Perfect Moments.

I wanted to post this yesterday, but, like this story, my Christmas was filled with Mila. This was my final story for my creative writing class this year. I’m proud of it and I wanted to share it with all of you.

I hope all of you had a very, merry Christmas. Enjoy.

My eyes blink open and everything seems so bright. The morning air feels chilly as I search for her in bed.

I realize she’s not here. Being alone can be so scary.

In the mornings, I typically love to cuddle up beside her. She is my safe place. Anytime I’m cold, she warms me up. When afraid, she shows me there’s nothing to fear. The mornings she’s not here, I try to tell myself she hasn’t gone too far.

The longer I wait in her big bed, the more I worry she’s forgotten about me. I let out a little whimper, then I call her name wondering if she’ll hear me.

“Mama?”

I hear the sweetest voice coming from the bedroom. Her footsteps start silently and get louder the closer she gets. All morning I’ve been up preparing for this moment.

It’s still snowing outside, as it has all night. My coffee has long been cold, but the hot chocolate on the stove is at the perfect temperature. There are only crumbs on the Santa plate and the milks all gone in the reindeer cup. All her presents are wrapped in shiny, red paper with big bows on top. The fairy lights around the living room and the Christmas tree are shining bright.


There will never be a perfect moment, but this is as close as it’ll get.

She’s running through the doorway at this point and there’s only one thing I can say.

“Merry Christmas!”

I can’t believe my eyes. Santa came and left presents at my house, just for me. The cookies Mama and I made are all gone and it looks like he loved the milk we left him too.

Mama is smiling at me as she holds her arms open for a hug. This is the safety I was looking for this morning. I look up at her and smile. She looks beautiful with the lights twinkling in her eyes. I tell her Merry Christmas back. I’m still in shock. Santa brought presents and I can’t wait to rip this paper off of them. Mama and I are going to play all day.

When she puts me down, she pours us hot chocolate and I guess I should take a drink first. It tastes extra chocolatey with peppermint! Maybe Santa left some for us.


“Santa brought me presents and hot chocolate!”

The only thing I can do is smile at her. Her innocence and awe of everything in the world has impacted me more than she could ever imagine. She sees the magic around us and I wouldn’t want it differently.

I wonder if she notices the dark circles under my eyes or that my hair hasn’t been brushed. Wrapping presents all night while trying to be quiet was no easy task.

She asks if she can open them up and I nod at her.

With every quick rip of the wrapping paper, she smiles even bigger. The presents she wanted and circled in the Amazon toy book are now in her hands. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her smile bigger.

I pull out my phone to capture this moment.

“Say cheese!”

Mama pulls out her phone again. I don’t know why she’s been on it so much lately. We have plenty to do here, but I say cheese as loud as I can. Can’t she understand that Santa has brought me these presents.

I go back to unwrapping. In the background, I hear her tell me if a present is from her or someone else I know. Between each gift, I look want to figure out how I can get them out, but Mama just tells me to give them to her.

We’re back to being a team.

She gets the first present open and it’s something I’ve never seen before. There’s still presents under the tree, but when Mama explains what this thing does, I want to play with it.

I run to get my snow coat, pants, and shoes. Mama gets my gloves and hat. She puts them all on me and I run out the back door.

The cold air stops me in my tracks. No wonder why I was so cold this morning.

There’s more snow than there was yesterday and it keeps falling. Where is my mama? She will love all this snow.

“Come on, Mama!”

This surprise gift caught her off guard. It’s one I don’t think she’s even ever seen one before. Her face when she saw it out was priceless.

She hurried outside and I have to get warm quick.

I’m moving more slowly than normal; the tiredness form the night is wearing me down. She’s yelling for me as I slip some boots on and wrap my big, winter coat around me. I rush out the door as she’s saying my name more.

It’s so bright out. The fresh snow is crisp under each step. There’s beauty all around me, but I can only look at her.

I lay her gift down and almost naturally she jumped on top of it. The rope feels rough in my hands, but I hold on tight. Its blades cut through the snow and her laugh somehow fills our whole backyard.

Who knew an old school sled could bring a toddler so much fun?

Time went by so fast. All I could hear was her yelling to go faster. I went as fast as I could for as long as I could. When I looked back, her cheeks were red and I knew it was time to go in.

“Let’s go get warmed up.”

My cheeks hurt from smiling and maybe cause it’s cold outside.

Mama scoops me up from my new toy, a sled. Instantly I’m warm again. We go into home and I remember something important.

I try to squirm out of my mama’s arms, but she’s holding me tight. Somehow, I kick enough for her to let me down. She’s saying something to me, but I don’t listen. This is way more important and my mama needs it right now.

Santa didn’t forget about me this morning, but I didn’t see him bring anything for her. She needs to know she’s been a good girl too.

In my room, under the rainbow Christmas tree, I uncover a pretty box. Then I run out to her.

“Mama! Mama!”

She’s so impatient. As soon as I get her in the house, she has to run off. Now she’s running back in here. There’s something in her hands.

Quickly, she pulls my hand to the couch and as I sit, she puts a box in my hands.

There’s a tag addressed to me in her writing. The present is wrapped with a lot of tape. She looks so proud of her little surprise to me.

I don’t even need to open it. Whatever is inside will be my favorite gift of all time.

This Christmas morning has been full of perfect moments. The dark circles under my eyes feel like they have vanished and the cold has left both of our bodies. I never want to forget this.

She is my safe place and always makes me feel warm. Anytime I’m afraid of what’s going to come next, she helps me realize there’s nothing to fear. She’ll never know how thankful I am for her.

I open the present from her and without even seeing it, I wrap my arms around her and she squeezes back.

“Thank you, for everything. I love you.”

Sharing Jensen in Class. 

One of the scariest things about starting up school again is that dreaded question: do you have any kids? I’ll never not share Jensen to someone who asks. So my answer is always yes, I have a son. I am so proud of him and his life, I’ll share more about him if they press on. The part that scares me is their look of helplessness when I say he died. 

Admittedly, I’m just doing online classes right now, but it still gets brought up. Instead of not mentioning him, I tell our story. It’s shaped me into the person who I am today and he has inspired me to go back to school. 

I wanted to share with you all how I introduced Jensen to my classes. Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words to say, but maybe this will help someone else. 



Honestly, I was nervous that I would get negative responses. I didn’t really think I would, but there’s always a fear of hurtful words after you share something so vulnerable. Instead, I was welcomed with supportive comments. I was so thankful and happy I could share Jensen with others who don’t know his story. 

Somehow, I wonder how I’m strong enough to keep sharing and going on. I think of Jensen and what he’d want for me, but also being able to share here with you all. You’ve given me the strength to keep telling my story and advocating for all our children. Everyday I live hoping to change the world into a more sympathetic and understanding one. It starts with all of us sharing and letting others know it’s okay to grieve. Just like it’s okay to talk about our children (and family members) gone too soon.