I've been in a sort of funny place this week. Vulnerable. Emotional. I've written a number of posts without hitting publish. I never do that.
We started breaking down Peyton's room this weekend. I know... I know... it's long overdue. These little ones now need their own space, and yet somehow, knowing that just didn't make the task any easier. Neither did the fact that Peyton never actually came home to that room. It was still hers.
I can still feel, see, smell, hear, taste exactly how it was to be in that room in August of 2008. I sat in the chair with my feet up on doctor's orders. Hubs assembled the crib piece by piece and hung shelves. I folded tiny clothes, placing them into lined drawers.
We were ready.
Today marks 1112 days since Peyton died, nearly 1/10th of my life has been spent missing her. 1112 days of looking for answers that don't exist. Of trying to understand who I am now, and figure out where to go from here. I have grown a bit in these last 1112 days. Joy comes more readily now, as does gratitude. But Peyton, my sweet, sweet Peyton. She is no less gone. No less absent from our every day lives. No less a gaping hole in my being.
There is now a couch on its side where Peyton's crib once stood. And a file cabinet. And an office chair. Items stacked in a corner until my writing space can be arranged. The years of grief and dust in which I had written her name on that crib has been wiped clean. The mattress removed, replaced by one with certifications assuring me that there will be nothing toxic coming from it as my child sleeps. That crib, so long identified in my mind as Peyton's, is now the place where Squeaks sleeps (or refuses to sleep, as the case has been this week) in a room down the hall. Her brother, by her side, in a crib all his own.
But in that room, that room once meant to be hers, I can still sense the little girl who never came home. The baby who smelled of sweet mint, and was the first to lay her head across my chest. I can still feel the child who made me a momma.
With time Peyton's room will be redecorated and re-purposed. The writing studio I have talked about for the last few years will come into being and the bumble bee decor will come off the walls, but it doesn't matter. For me that room is still hers. It will always be hers, and I will always wish that she had come home to it.
READERS DIGEST CONTEST UPDATE: I NEED YOUR HELP
As a way to honor her third birthday, I have entered the Reader's Digest "Your Life" Contest with an entry about my experience mothering Peyton. The voting is open until November 15th, and you can vote once a day. It would mean a great deal to me to get Peyton's story in Reader's Digest. Can you please help me out by visiting this link and casting your vote for my entry. I have fallen way behind, currently in fifth place, a full 9000 votes behind first place! There were some issues with voting last week that sort of took me out of the running, but after contacting Reader's Digest about them, they seem to be fixed now. Also, you don't need a Facebook account to vote from what I have been told. Thank you so much! I would really love to honor Peyton this way. To raise awareness about the fact that little babies are born with, and die of, Leukemia. Peyton's story is a rare one, but it still deserves to be told. xoxo