Friday, July 3, 2015

It has taken me forever to write this last post. Yes, the last one. I’ve debated back and forth on whether or not to keep this going, but my final decision came when I noticed just how long it’s been between posts. I think that’s a good thing. Less often do I need to vent because I just can’t hold it together any longer. Do we still have our days? Of course. I don’t think that will every go away. There will always be something that puts some thought into my head that just makes me fall apart. A while ago I had a horrible thought on the way to work. When the funeral home received Sawyer’s body, the director asked me what happened to his leg. I guess the doctors never sewed it up after his fasciotomy, before transfer. So that made me think (which is never good), do they care? Once he’s off life support and behind closed doors, is it just a body and not a beautiful little boy to them? Just something to move about and transfer here or there, not a Bam Bam who laughed, loved, destroyed, could devour an entire watermelon or a whole bag of powdered donuts in one sitting? Not a little boy who held his mommy’s hand in such a particular way every night, who fought going to sleep or wearing clothes or putting his carseat buckles on? So that thought haunted me all day long, leaving me on eggshells, but of course, one of my coworkers could tell something was wrong and after I shared this nightmare with her, she assured me that’s not how it is, especially with little ones. And so now I refuse to think any more about it. I am going to trust her advice and put that thought away. I wish I could put so many others away.

It has officially been one year. I thought I would be okay on the one year anniversary because I just kept thinking that 365 days is no different than 364 or even 2 for that matter. One day without my Sawyer is eternity. However, I was more fragile than I expected. I didn’t want to talk or think about it. I almost started crying in front of my students when I looked at his beautiful picture on my desk, which has only happened once before. I’m usually pretty strong and relatively emotionless in public…other than being hilarious of course. I have good friends though. They came in and just made sure I was okay at several points during the day, trying to be completely inconspicuous about the whole thing, but they’re too good of people for me to think it was coincidental.

So June 9th was here and another summer was about to begin. I had planned to leave school as soon as possible, pick up Logan from after-school club, get Matt and Everett from home, head down to take an orange balloon (which still makes me tear up every time I go to checkout with one little balloon) and some orange flowers to Sawyer, and then go home, finish his quilt and spend the rest of the night wrapped up in it. But instead of picking up Logan before I went home, I decided to get my other boys first, so Logan would have a little extra time to play with his buddies Evan and Aidan before summer vacation. As I walk in the front door, Matt is just hanging up the phone. Logan’s school called. He fell off the monkey bars and hurt his wrist. And by “hurt his wrist,” I mean that he is now spending his entire summer in a cast. Just 5 minutes difference. If I had just picked him up before heading home. If I had wondered “where’s Sawyer” just 5 minutes earlier or just taken out the stupid ladder. June 9th is officially the worst day of the year.

I did get his quilt done that night though. Before sewing it up completely, I sewed a personal letter from Mommy to Sawyer inside. So it’s our little secret, all the things I wish I could have said to him, all the wishes I have for him and for this family. It’s so easy to believe something when you don’t have to analyze or think critically about it. I have always believed in Heaven, but after this, I don’t know how to anymore. I’ve been forced to think about the details far too seriously. Will he be two forever? So I will never get to hear him talk or see how beautiful of a man he would have become? Will I be old and he won’t even recognize me? Will he expect to be able to play with Logan, even though he’ll be old when he makes his way up there? Some people have said we’re not in our body form, we’re just souls up there. Well that makes even less sense to me. And what about children who have passed away as infants or were born with mental deficiencies? Are they the same way in Heaven? I hope and hope and wish and wish (and maybe even pray someday) that I am wrong and that I will see him again someday. I don’t know how or what it would be like, but I do hope that Heaven is real.

Logan talks about Heaven and God all the time. I always reinforce their reality to him in hopes that he will grow up believing, though I don’t know why that’s so important to me at this point. Logan asked me one day how to make a web. After some teeth pulling, I finally discovered that he wanted to make a blog on the web. So he has actually started a blog. I am amazed at what a talented writer he is. His imagination never ceases to amaze me, but the wordage and phrases he was using are impressive for a 6 year old. He currently has two blogs going – very slow going since he has to search quite a while for the letters – “All About Sawyer” and “All About Me.” Here they are:

“All About Sawyer”

“On the tenth day of summer my brother sawyer past away. We wished that sawyer would live. On that day he had his last breath. Sawyer past away 11 months ago we love Sawyer so much. I love sawyer so much sawyer is very speshul to me. Sawyer Died wen he was 2 years old. Sawyer was born on The tenth day of July. I was 3 years old on that day. On That day we were at Palm Springs.”

Some of the details aren’t quite right, and of course his spelling and grammar are that of a 6 year old (thought he did ask me to help him spell several words), but I am so impressed with his heart – always.

“All About Me”

“3 weeks ago i got chores. My chores are Make bed, floss teeth, feed pets, pick up dog poop, pick up toys in and out, vacuum, and mop. My favorite talent is Swimming. Because you Exercise. My mom love my Heart so does dad they love My heart so much. My best Friend is Shane. When we were In daycare. I saw him and he saw Me we thought we should Best friends. My brother Everett is fussy and fun And drinks a lot. I am the Big brother.”

Pretty amazing right? I love this kid. He can always make me smile – scream as well – but always smile.

He is pure joy, frustration, and pride. I am so proud of everything he has been able to do and overcome. Even having said that, I still don’t believe that things happen for a reason. There is just no good reason that my little guy was taken. None. However…IF there is someone out there watching, giving us signs, Everett is that sign. I couldn’t have asked for a happier baby. He practically came out smiling, and if you don’t believe me, look at my Facebook pictures. He is literally happy in every one…okay, minus the video Logan took of him crying in Slo-Mo. But I really think we wouldn’t have come as far as we have without this little man. He looks into your eyes like he’s speaking to you. It is such an amazing bond that I would have never thought I could have felt again. So thank you to whoever gave us this perfect, chunky, beautiful baby boy. He is a blessing.

So even though I hate to admit it, we are doing a little better. I feel guilty even saying it, but I know it’s inevitable. I don’t think it’s time that heals, however. Again, 1 day is as painful as 365. It’s the people that surround you that heal your broken heart. It’s the curly-haired boy that acts tough in the day, but hates to sleep in his own bed without being able to snuggle with you at night. It’s the parents and siblings that come over and help out around the house or babysit just to take some stress off your plate. It’s the friends that give you a wordless hug, a small text message, or a little note to let you know they’re thinking about you. It’s the neighbors who bring you flowers even though you’ve never met. The coworkers that surprise you with a forever tree or cater your hospital stay. It's the 322,397 pageviews by both people you love and complete strangers that have somehow come to love reading your jumbled thoughts. Heck, it’s even the dog that went through pregnancy simultaneously with you, just to later remind you that she can still hop your fence and escape. It’s the husband that ignores your OCD “keep my house clean” attitude while the kitchen table is covered in your sewing projects. It’s the little angel that we hadn’t planned for, that came at exactly the right time in our lives to bring us joy and hope that we can still succeed as parents – to remind us that no matter what we think, we’re not complete failures, we’re just human. And Sawyer baby, it’s you. You have made us stronger in every way possible. We would not be the same without everything you have done and I hope continue to do. Thank you for always being my special Bam Bam. Even though my writing has come to an end, I will continue to talk to you all the time. I love you to the moon and back, to infinity and beyond, forever and always. We are here, missing you. Loving you. Wishing you were here. Forever and always my love. xoxo

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Today, June 6th, along with my mom's birthday, was the first day of summer last year. I really thought it was going to be the best summer ever. We had a great vacation planned and had already been swimming and lounging in the sun for a few weeks. Just two days later on June 8th I was sitting on the gazebo, watching the boys splash, swim, and try to outdo each other on their cannonballs and free falls off the stairs. I had taken about five different videos of them that afternoon too. I still remember sitting there thinking how perfect things were. We were officially moved into our new house, school had just ended, vacation was planned, the boys were getting along, the sun was shining, skin was tan. It was perfection. Of course that was all before June 9th.

I can't believe it's been almost a year. While the details are so fresh, like it just happened, it also seems like an eternity ago. I haven't seen that gorgeous face, kissed those filthy cheeks, pet that messy hair, or ran my thumb along the bottom of his feet, between his sausage toes in what seems like forever. June 9th is the day that world ended and a new one began. Even though all dates point to the 17th, my baby left on the 9th. That was the last morning I got to talk to him, hear his voice, give him kisses, or even see his bright blue eyes. My absolute last memory is of him helping Pops and me fix the electrical outlets on the deck. Pops dropped a screw and even though I tried to pick it up, Sawyer demanded that he be the one to pick it up and hand it back to Pops, "No, me." Those were the last words I heard from him. I remember wanting to pick him up and show him closer what Pops was doing, but for some reason I didnt...and that's it. I don't know if he walked away through the house and out to the other side of the yard where the pool was, or if he walked off the deck and around the backyard to the pool. I wish I had just picked him up. All I know is that whichever way he decided to go, it was directly to the pool. The pool I left the stupid ladder in. Stupid.

He just wanted to swim. And now our lives are scarred by something that we all loved so much. Before we even had children, Matt and I would spend days out in Palm Springs, hours just sitting in the pools. Logan was in Palm Springs in the pool right after birth almost. Sawyer was no different, and now Everett is the same. Just watching Everett in the bath is a testament to his natural love for water. It's something we can't take away from the boys, but something we'll never feel the same about. Now that the weather is warm again, Logan keeps asking if we can get a pool - a pool without a ladder so Everett can't get in. He's aware that it will never happen though. So he moved onto asking for a lazy river. Of course it would be shallow enough that if Everett could crawl into it, he'd be strong enough to sit up in it. Also never happening (though I love how this kid thinks). I'm trying to get him excited about a cool splashpad, so I showed him some pictures of some pretty amazing ones. So as soon as I turn him onto this idea and actually do some research, I find that it's the same price as building a pool. It always upsets me when trying to do the right things (eat healthy, save energy, conserving water) are so much more expensive than the general wasteful efforts. So we'll see if this home ever has any form of water play in the backyard again. Not anytime soon, we'll just keep taking the trips out to Palm Springs when Logan wants to swim. He is a great swimmer, but I still signed him up for lessons this summer. It can't hurt to get any better. The city doesn't offer any water classes until six months, so Everett will have his first lessons next summer.

Sawyer baby, I will see you in a couple days. This year the 9th is the last day of school for students. I plan to finish working, visit you, and then sit home and put the final stitches on your quilt. I think it will be a good time to sit and think about all the wonderful memories I have of you, put in that final stitch, and then wrap myself up in your old shirts. I love you baby doll. To the moon and back, forever and always. Loving you, missing you, wishing you were here. xoxo

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Hi baby. I sure missed you on Mother's Day. We've been separated for 11 months now and I just can't believe that. Last year we were going to go camping up at Lake Siskiyou, but the accident happened just before we were to leave. We were so excited to take you on that vacation. You were finally at the age where you really loved, and showed your love, for being outdoors and having fun. We've decided that we're going to make good on those vacation plans though. This summer, at the one year mark of your leaving, we will be on that vacation. Instead of being home and focusing on the fact that you've been gone for a year, we're going to try to find some joy. I am going to take a lock of your hair and place it in Lake Siskiyou. You loved the water and I know you would have loved the lake. So we will take you there, what little we have left of you, and let you swim. My baby, how you loved to swim.

I sat with your baby brother, Everett, in your favorite kiddie pool in Palm Springs the other day. It is hard to go to the pool, something that took you from us, but it's something we can't take away from Logan. He is a water baby, just like you. Besides, every time we're there, we share the many memories we have of the silly things you would do there. Every time we changed you into dry clothes, you would run right back to the pool and jump in. We always made sure to have several extra clothes, just in case. You would always throw rocks in the fountain and then run away, leaving Mommy or Daddy to fish them out. You loved finding the hidden toys in the filter drain. So spunky. We are going to take your brothers to swimming lessons every summer from now on. Logan is swimming really well now, but it couldn't hurt to get even better. Everett already loves the water as much as you do. His favorite is bath time. He loves the warm water and how his feet make splashing sounds when he kicks. Because of this early love for water, lessons are a must for him. And we'll definitely not wait until the middle of summer as we had planned with you. I always wonder if the lessons you never got to take would have made a difference. I wonder lots of things. Too many things. But you already know this from our little one-on-one talks. I didn't get to talk to you too much on Mother's Day. It's too hard for Logan to see Mommy cry, and Daddy doesn't like to linger too long at your grave. Daddy is doing okay, but still cries often when we think and talk about you. You were such a blessing to us baby.

I finally saw your sandbox at school. It's big and beautiful. You would love it. Your plaque says, "Sawyer's Sandbox - May all who play here receive the same joy and love that was left behind." It's beautiful. I wish you could play in it and try to eat all the sand like you used to. It's not as hard as I thought it would be to walk into your school to drop off Everett. I still look at your cubby each time, remembering the last time I picked up your projects from it. Do you remember what it was? You had painted and glittered a rock. It sits on your window sill in your room now. I love and cherish it. It's so colorful, just like you. We're definitely lucky to have those teachers of yours. I'm so comfortable leaving your baby brother with them. I can't wait until he's old enough to play in your sandbox, and even understand that it is dedicated to his very own big brother. So special. I saw Hannah's parents the other day. Do you remember Hannah? How you would protect her? She was so special to you. Her little brother looks so much like you. He has your bright white straight hair. I walked in and he caught my breath the other day. He was wearing a graphic hoodie that reminded me so much of you in your Spiderman one. I loved you in that sweatshirt. I loved you in everything...even your birthday suit.

I'm sorry I haven't written for so long baby. Everett has been keeping us busy and bringing some joy back into our lives. We still think of you everyday and miss you to the moon and back, but your baby brother is doing his best to put some smiles on our faces. He really is a happy baby. Daddy wants to have another one, a girl, so that Everett doesn't grow up without a little playmate. Mommy isn't so sure yet. I was so scared to have a baby again, but Everett is being so good (even sleeping pretty good already) that I may consider it in the future. We'll see though. I don't think I'll be able to make a decision on that until Everett is your age. It's just too scary. I'm still haunted one single fear - how are we supposed to watch and keep two toddlers safe when we couldn't even do it with one? You. I'm so sorry baby. Mommy and Daddy love you so much. I know you know that. I won't wait so long to write again honey. Keep looking after baby Allyson. I can tell her parents miss her so much. Her little grave is always so decorated with beautiful things. I'm glad she has you to play with. I love you baby. To the moon and back. Forever and always. Loving you, missing you, wishing you were here. xoxoxo

Mother's Day 2015
Your beautiful sandbox

My baby boys <3

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

When we found out we were pregnant I wanted nothing more than the little man to come out two years old, hungry for life, with a personality all his own. I wanted him to be able to run and play, keep Logan company, hug, kiss, and say, "I love you Mommy." I wasn't looking forward to a newborn baby again. We had gotten rid of the crib, diapers, and all things baby for a reason. We were full and happy with our little family. I enjoyed getting a full night's sleep and the freedom of children who could walk, use the bathroom, and feed themselves...I would say dress themselves as well, but we all know Sawyer put more effort into the undressing of himself (along with the scattering of his stripped clothes all over the house and yard). I wanted my toddler back. I knew he wouldn't be Sawyer in any way, shape, or form (nobody can mimic that kid), but I wanted something similar to the life we already had, not a baby.

And then March 15th came and this perfect little body was put in my arms. And when I say perfect, I really mean perfect. Not only is everything where it belongs, but he is healthy, happy, and already so inquisitive. He loves rocking on the deck in my arms and just looking around. His eyes are always wandering. He loves the wind too. He lifts his head and chin and closes his eyes to feel it better. I love that. His brown hair is falling out now to make way for the blonde. It's falling out front to back, which is pretty unusual and makes for an interesting look (kind of like his dad before I made him just shave his head). He loves his perfect little feet kissed and played with, which I do often as I'm slightly obsessed with them. And hungry. This kid can eat. Not that that's a surprise to anyone who has known my boys from birth. He is filling out his little wrinkly knees and elbows while plumping up his perfectly round head. He is content to sit for small amounts of time and just take in the world around him. He really is a happy baby (especially when he's eating). I've captured so many of his little baby smiles already. I think Logan may be the most in love though. I caught him singing our lullaby to him, which brought tears to my eyes.

I was finally able to sing the Hush, Little Baby lullaby song again the night we brought Everett home. I used to sing it all the time to the boys when I tucked them in or when they were just curled up on my lap. The last time I sang it was to Sawyer on the morning of June 17th. They moved him from a crib to a bed in the hospital so that I could lie next to him. I curled up as close as I could, ran my fingers through his hair with one hand, held on tight to his other hand, hoping for a twitch or some sign that he could hear me, and sang this song to him over and over, crying through the lyrics. After all has been said and done, I think that was the saddest moment of my life. Worse than actually burying my baby. It was the moment that I realized when the song came to an end, I wouldn't get his precious smile and wet kiss that always sealed the song. I still can't think about that moment without having to take deep breaths. We had already gotten the news that he wasn't my Bam Bam anymore, and I knew that when I stood up from that bed, I would never get to lie down and sing to him again. So many never agains, but for some reason, this one memory breaks my heart all over again every single time. Yet when we came home with Everett and lied down in bed, everything inside of me knew that I had to teach this precious baby the song that my mom sang to me as a child. As soon as I began, Logan looked over, crawled over to me, and put his head on my shoulder, staring down at Everett too. He is in love. It brings a joy that I thought I'd never feel again to see Logan love like this, feel the responsibility and honor of being Big Brother. I smile.

We took Everett into the Learning Zoo, the preschool that took such good care of our boys, to meet the teachers that he will spend part of his days with when I have to return to work. Nothing is better than trusting the people you have to leave your babies with each day. The school is doing a fundraiser this month, collecting shoes and clothes in order to help pay for their new playground. As soon as I heard this, I finally knew what to do. I've struggled with what to do with Sawyer's clothes since the day I had to open up those drawers again. I didn't want to just give them away to Salvation Army and I wouldn't be able to dress Everett in them, so what better way than to give back to the school that Sawyer absolutely loved. In this way, Sawyer is giving something to his baby brother, which I know he would love to do, and that makes me happy. Everett will get to play in the sandbox that they have dedicated to Sawyer, and now he'll also get to play on the equipment that he is helping to purchase. It was still hard to give away some of his things, especially those he wore most often, but I was able to do it...mostly. I kept his favorite shoes, sandals, and swim trunks, plus most of his t-shirts are going (slowly but surely) into the quilt I'm making.

It's been a long time since we've felt like this. We are far from healed and still cry often, a lot lately it seems, but a new piece of our hearts has grown in. The hole torn from the loss of Sawyer will never ever be filled, but new love can grow around it, and it has. This was the thought I was having this morning while I was listening to Pandora as I got ready. Two songs played back-to-back, the first of which made me bawl my eyes out, but the second left me with hope, fear also, but mostly hope:

Carried Underwood's Just a Dream:
Baby, why'd you leave me? Why'd you have to go?
I was counting on forever, now I'll never know.
I can't even breathe.
It's like I'm looking from a distance,
Standing in the background.
Everybody's saying, he's not coming home now.
This can't be happening to me.
This is just a dream.

Rascal Flatts' My Wish:
My wish for you is that life becomes all that you want it to.
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small.
You never need to carry more than you can hold.
And while you're out there gettin' where you're gettin' to,
I hope you know somebody loves you,
And wants the same things too.
Yea this is my wish.

Thank you Sawyer. Thank you for giving us so many wonderful and happy moments. You are such a unique little boy that brings so much joy to all those around with your independent and stubborn little attitude that is always followed by your shoulder-shrugging smile. You melt hearts with your baby blues. You are now and will forever be some of my best and favorite memories. Your baby brother will get to know and love you through the many stories we will tell forever on. You have left your mark and you continue to do so. I love you so much. I miss your smiles, hugs, kisses, and deep voiced "I love you's." More than you can ever know. Loving you, missing you, wishing you were here, forever and always, to the moon and back. xoxo

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Hi Baby. I hope you enjoyed our little visit with you today. Your baby brother is tiny, isn't he? So far the only thing you two have in common is your constant need for more milk. I think your appetite still has his beat, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time before he catches up to you. Logan is asking so many questions about you as a baby, trying to remember you that small. We took out your baby book and together we read about your birth and how you peed on everything, including your Peepa. The other day Logan said, "I've gone on three field trips so far. That reminds me of Sawyer." When I asked him why, he said, "Because Sawyer should be three now. Every time I hear the number three I think of Sawyer." Your brother loves you so much. I know you guys fought nonstop, unless you were in the pool together, but he really wishes he would have been there to protect you. We all do Baby.

Now that I'm at home alone with Everett while Logan is at school and Daddy at work, I've discovered that I really need to find a hobby. I thought about you all day today, and of course, that just leads me to rereading the blogs. There's so many memories of you that I've previously written about that I'm already starting to forget. I can't stand that. How can I forget the things you've done and said? I'm so sorry Baby. I also went through the cabinet where we keep all of the remnants from the funeral. In there I found your precious handprints and footprints that the hospital sent to us. The other night, we were at Grandpa's house talking about cats and dogs and how crazy hospital bills can be. The conversation then turned to people's experiences in putting their animals down. They mentioned that the vet sent out paw prints of the animals afterwards. They also mentioned that they were given the choice to watch the final breaths. That's about the time that Daddy and I left the conversation. Of course nobody would expect our minds to turn to you when talking about such things, but there were just too many similarities. So in a cabinet your prints sit because I wouldn't be able to look at them everyday, knowing that they were taken after you final breaths were, which I also wouldn't have been able to handle watching. We were in the room for the "brain death tests," but I couldn't watch. I couldn't watch them take you off of the ventilator and expect to see your little chest rise and fall only to be crushed that it didn't. I couldn't watch them check your lifeless eyes for any responses to the several tests they ran. I could only listen, and even that was almost too much to bear. We had already spent what seemed like eternity riding a roller coaster of hopes and tragic disappointments. Also in the cabinet, I found the DVD that the church sent us of the ceremony. We have never watched it, so in my moments of bawling grief, I decided to take it one step further and put that in. Your baby brother was sleeping through all of this by the way - I won't burden him with pain or sorrow ever. As I watched the DVD I realized that so much happened that I don't remember at all. So many of the speeches, the pastor's words, the faces in the crowd, all seemed new and unfamiliar to me. I thought I was holding it together so well that day, but apparently I wasn't even there. My breath caught every time the camera panned over your casket. I could just glimpse your gorgeous hair that I miss so much, your beautiful blue shirt that would have made your eyes stand out so much, tucked over you Scooby Doo shirt, and your hands. Oh your hands, your pudgy little carrot fingers that I miss holding and rubbing at night. And I'm so disappointed - the DVD freezes during the slideshow so I can't see anything that happened after that. I really wanted to watch Logan as he put your favorite truck in the casket with you. I wanted to see how he was reacting to everything. I feel like I was focused so much on him throughout that morning. I continue to be amazed with your brother. He is so strong - the only other thing you two had in common.

I've been thinking about you a lot lately, mostly at night as I sit up and watch your brother eat. You pop into my mind and I sit and cry as your brother drinks his way back to sleep. I had a dream last night too. Logan, Everett, and I were in the bath together (I'm not reading into that part at all), when all of a sudden I tripped over Logan and fell, dropping you under the water. I grabbed you and brought you up immediately, but you were still crying so hard. And then I woke up. I wasn't able to go back to sleep after that. I don't think I'll ever get past this blame and guilt. Things are so different around here. Your baby brother has brought some much needed happiness back into this home, but the hole in our hearts for you will never be filled. We love you so much Baby. We're still here, loving you, missing you, wanting you back. Forever and always, to the moon and back, we love you.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Here we are, in love again. Everett Sawyer Pennino was born March 15th at 9:04 am. He was 8 lbs, 1 oz and 21" long. Very similar to the boys. We kept waiting to hear some kind of bad news, but he is perfect. Absolutely perfect. He has a great temperament and is healthy as can be. The birth was very fast and very easy, but a little emotional, as we expected. All was fine until he was placed in my arms. So much emotion came flooding in, and before I knew it, I was in tears, along with Matt and both of our moms. It was instant love for this perfect little man, mixed with excitement that he was finally here, relief that he was healthy, fear for the responsibility of keeping him safe, and remorse that only Logan gets to meet and hold him. I told myself so many times that when the time came I would just be in the moment and enjoy the birth and coming of baby Everett. I wouldn't focus on what has happened or let the fear of bringing another baby into the world overcome me. Easier said than done. It's so hard to look at this little man and not focus on how fragile he is. I can't take my eyes off of him. I will be raising a very spoiled, high maintenance boy - I cannot seem to put him down either. Just when I do, I immediately miss him in my arms. He has already brought so much happiness into our home. Logan absolutely loves him and wants to sit and hold him often. Each time he does he asks questions about Sawyer and how he was as a baby. I tell Logan that Everett is much more like him than Sawyer. Logan was very quiet and calm as a baby (which is no reflection of him now), while Sawyer came out kicking and screaming and never stopped.

The other day Matt and I were inside watching a movie, holding Everett, while Logan played in the back with the sprinklers. All of a sudden I heard his voice yell, but couldn't tell if he was yelling for us or just yelling. I immediately jumped off the couch without saying anything and went to the back door. Then I heard Logan yell "Mommy!" in a scared voice. I ran out back and screamed for him. He was right there on the patio. He was leaning over in one of the patio chairs and it tipped over and landed on him. He wasn't injured at all and could have easily lifted the chair off of himself (he is a bit dramatic at times), but nevertheless, he was lying there on the patio, tears on his face, calling for me. As soon as I realized he was alright and we got him inside and cuddled on my lap, I noticed that I was shaking, trying to hold back tears. I was scared, my heart pounding. The thought of Logan out there, crying for me, waiting and not knowing if I was going to hear him, just rushed in. All my thoughts and fears of Sawyer's struggle, wanting Mommy and Mommy not answering happened all over again. Every time that I think things are okay, we're doing fine, something happens that reminds me of how we've changed inside. We're subtly different, but have forever changed. I'm always calm in tense or stressful situations, so the fact that I was literally shaking, trying not to cry over this was just so surprising to me. So now I struggle with the idea that it's impossible to have eyes everywhere. How do I make sure that my boys are always safe? My mind is always filled with horrible thoughts. Everett has a gag reflex because he likes to mimic sucking while he sleeps, so I am constantly scared he is going to choke while I'm asleep or while he's facing backwards in the carseat. Logan went to Disneyland yesterday and I kept thinking about the potentially dangerous drive out there, the crowds of people that he could get lost in. It's exhausting, but I can't help it. You really never think horrible things can happen until they do. Then you just seem to expect them to keep happening. I guess if anything good comes of this it's the fact that we're so paranoid now that we think ahead to the potential danger. Either way though, we've been forced to realize how short life can be and it's just scary.

So as Everett sleeps on my chest and Logan sits next to us watching Scooby Doo, I kiss them, tell them both I love them and promise myself that nothing will happen to them. They will grow up, graduate, get married, and have happy, healthy kids themselves. They will be old and gray (or bald with our family genes), and be able to look back on their long lives with happiness. This is my goal.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Logan's first words upon waking this morning:

Logan: "Mommy, what was the last kiss you gave Sawyer?"
Me: "I wish I could remember Honey. I'm sure I gave him kisses that morning, but I know at least he got night night kisses the night before. I think I kissed him when he asked me to take off his floaties after lunch, because I remember being so proud of him for saying 'Off, peez.' His talking was getting pretty good."
Logan: "My last kiss to him was at the funeral."
Me: "Oh, well then yes, mine too. We all kissed him before we left the church. Then we kissed his casket too before we left the gravesite."
Logan: "Can we visit Sawyer today? And drive by the zebras on the way? And bring him something again? Can I give him some of my geodes to decorate his grave?"
Me: "Of course we can Honey. You've never asked to go visit him before. How come he's on your mind this morning? Did you have a dream?"
Logan: "No, I just woke up thinking about him. I wish he was alive. I miss Sawyer."

Me too baby, me too. I can't believe I haven't written in a month. Sometimes I think about stopping writing, but other times I realize that I have to keep writing. Keep getting thoughts and feelings out. I like that Logan thinks about him, misses him, still loves him. He normally doesn't like going to the gravesite with me because he doesn't like seeing me cry, so after he cleans off Sawyer's grave and sits with me for a bit, he runs around and chases the squirrels. This little routine is perfect because I like to talk to Sawyer alone. I almost always say the same things, but I still like having my one-on-one time with him. Last time we were there I noticed another headstone for the first time. One family lost their first baby in the womb when his umbilical cord got tied around his foot, and then they lost their second baby to SIDS three months after she was born. I don't know how so many parents do this. I especially don't know how they are able to physically, mentally, or emotionally do this more than once. Once takes everything from you. Rips the deep and true happiness from you. You can laugh and have a good time again, but there's always that underlying grief. That guilt that you're smiling after such tragedy. And do I expect to mope around for the rest of my life? Of course not, but happiness won't ever really, truly be the same. It's impossible to ever remove this scar from our hearts, to ever just focus on the good times. Matt and I talk about Sawyer often, and both of us agree that we can't remember the great times with him without reliving that one single week with him. One of the memories with him came to me the other day after Matt sneezed. We were all sitting at the table one night, and Matt sneezed. Sawyer said, "Bess you Daddy." We both feel like that was the point in which he began to really talk, and not do so much gibberish. It was simple, but so cute that it's one of the memories we'll always take with us. I hate that we never got the chance to really see him grow, speak, and turn into the little man he would have been.

Everett Sawyer Pennino is just days away from coming. We are so excited, yet still so scared. What if something, anything, bad happens again? It's hard to ever get that thought out of our heads. I asked Logan if he wanted to be in the room when Everett is born (up by my head not able to really see much of course), but he said no. I was surprised by this because he is such a curious kid. So when I asked him why, he said, "There will be too much blood. It's too scary. Besides, Peepa can take me fishing while Everett's being borned." This kid. Always makes me laugh. I started wondering why he thought there'd be so much blood, and then I remembered that he saw Ella and the room after she delivered her first puppy. He didn't ask to come in and see any more after he saw that. There was a ton of blood, so I think that's what he associates birth with now. Logan asks all the time if Everett could go to Heaven. Of course we say no, that nobody else is going to Heaven. Sawyer has all the friends, powdered donuts, bananas and watermelon he could ever need up there. He will wait patiently for the rest of us to be old and wrinkled. So Logan's response is always, "Like Nana? She's really, really old. Like a hundred!" That always makes me smile and laugh. He always knows how to lighten to mood.

So we'll visit Sawyer today, get a good cry out, and continue to count the days until baby Everett comes along. We'll tell Sawyer about all the good homes we've sent the puppies off too, about Ella's scary sickness (she had a really bad uterine infection - though we'll leave the details out for Sawyer), and about Jake's upset tummy with the new dog food we bought. Sawyer will laugh when we tell him about Jakes' stinky farts and loud burps. He always laughed so hard when he farted, and would wave his hand in front of his nose and say, "Oh, stinky." Of course we'd try to teach some etiquette, but it's always hard to do when you're laughing along with him. We'll tell him that it's supposed to snow here again on Monday, though the rain hasn't been that hard and it really hasn't been that cold either, so we'll see. Logan wants to bring him some snow to make a snowman for his grave if it does snow. What a great and sweet idea. We'll tell him all about the flowers blooming in the backyard. He loved smelling flowers, which is what started his dandelion fascination. The trees are in full bloom, just like when we first moved in here. It's been almost a year since we moved into this house, and almost nine months since we've lived here with just the three of us. Sawyer never even got to spend a summer, fall, or winter here. I love this house, but I always think about what life would be like if we had gotten into a different house. I don't believe that things happen for a reason, so I do believe that Sawyer would still be here with us if we lived somewhere else. I just wish we could turn back time. Every day I have this same wish. Logan often says, "I wish we could snap our fingers and whatever we wanted would be here. I would say, I wish Sawyer was alive, and snap, he'd be right here." Again, me too baby, me too. Finally, we'll tell Sawyer how much we miss him, how much we love him, and how sorry we are. I'll rub his hair and his cheek on his little gravesite picture and tell him, "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be. To the moon and back." I always end with those words even though they're so painful because of how true they are. I am still living, and he will always be my baby because he'll never get the chance to grow up. I love that book, but can't ever read that line without crying now.

I love you baby. We will see you soon.