Mother’s Day (A Day After, Anyway..) -M

Mother’s Day is different than it used to be. I guess it always is. When we’re little, it’s exciting to make special things for mom, our own creations- cards, art, jewelry, breakfast, and, as a teen, apologies. Then it becomes our turn to be spoiled by the beautiful, simple pleasures of extra snuggles, breakfast made by tiny, messy hands, and maybe one less turn wiping bums that day. (Thanks, Dads!) I used to look forward to Mother’s Day for the special handmade cards and gifts that were coming my way, and of course I still do, but there’s something missing.

 

Handprint Art by Joshua

This was my third Mother’s Day without my sweet boy. The first, I tried not to cry all day, but did anyway. And I refused to take calls except from my mom (but not on her first attempt.) Last year, my husband and little one made breakfast, but I don’t remember much else. This year, I avoided social media, and forgot to call my mom until after her bedtime. I received lots of loving messages from friends and family and put off reading a beautifully honest piece about mothering that a dear friend dedicated to me until this morning. But my day was mostly good. Yummy brunch made by my husband and little one, followed by hours of bracelet making with my girls. Maybe it helped that we were working on bracelets to honor Joshy, or maybe it’s that my hands were busy, my girls were chatty, and I couldn’t focus on the hole in the beads with tears in my eyes, but I definitely cried less.

Sending love to all the awesome moms out there, with a little extra for the moms who will never be whole.

M❤️

A Little Update

I try not to overload Mommy Business with too much Joshua Kaye Foundation– but I’ve realized that’s probably more than a little crazy. Losing Joshua has changed us forever, and we put so much of our energy into trying to #SpreadLoveAndKindness in his memory. This weekend, we held our first Family Fun Day & Touch-a-Truck event and it was fantastic. We were so touched by the support shown by the entire community. Check out the cool video one of our friends put together. 

So many of you have reached out with kind words and support in one way or another. Thank you- I’m not sure how we’d have gotten through the last 22 months without such a supportive community.

❤M

Joshy squishy face JKF stamp

Without the Birthday Boy…

Ten years ago, at this moment, I was in labor. I was 4 hours and 35 minutes away from bringing my beautiful son into this world. I was rocking permanent dents into the carpet of my bedroom with every contraction.. trying to stay quiet in my new rocking chair so my family could rest, elated that my baby boy would soon be snuggling in my arms. No matter how many crazy worries went through my head, I never imagined I would be here tonight without my son.

Josh would be SO happy to be celebrating double digits. And we would be happy to do anything he wanted for his birthday. The January before he died, we started the tradition of decorating the dining room with birthday streamers and a banner and balloons and really going all out in the simple ways that make a kid feel special. I could tell he was a tiny bit jealous of his little sister that day, and I was so looking forward to spoiling him in that same way for his birthday 6 1/2 months later. We never got the chance. We spent the days leading up to his 9th birthday trying to wrap our heads around the fact that our son would not be there to celebrate. Our little boy was dead. Forever 8 years old.

We spent his last few days making promises to him- ways we would celebrate his birthday and spoil him when he woke up. Not “if.” We would help him build the treehouse of his dreams. We would even call Pete from Treehouse Masters if he wanted. I would let him skip the next year of school if he wanted, and just spend time doing everything he had ever wanted to do. We meant every word.

On August 3, 2015 at 5:35 AM, Joshua Quentin Kaye will be 10 years old, but he won’t be here to celebrate, to hug, to spoil. I will do my best to hug and love and spoil whoever I am with- all day. I hope you will do the same. #ThisIsForJosh

Josh at NEWC fence JKF Stamp

 

 

 

 

Marking A Year…

We lost Joshy just 27 days before his 9th birthday. Those were the some of the saddest days of the saddest year of our lives, but so much love was shown to us. Losing a child forces lessons on parents, siblings, and friends. We realize that life is short and tomorrow is not guaranteed. The little moments with our children matter more than anything. And telling someone you love them shouldn’t wait!

As we mark our first whole year without him, we’d like these next few weeks to be filled with love. Tomorrow, 7/7 through Josh’s birthday, 8/3, we’d love it if you’d join us in spreading joy and love by sharing how you stay present in the moment, share your love, or spread kindness, using the hashtag #ThisIsForJosh on social media.

Joshy Tying Little A's Shoe

Joshy Tying Little A’s Shoe ❤️

Almost a Year…

It’s June already. Soon enough, I’ll be marking the one year anniversary of the day he got sick. The day we went to the ER. The day he was transferred to ICU. The day he coded. The day we learned he would never come home with us again. The day we left the hospital without our boy.

Joshua Quentin Kaye was born on August 3, 2005. 10 days after his due date, after only 8 hours of labor. It was the perfect-story labor; a little funny and completely sweet. After several years of infertility, with a big sister begging for a little brother, it’s possible there had never been a baby born who was more wanted and planned for than him. He weighed in at 8 pounds 3 ounces, which was a shock, because he was so skinny- and then they stretched him out. He measured 22 1/2 inches long. He was an adorable string bean. I remember being stunned when he lifted his head off of my husband’s shoulder to look around the room as Andy carried him to me. He was perfect. Much lighter than I had expected- blonde hair and blue eyes?!- but gorgeous. His big sister was so happy, proud, in love. She beamed with joy as she held him. And our family was perfect.

Our boy was engaging and funny from the very beginning. His eyes like gorgeous pools, reflecting love back at everyone who saw him. He loved to meet people, but was happiest at home with his family- especially his doting sister.

Baby Josh, before his eyes turned green.

Baby Josh, before his eyes turned green.

He did everything early. He stacked a set of wooden blocks when he was 5 months old. He pulled himself to standing at 6 months and was climbing stairs a few weeks later. We had to be ready for anything! And he loved to laugh!

When Josh became a big brother at 3 1/2, he was concerned and a little jealous. But, he spent his mornings building giant towers for his “Baby A” and playing songs for her on his harmonica.

We moved to a new house a few months later and when we got new furniture for the living room, our sweet boy mourned the couch he had found comfort on- while nursing, snuggling, napping, and playing- for days and weeks. He was passionate, loyal, sentimental, and connected strongly to things he cared about. Even couches.

When Josh was 5, doctors discovered a Chiari malformation. Basically, his skull was a little to snug for his brain and they needed to perform a major surgery, cutting through all the muscles and bone at the base of his skull, to alleviate pressure on his brain stem and spinal cord. He sat himself up in bed 4 hours after his surgery and was walking around the hospital the next morning. The Chief of Neurosurgery was astonished. This child knew no limits. He didn’t know how to let things hold him back.

Joshua’s friends were happy to have him back at school. He was the planner of games, the peacemaker among arguing friends. And, as his friends have told us over the last 11 months, the boy who stuck up for his friends, stopped others from teasing, listened to what mattered and showed love- always.

He was not perfect at home. He pushed and he argued and he refused to do homework on anyone’s timeline but his own. He got mad when his big sis needed quiet time do focus on school work and wasn’t always kind to his little sister when she wanted his attention. But he made us laugh. He did the cutest little tushy shake you could ever imagine and he would sing along to whatever songs he and his sisters had on repeat with his sweet, sincere voice.

Our silly boy!

Our silly boy!

He was an animal and nature lover. I think a wild lion would have laid down and rolled over for a tummy rub if Josh asked him to. He would spend hours with his friends or little sister, looking for cool bugs or standing still so a dragonfly or butterfly could land on him. He loved to go for long walks and just be out in nature.

When Josh was 6 1/2, he heard about mass dolphin strandings on the Cape and he asked if we could go and help. It was winter and the beach where the dolphins needed help was 2 hours away. He insisted that we find a way to help, so we called IFAW to find out what they needed most and then planned a fundraiser. Joshy spent hours cutting out pictures of dolphins and making a poster to bring to school. He told all of his friends and teachers and raised over $1000 for IFAW. He was so proud when he received a thank you note from, then president of IFAW, Fred O’Regan.

Joshua loved to build. He used to get so frustrated when I said no to buying actual bricks and mortar so he could “build stuff” in the back yard. He settled for Minecraft and hand-drawing plans for furniture, buildings and tree-houses. When I told him about Habitat for Humanity one night, he couldn’t fall asleep. The thought that he might be able to help build a real house for someone who needed one was too exciting!

He never felt like he was too young to do anything, but he was definitely too young to die.

Joshy squishy face JKF stamp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being Josh’s Mom

My 8 year old son died on July 7, after a 13 day battle with E. coli. This post is adapted from what I read at the celebration of life event we shared with family and friends.

In my most enlightened mommy moments, I tried to remember that we do not own our children- we are entrusted with their care for as long as they are with us.

We thought we would have Joshy longer than this.

Joshy at one of his favorite places.

Joshy at one of his favorite places.

Josh was so social, he so easily made friends and related to people, but would often want to just be on his own, introspective, focused on his own thoughts and experiences.
I would often have to force him, drag him out to do things, but once he left the comfort of his cave, he embraced experiences. He lived with full force. Laughing and discovering- I couldn’t help but laugh and get lost with him, sometimes wanting to pause and put off everyone and everything else to see things through his eyes for just one more minute.

I was often in fight mode- pushing Josh to do things according to our guidelines (brushing teeth, going to bed, getting assignments done on someone else’s time line.) Pushing myself and others to see things from Josh’s perspective. Forcing myself to put down my lists and set aside my silly timelines. Finding ways for a child to do the things he loved and cared about. I don’t know how to not fight for my son now that he is gone. I don’t know how to accept it.

But I will honor him. This little boy, so wild and wise. So fearless and now free.

Joshua cared so much about fairness. He had such clear cut ideas about right and wrong and was moved to help whenever he thought he could. So, we will continue on that path for him. He loved to choose goats and ducks and sheep from the Heifer catalog for holidays and special occasions. He loved to know what IFAW was doing around the world and helped raise money for local efforts. He cared about dogs and cats who needed homes and homeless babies and children who needed comfort, clothes or food. He knew how to be a friend and never had a harsh word or judgment for anyone (save his sisters) and he loved to learn about other cultures and traditions.

We will remember and honor what our little boy stood for.

 

For more information about Joshua and the Joshua Kaye Foundation, visit https://www.facebook.com/JoshuaKayeFoundation