Prince always helped me put things into perspective. He went through life holding onto important people and enjoying all of the new things he was learning. He was independent (or tried to be when I would let him), intelligent, and happy. He reminded me of a little old man trapped in a toddler’s body. Here are some of the things I remember about him – some of the things that made him special. I will call them “Prince Lessons”:
1) Hugs and kisses make everyone feel better: Prince always knew when I was upset and he would drop whatever he was doing and come to hug and kiss me. The Wednesday before he died (during back to school night), there was a little girl in his class who was crying. Prince had been ready to leave, but when he saw the girl crying he literally jumped out of my arms, ran over to her, stroked her hair, hugged her, and kissed her on the cheek. Then, he smiled and was ready to leave.
2) When there is music – you should dance: Prince had a stuffed monkey that wiggled its head and shoulders when you pressed its stomach. This monkey, sadly, taught my son how to dance. Every time that boy would hear music play, he would do the monkey dance. No matter where we were or what needed to be done, Prince always took a few seconds to stop and enjoy the music. I miss the little head bobbling in the back seat of my car and the wiggle that would break out in the middle of a crowded mall.
3) Put the phone down: I am ashamed to admit that I spent the majority of Prince’s life thinking about how I was going to try and save him. I spent hours on the phone with attorneys when I should have been playing, kissing, hugging, and enjoying my son. At night, when I came home from work, I would try and put aside “Prince Only” time. Sometimes, when I would forget and pick up the phone…Prince would always find a way to hide the phone in one of his toys as if he wanted to tell me it wasn’t important. When I would try to text every so often while I was nursing him, he would swat my phone away like a fly and make sure I was just looking at him. I am thankful he did that because it meant that I had more memories of just watching him. It didn’t matter how long I spent on the phone with the lawyers – I still wasn’t able to save him. What ended up mattering more was the time I spent looking into his beautiful brown eyes and making sure he knew how much I loved him.
4) Group hugs make people happy: One of my son’s favorite activities was grabbing multiple family members and bringing them into a group hug. Prince loved his people and he loved when we all hugged each other. The smile that would come over his face when he successfully got more than one person to hug him at the same time is forever burned into my memory.
5) Baby don’t like evil: My son loved people. At times, he would jump into the arms of a complete stranger and smile from ear to ear. Other times, however, he would scream so loudly and so shrill that I would wonder if we needed to call in an exorcist. Prince screamed when in the company of the lawyer who always asked for money, the strangers who obviously didn’t like children, and most interestingly – he always screamed around Luc. No need for further explanation here.
6) If Grandpa eats it, hears it, or looks it – so do I: While it is tough to admit, Prince was more than just a Mama’s boy – he was Grandpa’s boy. If Grandpa was going somewhere, Prince wanted to go. If Grandpa ate something, Prince wanted to eat it. Prince loved Grandpa’s hats. If Grandpa put a hat on his head, he never wanted to take it off. He would walk around the room with his head as still as possible just so that it wouldn’t fall off of his head. Grandpa buried Prince in one of Grandpa’s hats. Prince knew good people and my dad was “his people”.
These are just a few of the lessons that I learned from Prince. Many people live an entire lifetime without touching as many people as Prince touched. Even though there are so many people who ache with me for the loss of this beautiful angel, I am not willing to let his legacy end here. My job and my calling is to never let people forget about my baby boy. Before he died, I always told me that if it were just me and him forever – I would be the happiest Mama alive. I didn’t get that wish. I have to continue on without him.
I keep wanting to tell his story. I talk about him to complete strangers. I show them the pictures of him on my phone. I am constantly reminded of how horrible this all is when I see the looks on their faces when I tell them that the beautiful baby boy I am talking about is gone. I talked about Prince all the time before he was gone. Now, however, its turned weird for people. Instead of sharing in my pride and joy – they are sharing in my pain and suffering.
I dream of a day when I can think about my son without thinking about his father. I dream of a day when I can talk about my son without looking at horror in the eyes of the recipient. My son deserves justice, child deserve protection, and Mama deserves peace. I pray for all of the above.