Sunday, September 6, 2015

Landry's Big Girl Room Reveal

Landry spent the first eight months of her life sleeping in a crib in the corner of our bedroom. There was no chevron stripe for her. No lace detail on the lamp. No letters spelling out L-A-N-D-R-Y on the wall.


While I know babies don't need all that stuff and they don't know the difference, that they don't even see color until they're like four months old, I also know that moms do care about that stuff.

Only I didn't.

I couldn't.

I was still grieving the loss of my 9-year-old daughter Addie.

While I still grieve that loss every day and wish the transition from Addie's Room to Landry's Room involved simply moving a tween girl's belongings down to the basement bedroom as planned, that isn't how it shook out. The tween girl wasn't here to set up her new digs, to pick out her new bedding, to sort through her stuff. And so, I've spent the last three years working on that grief and, yes, working toward a space for Landry.

In what a part of me will always refer to as Addie's room.

I won't go into all of the work that went into arriving at a place that we felt we could do this. Notice I said we here. This was a we thing, not a me thing (well, the decorating part was). All I can say is that it was arduous - torturous at times - and I'm proud of the work we've done.

And the room turned out OK too.

It's kind of funny because when I first started this blog five years ago, I'd intended for it to be a way to keep track of our home improvement projects. And here I am kind of detailing a project that sort of involves home improvement, I guess. So, I kind of feel like I need to get all bloggy sounding again. And all bloggy sounding sounds like this:

The first order of business (see how bloggy that sounds) was painting the room. OK, that's a complete load of bull because there was a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff (messy stuff) that had to take place before we got to this point. But anyway, the first thing we did was find a wonderful person to come in and paint the room for us. She was one of Addie's teachers and we knew she was the woman for the job.

Before she could touch the walls, however, we all took our turn writing notes to Addie. Everybody but Landry, of course. I didn't really want to encourage her to write on the walls. Some wrote more than others, but each note was personalized and, in my opinion, perfect.

There were a couple of DIY projects (as DIY as I get anyway). Here's a look at a bench I bought off that garage sale three years ago. I guess you'd call this the "before" shot.

And here's after:

Here's a little pair of owls I picked up for $1 at a thrift store.

Cute, huh? Here they are after:

The pink frame was a thrift store find as well. Only it wasn't pink until I got my hands on it. Notice the A and the L for my two girls. If you look real closely, you might even notice a chevron pattern on that L.

Addie continues to have a place in the space, just as she continues to have a place in our hearts.

Moosey keeps watch atop the bed.

And I'll forever believe that my two girls are in some way connected.

Overall, I'm happy with the room. It's tough enough to withstand Landry's fury and sweet enough to honor Addie's memory. And as with any space in my house, it'll continue to be a work in progress.

Just like I'm a work in progress.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Tell Them

I have a spool of yellow ribbon sitting on top of my dresser.

And I'd like to give a piece of it to you.

But usually it's not my style to put things out there.

To put myself out there.

This is different.

Because I have this yellow ribbon.

And I have something that I care deeply about.

I'll cut up a three-inch strand. I'll find a safety pin and I'll get it to you. If you need me to run it by your house, drop it off at work, drop it in the mail, I will. I promise.

As long as you promise me one thing.

When you wear it and people ask you why you're wearing a yellow ribbon, you tell them.

You tell them about the little girl who had plans to be a vet.

The little girl who was practically a card-carrying member of the ASPCA. The little girl who sold lemonade in the front yard and sold her family on spa treatments in her bedroom. All in the name of animals.

You tell them about the little girl who didn't live to see double digits.

You tell them that kids get cancer too.

You tell them September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. That we're going gold.

And you tell them about that little girl.

You tell them about the mother who tries with all that she can to live her best life each day, but finds herself failing miserably time and time again. You tell them about the dad who says things aren't good again, not yet anyway.

You tell them about two rough and tumble little boys who said goodbye to their big sister one morning and that was it. The last time they saw her. You tell them about the baby sister who knows big sister only through pictures and videos.

You tell them kids get cancer too.

You tell them it's tough to talk about. And it is. But tell them we need to talk about it.

You tell them 43 children were diagnosed with cancer today.* Forty-three. Trust me, their parents don't know which way is up.

You tell them 12 percent of children diagnosed with cancer will die.

You tell them childhood cancer doesn't discriminate. It doesn't care if you're rich or poor, black or white. It doesn't care if you have a slumber party planned for your 9-year-old daughter's birthday next week. It doesn't care about, well, anything you had planned.

You tell them about 1 in 285 children will be diagnosed with cancer by the time they reach age 20.

Yes, you read that right.

You tell them childhood cancer isn't all that rare.

You tell them research for childhood cancer is grossly underfunded.

You tell them how much that hurts your heart.

How much it hurts mine.

You tell them about the little girl - my little girl, the one who was diagnosed on a Tuesday and died six days later. Tell them what her 9 years on Earth were made of and think about what her life would've been like had she been given 60 or 70 more.

And you tell them that kids get cancer too.

Behind my yellow ribbon is an orange
one that Addie's friends distributed
three years ago.

*Statistics taken from,, and