Hi Baby! I love you. I can’t even tell you how much I love you because there aren’t words that exist in this world that are even close to being adequate. Just know that Mommy loves you more than you loved any vroom vroom or even going “wimming,” and think of you far more often than you thought about how wheels on your toys went around and around. You are always on my mind, heart, and soul, and as I’ve told you before, I hope most of my soul already left with you so that you never wonder where Daddy and I went. My love for you is never going to be in the past tense. Saying I “loved” you is not the way I feel about you. You may be gone physically, but I love you and I will ALWAYS love you, Caleb Lennon. You are my everything, my beautiful boy and you always will be.
I still wonder constantly what you are doing and if your days (or whatever they are now) are still consumed with some version of vroom vrooms that keep you curious and able to tune out the rest of your surroundings. However, I know I probably couldn’t even fathom all the things you now know even if I kept trying for the rest of my days here on Earth.
I know this message is coming to you late again but I hope you have been hearing me when I talk to you and already see that it was not physically or mentally possible over the last couple of days. Because of you, Mommy is really trying hard to pay close attention and push herself outside what is comfortable. I’m still not always courageous enough to do the things I think you want me to do, but I AM listening, Baby Boy, and I really do feel you directing me. I want the whole world to know you even if it is just through stories, pictures and videos. I hate it with all my might that this is my only option I have left. Even though my heart is decimated (that means destroyed and crumpled so small there are only tiny pieces like crumbs left), I want to be able to put that aside so everyone can see you through me. I want to represent you even if it is just a tiny fraction of the person you showed me how to be. I know they can’t see your joy and love when I’m sobbing or despondent (that’s a kind of unhappiness that you thankfully never knew). I have to keep getting off the couch, keep trying, and continuing to tell everyone what I think you would want them to learn. It IS hard to answer questions and meet new people (the cards help though and for anyone reading this who has lost a child, you can make your own version from the “Be Nice” section of the website or click here: https://thecalebeffect.com/kindness/ ). I know the first few questions will always include “Do you have kids?” and it does hurt knowing my only baby isn’t in my arms anymore. It CAN be hard to smile on the 9th or when we visit places in the community for you, but I hope you really do know you are always worth it and your life is worth sharing. This is why we celebrate the 9th, because we want everyone to see the way you lived your life and feel your presence and good-nature as it applies to their own.
Maybe that’s why this was the busiest 9th yet because I wanted to send you in as many directions as possible. Did you see what we did for “Nice On The 9th” this month? We decided to postpone our original theme for this month THIS WEEKEND because we wanted to have more time to make sure when we tackle this upcoming topic, we get it right and have the best picture of the situation. Mommy was already running on borrowed steam, but you helped me make it through somehow. Thank you, Baby. I hope you already know everything I tell you. Maybe you even know things that are still to come, but I don’t live in the same dimension where you have been sent, so for now, this is just my way of telling you, and keeping a record for this life.
This month we chose to be nice to people who have been on this planet longer than us. Some of them have been in this universe for quite a bit longer than us and we wanted to make sure they knew they are still really important people in our community.
You LOVED older people and really did have a sixth sense about what they needed and how you could brighten their day. Daddy loved pushing you in the shopping cart backwards so you could greet everyone and I think you enjoyed entertaining the older crowd more than almost anyone else (except babies). Every time you guys would come home from the store, I would ask him to share the details of your new fan club. Each time you guys went, there was a new story about how you made someone’s day. Daddy turned grocery shopping into a fun outing for you and a way for me to get a few things done at home. I have to admit though, sometimes I was jealous that I didn’t get to see some of these interactions, too. I have been told I’m a pretty empathetic person, but I had nothing on you. Caleb, how did you know exactly what every single person needed from you and exactly how to give it to them?
I don’t know if you have memories of your entire life or how that works now, but there was a time when we were on an airplane flying home from visiting your family in Washington and you stretched out your arms to a complete stranger a few rows away. She asked if she looked like someone you knew or maybe a grandmother, but there was no resemblance to anyone in your routine life. She looked pretty harmless and since we were on an airplane, I knew she couldn’t get very far even if she wanted to. I hoisted you over to her and took my seat in our row. The lady lit up as you pointed out the window and jibber-jabbered something I couldn’t understand from where I was sitting. You sat with her for takeoff and went back and talked to her again for probably at least another 30 minutes until we landed. She thanked us for letting you visit with her and we found out that when we had boarded the plane, she was terribly upset because she had just left her own grandkids. She wasn’t crying and Daddy and I probably didn’t even notice her because we were too busy trying to figure out the best way to maneuver what your Uncle Lon termed “crappage” into the overhead bins. However, you did. You didn’t just notice her or even just perceive that she needed you, but you also did something about it. You weren’t even old enough to have your own seat on the airplane, but you found your own way to help her anyway. You stretched out your arms to her and took the edge off her pain. You went even beyond that and made her smile.
This is one of the most perfect examples of how you instinctively knew things that the rest of us couldn’t. I don’t know how I was ever chosen to be your mommy, but it is what I will be most grateful for for the rest of my life. You knew what I needed and always gave me the best tight hugs, extra kisses, the most delightful giggles, and play time spent cracking each other up that made all my stress melt away. I know I am supposed to keep carrying that love and pure joy you shared with me and make it last for the rest of my lifetime. I will cherish every nanosecond I had with you here and I will never stop trying to be more like you, Baby Boy.
Because of you, there are literally hundreds of people who experienced a thoughtful surprise (or are soon to experience one as the goodies are handed out in the coming days and weeks). You only aged two years so you never had to experience things that come with getting older. As we get more candles on our cakes, we usually become wiser and our priorities clearer. Unfortunately there are also some not so great things that come with every “Happy Birthday” song, too. Our health, favorite possessions (that’s stuff we own), privacy, independence, regular human interaction, participation in events, hobbies, and even just access to decent meals can be lost.
We say we don’t have time to visit others because we know sometimes it might take a while to chat or maybe some of our older friends might have trouble saying goodbye as your Uncle Thomas has dubbed “The Lindo Linger.” Booger Bear, you were the exception. You did not walk past an older person, dismiss them, or get angry when they took an extra few minutes to collect an item off the shelf or cross the street. You always made sure to wave at them, say “hi,” give a high-five, or let them know you loved them just as they were. Did you just know these things because you were a child and still so innocent in the ways of the world or were you given some supernatural gifts? We are taught that it isn’t polite to stare at people, but maybe we use that as an excuse to dismiss everyone else and only worry about our own needs. Is it just human-nature or part of self-preservation that as we become adults, we start focusing more and more on ourselves? Whatever it is, I think this may be a good reminder to stop and nonchalantly (that’s when you don’t make it obvious) people watch long enough to notice someone who needs us.
Baby Bear, Mommy realizes now that she has more energy than most people, but I hope the 17 stops (not including lunch) proved that even a small amount of quality time being present with people who need them is possible and necessary even if it isn’t done all in one day. I know Mommy is not the only one going at a 150 mile an hour pace trying to get it all done. There are work obligations, ball games, birthday parties, church events, and all kinds of other distractions, but even a 10-minute phone call on your way to one of these activities could mean the world to someone who spends most of the day by themselves.
Little Bear Cub, you were always the one person who could always keep up with me and I know you are the reason I was able to keep up with you without crashing. Thank you. I miss running around like a crazy person with you so much, but I also hope the 9th was a day that many others also took time to slow down and have a conversation with an elderly neighbor down the street, a grandparent, or a new friend who needs them.
Help us to see what people need and to go further by noticing others. Guide us to look up from our phones and really see people and sense their suffering. Let us reach our arms out to people who need us and encourage us to do go a step further and do something about it. Give us the courage to sit with someone in their pain and make their day. Your Uncle Andy was right, you were a superhero whose powers were to make everyone love you even if they didn’t intend on letting you in their hearts. You are my light in the darkest of places.
One day we will both be in the light and I will get to see you on a day that both of our arms will be stretched out as wide as your smile. I will squeal and sprint as fast as I can to get to you, and I will never let you out of my arms again. All of my pain will disappear and I will finally get to introduce you in person to every last fan you are making here.
I can’t wait to finally experience that kind of day where both of us knows what the other needs and the only thing we need is our little family back intact again. I love you forever, always, and completely.
I love you.