Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My Friend Died Yesterday

My friend died yesterday. Those words have been running through my head all day and yet writing them here seems so final, so definite. When I heard the news it was like in high school when you're confronted with a complex story problem. Sure, you know all words but somehow, presented in just that order, it doesn't make sense. My hand flew to my mouth in a protective measure although I'm not sure how I could have found that protective. As though anything can protect you from the pain of losing someone close to you.

I've known Dan for fourteen years. I knew Dan before I was married, before I had kids. I met Dan when he only had two boys before the birth of his beloved little girl. Dan was the type of man that everyone loved, that everyone wanted to be around. He was a good, GOOD man. I truly don't know if I've met a better man. He was always up for a laugh or a joke, always willing to poke fun at himself and laugh at the irony of a half Japanese man eating ten cent Ramen for lunch.

I can still picture the way the apples of cheeks flushed red and lifted right up to his eyes when he laughed. Or how his eyes crinkled and his smile lit an entire room. As a man so focused and determined, he was never afraid to laugh at himself or take himself too seriously. Dan was the man who would dress up as a pimp or a pirate at Halloween. He was the one wielding the fart machine at the company Christmas gift exchange. Watch out when you sat down in the chair to open your gift. The present wouldn't be your only surprise.

Dan was always up for a chat and, in the first office by the back door, he was the first person I saw every morning and the last person I saw when I walked out in the evening. Dan was a constant in our office and even though his office is now dark, he'll always be with us.

My mind has been consumed over the last 24 hours with the things Dan will miss; walking his daughter down the aisle to shake hands with her nervous groom, watching his beloved boys graduate from college; holding his grandbabies. But, more important than the things he won't do, are the things he did do. The beautiful children he and his wife raised, the lifelong friendships that were nurtured through all of life's changes. The friends and family, near and far who will cherish the place he held in their lives. There's no one who met Dan who wasn't changed by him. His goofy, quirky, silly nature is something that we'll all miss.

Good night, my dear friend. I hope, in your final moments, you felt how loved you are, and how deeply you will be missed. And I hope you're looking down on us and smiling your good-natured smile and laughing your infectious laugh. Soon enough, our pain will fade and I promise you, we'll be laughing right along with you. Love you, Dan-o.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


“Mommy,” you whispered first thing this morning, “am I four years old yet”? I opened my mouth to answer but nothing came out. Instead my eyes filled with tears as I nodded and I found my voice, “Yes, baby, today you’re four years old”.

I’m not really sure how this happens or why but it seems like us moms spend our days wishing you would grow up, achieve the next stage. Rushing you littles through potty training and sleeping in your own beds and no training wheels on your bike. And then, one day, maybe it’s your birthday or maybe it’s just a Tuesday, it hits us. You are never going to be as little as you are in this moment. You are never going to NEED me as much as you do right now. And that’s at once incredibly liberating and mind bendingly terrifying. Because you see, little Piglet, you and your brother are my world, my light and my darkness.

Fin, you are simply a joy and a delight. Even on your worst days (of which you’ve had quite a few over the last year) you manage to charm the pants off most people. I’m not sure if it’s your bright blue eyes or the blond ringlets that still haven’t gone away or if it’s the impish way you bury your face in my neck only to glance, side eyes, with a sheepish little grin. Or maybe it’s your tiny little chipmunk voice which you use to get your way at each and every turn.

You are neither independent nor clingy but haven’t passed up an opportunity to snuggle over the past year. You are affectionate to an extreme often holding on to my legs, looking up into my eyes and saying, “Mommy, I neeeeeeeed you.” If we’re driving and you’re feeling particularly lovey, you’ll ask to hug my hand which you will pull toward your face and delicately kiss. You’re also prone to holding my hand in a parking lot and stopping in the middle of an aisle just to kiss my hand. I’m always torn in those moments. Do I hurry you along so as not to annoy other shoppers or do I revel in these fleeting moments, sure to be gone soon, and let you kiss my hand? I hope I let you kiss me often enough.

At night, when I’m putting you to bed, you grab my face in your hands (your still baby-soft hands) and say “Mommy, you’re my best mommy ever.” And then I die. How could I not? And then I kiss your lips, we rub our noses together and I say “I love you to the” (and you say, ”Moon”) “and around the” (“stars”) “and under the” (“ocean”) “and right (kiss) back (kiss) to (kiss) your (kiss) bed”.

I just love you so much! I love your spirit and I love your compassion. I love that you can play all alone while your brother insists on playing with half a dozen friends at once. I love you sneak into my bed every night, curl yourself up into the tiniest of balls and squeeze yourself into the crescent of my body, our foreheads touching, your wisps tickling my nose. Oh, I know that I should send you packing back to your own bed, but I get that these night time visits aren’t going to last forever. Far too soon, you’ll feel like you’re too much of a big girl to sleep with mommy and daddy.

And so, for today, I’ll let you sleep with me, and I’ll let you kiss my hands in the middle of a parking lot. I’ll let you wrap your no-longer-chubby arms around my neck whenever you damn well feel like it. And there will be people who think I’m spoiling you, but really, you’re spoiling me. And I will soak up these beautiful, short-lived moments with every part of me. Because tonight I’ll close my eyes and tomorrow I’ll wake up and you’ll whisper, “Mommy, am I five today?” Happy birthday, Little P.  Love, Mommy