hope for this, for you, buddy. I hope that someday you have a friends with whom you can laugh, friends with whom you can cry, and friends with whom you can spill diet coke/mcflurries/burritos from caltort all over yourself and laugh about it afterwards. I hope that you have a friend like Aunt Sandy, who year after year, you laugh about birthdays of the past and wonder what kind of shennanigans you'll get into in birthdays of the future.

But take my word for it - Absolut Citron, straight? Skip it.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Speaking of Luke

Dear Andy,

You probably have noticed by now that Daddy and I talk about Luke quite a bit - and we do it in passing, in normal, everyday conversations. We hope that you find this normal and that you grow up knowing that you have a brother in heaven who is so very important to us and our family. I have a sister in heaven so I know that it can be sort of difficult to understand why she isn't here and why Luke isn't here. I still don't really understand that either so I can't really explain it.

The thing is, there are so many families in the world who have experienced someone dying in this way. It isn't really something that a lot of people are comfortable talking about, but what's interesting is that the people who have gone through it, they actually want to talk about it - they want people to know about their entire family, not just the ones here on this earth. I was reading another blog recently written by a dad whose daughter died. He was answering some questions about her and I thought they were really good questions. So I'm going to take a stab at them here, because these are important things to talk about. If we don't talk about them, they world doesn't become educated and we don't move forward.
1. What do you want people to know about the child that you lost? First, we didn't lose him. We know where he is. I understand that "lost" is a euphemism for "died" but it's ok to say that he died because he did. He was a real person who was alive and now he's not. It doesn't make him any less important. I understand that people aren't necessarily comfortable talking about him, but I am and I'm his mother and Daddy is his father, and you're his brother. I also want people to understand that just because he died more than two years ago doesn't mean I don't miss him and doesn't mean I don't think of him every day, multiple times. When I'm at work and I wonder what you're up to at Reenie's house, I think of Luke and wonder what he's up to in heaven. That's what mommies and daddies do of course.

2. What names did you give your child and why? Before we ever got pregnant with Luke, we picked his name. Luke Michael. It was always going to be his name and so we weren't going to change it. We liked the name Luke, and Michael is after your grandaddy and my grandaddy.

3. What rituals or ways of memorializing your child help you cope? We talk about him a lot, in the normal ways that parents talk about their children. We try very, very hard to support other people who have children in heaven. We do whatever we can to help people to communicate about this. We also do things like memorial walks and stuff like that, but it is the everday act of talking about Luke that helps me cope.

4. What are the most helpful things that anyone said to you? The least helpful? Right after we had Luke, the most helpful thing anyone has said to me is that they are sorry, and that there is nothing else that can be said to help. Nowadays, it's just the mere mentioning of him and acknowledging him as a person that is helpful. The worst things? Well I did have someone once ask me if there was some "shot or something" they could give me to "fix what was wrong with me" so my next baby (you) wouldn't die. Or that I should be thankful for what happened to him (not so much). Or that he is "in a better place." That may be true but in the immediate aftermath, doesn't really help. People mean the best you know, and they want to help. In many instances we don't know the right thing to say. This is just one example of that- we will all say the wrong thing sometime. We're human after all.

5. Who is your hero? Who helps you get through the dark times? Or there are so many. Daddy is my hero...he is so strong and has such strong faith. He is always willing to talk and he values both you and Luke so much. You truly hit the dad jackpot, I'll tell you that, kiddo. Other heroes...cousin Debbie and I could write a book with all the emails that we've sent each other over the years. She too has so much faith. I'd be faithless without all these fabulous faithful people around. Also, grandma and grandaddy and all the other parents of stillborn children. There are so many out there and so many are part of our lives even if we haven't physically met them. The women that I've met online truly rock my world and amaze me. You know who else is my hero? You are. You brought light into my world and do so every day - the mere sight of you makes me heart swell with love, even if I'm looking at you trying to eat pennies (which you're doing right now). Your happy and wise spirit is such a gift, and I can only imagine that your brother Luke wanted you to be here and has and will always keep you safe and happy.

So that's it buddy. I hope this helps you understand a little bit. Now, back to keeping you from eating pennies...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dear Andy:

I've been a bad mommy-blogger lately. It's been kind of stressful at work, but don't think for one second that I haven't been enjoying every new thing you do, and you do something new every day. You've started waving "hi!" to both people and inanimate objects, and you've taken to trying to stand on your head. This concerns me but you are a strong and limber little dude, so I'm guessing you'll be ok. Should I sign you up for gymnastics class like your Aunt Melissa? You also try to turn everything you can find into a hat and announce it to us. But I must say that there is truly nothing on this earth sweeter than hearing you exlaim "Mama! Dada!" when you find something interesting and want to share it with us.

Your favorite thing these days are trucks and trains. You talk trains all the time (or "choo choos" as you call them) and you spend countless hours driving your trucks and cars on the floor, on tables, on windowsills, and on me. Two weeks ago we visited "Totter's Otterville," a place that I feared would be frighteningly reminiscent of Chucky Cheese (which I've never actually been to but fear nonetheless) but it was a very fun place with lots of trains for you to play with. You insisted on riding the train ride three times, and thankfully the gentlemen tasked with driving said minature train didn't seem to mind our venturing out on his little journey over and over and over.

Well buddy, I wish I had something more interesting to write about. More soon, I promise!