big things come in little packages.

Hi Diddy,

The past few days have been filled with activity. I’m still on my nation-wide search for peace. Which makes the “filled with activity” somewhat counterintuitive. That’s pretty typical for your Momma, I guess.

Speaking of activity, I’ve been running a lot. Mostly because I haven’t had a gym I can readily go to for months. So I do ninja type things using my body’s resistance and I run. As for the running thing: it turns out I like to chase people. Not in a creepy, killer way. Rather in an “I can catch you” way. Your Momma has somewhat of a competitive side, what can I say? It’s been doing wonders for my pacing. I have a few different routes, depending on my mood and on my legs. There are hills everywhere, and some days I swear someone replaced my legs with Clay Matthews’ legs. Anyway, on my short, non-hill route, I turn around when I hit 12th street. I’ve been trying to hit 12th street, at 12 minutes for two weeks. I finally did it this morning! I also clocked out the distance….exactly a mile and a half. If you do the math, that translates into an 8:00 minute mile. Pow. Your Momma may be old, but she’s slowly getting back into fighting form. I don’t think I could keep up an 8:00 minute mile pace for 4 miles or 5 miles. Unless of course I was chasing people, or just trying to impress you.

While I run, I am always on the lookout for signs of you. It seems like I receive the best ones, when I am not trying so hard to find you. Yet the other day, I stumbled upon one. Literally. On the side of a dilapidated, vacant building, there was a painting. It was a simple compilation of wild flowers and colorful butterflies. Within the collage, in blue paint, were the words, Baby A. It took my breath away. My entire pregnancy you were Baby A – short for Baby Andrews. We didn’t want to find out if you were a boy or a girl until your grand reveal. For the record, I knew you were a boy. In fact, I was so confident that I secretly bought a few boy clothes before I was sentenced to bed rest. (You never got to wear those outfits. It breaks my heart whenever I look at those in particular.) You will always be my sweet Baby A.

The Baby A sign pales in comparison to the run where I found the most amazing thing. (That’s for Ms. Britta. She can’t stand the word amazing. In fact, her crazy daisy self sent me a text at some absurd hour to tell me ‘amazing’ has now surpassed ‘moist’ and ‘luscious’ on her most hated word list. You can agree that’s a pretty serious claim.) I digress, I was half-running across a street when I spotted an object lying in the middle of the street out of the corner of my eye. Sophie! I pivoted, lunged forward, and scooped her into my hand within half a second. I turned in what seemed like 112 circles. No one was in sight. Not a soul. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. So, I did both. I clutched Sophie in my sweaty, shaky hand, and carried her with me for the rest of my run. The entire time, my mind raced. “The little-little who dropped her must be so entirely sad.” “I have to find the little-little.” “Paxton would be so happy if I can get her back to her rightful owner.” I went back to the scene of ‘Rescue Sophie-Two’ at the end of my run, half expecting to find a frantic mom scavenging the streets for her. I envisioned the relief on her face when I handed Sophie-Two to her, and planted a kiss on her little-little’s forehead. But, no one was there. With a heaviness in my heart, I took Sophie-Two home. She has been hanging out with Giraffey and Little-Tiny-Bear ever since. Until you whisper exactly the right thing to do with her, Sophie-Two will stay with us. We will take extra special care of her.

In even more exciting news, I connected with a long lost friend a few days ago. I haven’t seen her in 16 years; but that hasn’t stopped her from being one of your ‘Super Fans’. Little Cary has demonstrated stead-fast support for you, in ways both big and small, since last May. Truth be told, my dear, kind, generous friend just happens to have one of the biggest hearts on the planet. After learning she lives in the area, I decided to go out on a limb and send her an email. Unbeknownst to me, LC had just gotten home from work and was going through her mail and email. That afternoon, she received a letter from the museum asking for her annual pledge. LC threw the letter in the garbage. As, she had already decided in lieu donating to the museum, this year she would be donating to the zoo – specifically to the care taking of the giraffes; in honor of you! Moments after her “donation rotation” decision, she opened her email and found the message from me. She is confident this chain of events was not serendipitous. I have to agree. Without pause, LC and I had solidified plans to reunite the next morning. Upon sight, she wrapped me in her arms, and hugged me good and long. Just like that, it was as if no time had passed since we were last together.

A day of non-stop chatter, evolved into dinner, and rolled right up to night-time. LC has something big in the works to help us honor you, Paxton. That woman may be “little”, but she packs a punch. I know she will do whatever she can to lead the “Charge” in helping Momma put childhood cancer on the map. There are one (or two) other very little things she’s trying to help Momma secure as well. All in good time, Diddy. Your Momma has certainly learned how to exercise patience in the last two years. Nonetheless, I am so inspired by LC’s fierce passion for you – that even if nothing materializes, my heart can smile knowing you have another Super Mom who is intensely committed to helping you live on, and to seeing that childhood cancer is put firmly on its ass.

This afternoon, I am heading out to spend the weekend with LC’s family. Somehow, their hearts are even more beautiful than their beloved, adorable son. I am looking forward to being surrounded by familiar faces, warm love, and good souls. I will be sure to keep you posted on the things we get ourselves into. LC already has one plan for Momma. She is able to get me into one of the most beautiful and serene Hindu Temples. She thought it may provide an opportunity to feel closer to you…perhaps, find a sliver of peace to put inside my heart. Peace. It is precisely what I am in search of after all.

I carry you with me everywhere I roam.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I miss you. I love you. I hope you are happy.

xoox,

Momma

Advertisements

songs. signs. and a very silent storm.

Paxton Bowe,

Yesterday, I spent the better part of the morning driving through the city, soaking in the beauty of newfound surroundings, getting lost and then getting found. Normally, the times I was lost would have frustrated me and (inadvertently) lead me to swear at idiots who cut in front of me, and whip-off even bigger idiots who insisted on driving slow in the left lane. (Right after conquering cancer, I’m coming after slow-left-lane drivers.) However, you and your Busha keep me both comforted and amused. Calmed into in a blissful haze, I continued to explore. In the confines of four hours, on several different radio stations, I heard: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, “What a Wonderful World”, “Brown Eyed Girl”, and “Yellow”. Each time another song came on I called your Lala. With each call, she broke into her trademark, barely audible giggle. Through a tear-crackled voice she’d proudly proclaim, “He’s such a good boy, DD.” Yes. Yes, you are Diddy.

Knowing Lala was in the loop, you made sure to include her in the fun. Just when I thought you were done for the day, Lala called to tell me “Brown Eyed Girl” just came on the radio in her car all the way over in Milwaukee!

However, the most profound “musical moment” happened as I was finishing up my evening run. A song titled, “Storm”, by Lifehouse came onto my iPhone. I don’t know how it popped into my queue; I am certain I’ve never heard it before. In fact, I really don’t recall ever adding any songs by Lifehouse onto my iTunes. As the lyrics played, the world around me came to a standstill: my body paralyzed: my insides numb. The only thing that seemed to have any movement were the chills that rose to the surface of my skin, and the tears that streamed down my face.

You sent me a perfect compilation of songs, baby love.  Now that I know music is  one way you tell me you are with me, the melodies filled my broken heart with remnants of you. Like most things which involve having to parent you from so far away, receiving the songs made Momma equal parts happy and sad. Happy you are sending me signs, even more happy you are with me. Sad because you shouldn’t have to ‘send me signs’ to let me know you’re near. You should amble over to me, outstretch your little arms, and hop right up into my lap. Nonetheless, I enjoyed our day filled with secret messages. I think I smiled more during that four hour excursion than I have in the last four days combined. However, the song by Lifehouse has rested heavy inside of my heart. How it got on my iPod and came into rotation – on all days – seemed too serendipitous to be merely a coincidence. I believe it was to provide me with a vehicle to reciprocate your beautiful efforts, and send you a song.

If art were ever to imitate life, mine is reflected most perfectly by this song. Much like having you, and subsequently losing you – this song is one of the most painfully beautiful things I’ve ever heard.

This is your lullaby tonight. May the lyrics fill your heart with reassurance that there is nothing I would rather do than be exactly where you are. Nothing I rather have than you wrapped in my arms. Nothing I would rather hear than your squeaky voice. Nothing I would rather see than your adorable face. Close those baby blues and fade into a peaceful slumber – Momma is right here.

I miss you. I love you. Sleep tight.

Stay with me, Sweet Boy.

xoox

Momma

Father’s Day sucks. Walgreen’s sucks more. Cancer sucks most of all.

Diddy,

How is it possible that two whole weeks have elapsed since I last wrote you? I guess so many things have been unfolding in my life, that the days continued to pass by without me really knowing which end was up. Despite the buzz of activity, the ache of your absence has not dulled – not even a little bit. You are the first person I think of before my eyes open each morning, and the last person I think of before I fade into a semi-slumber each night. I think of you at least one hundred times in between sunrise and sunset as well.

The end of the school year has arrived; in turn, summer has officially commenced. It makes my throat tighten when I spend too much time thinking about how we should be spending summer. Can you imagine how super-duper excited we’d have been to be together every moment of every day? No work for Momma. No day care for Diddy. The Dynamic Duo would have spent our days ruling the world. Even though you are not here physically, you are with me wherever I go.  I have always heard that having children makes you see the world in a whole new way.  Nothing could be more true. My entire universe was altered when you came into my life, and made me a Momma. I view the world in a far different way than I knew possible. I have slowed down to better absorb my environment; I pay attention to the wonder around me; I notice little things, and ignore big things.  Most of the time, I think about how you would interpret what I see, hear, and smell. I picture you smiling at passer-bys, waving at puppies, pointing at airplanes. I see you running through grassy fields, and tiptoeing through warm sand. I imagine your raw excitement and genuine curiosity in new surroundings. I revel at the notion of your innocence in everything you touch and everything you do. Wherever I go, I carry you with me Paxton.

Yesterday was Father’s Day. Like most ‘holidays’, or notable days, in my head I remove the word “Happy”. It was not a “Happy Father’s Day”. Let’s be real and call it what it is: “Father’s Day sucks ass when your only child is gone.” Maybe I should embark on creating a new line of greeting cards for bereaved parents? Every time I see a card for the “Happy” holidays, I want to tear them in half and stick a piece of chewed gum inside. Our little family should have been together celebrating the absolute honor and sheer joy of Daddyhood.  Alas, we were not.

I spent a big part of the non-happy day replaying and rehashing Father’s Day last year. We were discharged that morning. As with all “discharge days”, equal parts excitement and anxiety filled my bones.  You were wearing your Ado(red), red, onesie from the Gap, and you were extra smiley. It was as if you knew that it would be your first and last Father’s Day with your Daddy, and you made sure to turn on all your charm.  In hindsight, it makes perfect sense: that is quintessential you – the ‘Peace Bringer’.  Father’s Day marked the last time we would leave the hospital with you in our arms. Father’s Day also began the stretch of time that Walgreen’s pharmacy began to further torture you. Because they are the biggest asshole fuckwads of all time, they filled a prescription which they had no business, and no knowledge, in filling. They did so merely to do what they do best: make money through preying on consumers who are in dire need of their of over-priced, inaccurate, ill-preppared prescriptions. (Don’t believe me? Do some research.) Going into detail will only further incite me, and make my stomach turn inside out and come up my throat. Just know this, I still haven’t stepped a pinkie toe into one of their establishments.  Despite their Monopoly build-a-store-on-every-major-street-corner-in-America business approach, I swear to you, I never will again. I still do my fake spit…twice….every God damn time I see a Walgreen’s – which is a lot because as I said, they’re on every blasted corner in America. I get the most satisfaction, however, when I run down Oklahoma and do an actual spit onto the driveway of the very Walgreen’s that royally screwed up your prescription. In fact, I start to save up all my spit once I pass under 794…as soon as I hit the property line of that wretched place, I hock the biggest, gooey, wad of runner’s spit right onto their punk ass driveway. I hate them.

I digress, last year on Father’s Day, Erin and Dan helped you and I set up a surprise for your Daddy. They stashed a cooler full of Bloody Mary mix, vodka, hella fixings, a 12-pack of beer, and snacks to boot. In hindsight, my behavior was glaringly unacceptable. We were enjoying a Bloody Mary – and cancer was raging throughout your tiny body. When I think of how oblivious I was, I want to throw my head against a wall until I’m unconscious. I will never forgive myself, Sweet Boy. Never in one million years. I can’t imagine the pain you endured every single hour of every single day. I cannot fathom the agony that filled your little bones and tiny limbs. You couldn’t say, “Momma, my head is pounding. My tummy is sick.” or, “Don’t hold me that way, it makes my arm hurt. This way makes makes me dizzy.” All you could do was whimper and cry…and let Momma fumble all around trying to guess what you were so desperately trying to tell me. I’m sorry I guessed wrong sometimes. I’m sorry I made you eat when you were nauseous. I’m sorry I covered your eye with that patch. I’m sorry I put Biotine in your mouth, and made it hurt worse when it didn’t help at all. I’m sorry for all of this Paxton.

I will never stop asking, “How?” “Why?” “When?” “What if?” I just will not. I don’t care what anyone says. I won’t “get over” losing you.  How could I? I am your Momma.  Protecting you was my job. I failed miserably.  Nonetheless, I am intent on hunting down your killer – and taking it to task. The good news is, I recently acquired a partner in crime. I met her through cancer and this blog. She is a bad ass, and she says the F word even more than I do. (Promise.) Two Mommas are more powerful than one; especially us two. Together, she and I are going to change the world of childhood cancer. You wait and see little boy.

Thank you for being my son. Thank you for coming to me. Thank you for letting me know you are, in fact, still with me wherever I go. You are the best little boy in all the world.

I miss you. I love you.

shot through the heart.

Stay with me, Sweet Boy.

xoox,

Momma

the weekends are slow. your momma is fast. let’s move to france.

Little One,

“Tu me manqués”.  In French, that translates to “You are missing from me.”  I love that – as it is far more accurate than to simply say, “I miss you”.  (Although, also true.) Today is June 2nd…as of today, you have been missing from me for eleven months. You will be missing from me, every single day, for the rest of my life.

“Tu me manqués.” The French are brilliant.  The French are sexy. The French are in love with love. The French also love bread. Best of all, the French drink wine…all the time.  My friend, Lisa, in Los Angeles may be onto something in telling me to take my broken heart to France.

This weekend was not an easy one. Most of them aren’t. For the first time in my life, I am NOT a fan of the weekend.  (Don’t ask me how I intend to get through summer….which is, in essence, one never-ending-torturous weekend.)  The weekends go extremely slow. Each day is impossibly long – and the nights, well, those are even longer.  As usual, I spent most of the weekend alone. My company basically consisted of my thoughts.  Well, my thoughts and a Milwaukee County Sheriff who introduced himself after pulling me over on Saturday.  “Hi. Not nice to meet you sir. Yes. I know why you pulled me over. You want to make my day shittier than it is naturally.” I was flying, Paxton. But, it was not entirely my fault. There wasn’t another soul on the road…the sun was out…and JT was on the radio. Further, I was driving Nana’s brand new whip. Given it is far sassier than Momma’s car, I couldn’t even tell I was moving – much less that I was going 80 mph. (Yes, I know…a tad excessive.) In addition to accidentally speeding, there was no ‘proof of insurance’ in Nana’s car. So, the friendly Sheriff gave me a ticket for that too.  Truth be told, the Sheriff actually was quite friendly – but only because he found me to be quite amusing.  Ultimately, he felt badly enough that he “gave me a discount”…and only charged me for 19 mph over, instead of 25 mph, which apparently significantly reduces the price of the ticket.  But I’m still mad at him.  Needless to say, despite the fact that Mr. Sheriff and I got along swimmingly, Momma is still out a million hundred dollars, 4 points, and a squeaky clean driving record. To salt the wound, I was racing around town to get to the store to buy food to make a “dish to pass”…for a party I ended up not being able to attend. Quite an expensive dish to pass right into my garbage. But, I did anyway – because, I could care less.

I wonder if they have speed limits in France? I bet they don’t…at least not for moms who’ve lost their only child – especially when she’s en route to a party, which marks the first real plan she’s had in three weeks.  If the Municipale accidentally pulled me over, for accidentally speeding, I bet un policier would’ve given me a hug, a baguette, and a bottle of wine. He probably would’ve told me to screw the appetizer – and advised me to head directly to the party, as fast as I damn well pleased.

So another day, another weekend, another month without you has come and gone. Life without you is so abundantly sad and wholly empty that words will never suffice to explain it.  I know in the very, very depths of my bones that this was not your destiny. You were not supposed to get sick. You certainly were not supposed to die at the age 20 weeks and 1 day.  You were bound for greatness, Paxton. I am your Momma, so by default – I know things about you that no one else in the world could ever know. It’s not their fault that they don’t know; they are not your Momma. Being your Momma is my job, and my job alone.  Part of that job is to follow my instincts….the same instincts that kept telling me something was very wrong with you.  My intuition also tells me that there is something very wrong with many things which have occurred in my life. I don’t care what anyone tries to riddle me in efforts to help make sense of complete nonsense.  I know I am right when I say…all of these “events” are entirely wrong.

lock bridge. paris.

This is a photo of the Pont de l’Archevêché in Paris – more commonly known as the “Locks of Love” bridge. This breath-taking attraction allures visitors from across the globe. Two people, who love each other, inscribe their names on a padlock, attach the lock to the fence on the bridge, and throw the key in the river. Legend has it, that this act solidifies their love as one which will last forever.  Momma needs to get to this bridge. I will get an extra fabulous padlock.  I will write “Momma & Paxton” on one side, and “Danna & Diddy” on the other.  I will lock up our love. I will throw away the key.  It will last forever…and ever…because France says so.

I miss you. I love you.

Stay with me, Sweet Boy.

xoox,

Momma