My Letter to Jenna Bush Hager

Dear Jenna,

Colton Shero

I hate that I am writing you. I hate that my reality is MY reality. I saw beautiful Mila, in your arms on @TODAYshow. You are still glowing. The glow of a first time mom as you hold your precious gift from heaven. I ache. My heart remembers that song, those moments of perfection forever encapsulated in my heart. The day my sweet Colton was born. He was perfection. Looking at my son, seeing his dad and I in him. Holding the one thing we could possibly “get right” in this world. Falling in love with the purpose of my life all over again. Full of wonderment of what he was going to be like. My husband Wade and I had painted our future in the stories we would create about Colton. We would question, will he like playing football, the theater, fishing? Would he and his brother get into trouble, “Here come the Shero boys”. Would he fall in love with a ballerina, teacher, or an artist? Would he want to go into the family business, follow in his dad’s footsteps? Like you, I could see my child’s future, like a movie in my mind. His life. His love. His potential. Like you, I felt the bliss of holding my beautiful baby. The glow of becoming a mommy to the most perfect child to ever be born. Like you, I fell madly in love from the moment I found out he was coming into this world and then at his arrival my heart grew in ways I never knew were possible.

I hate that I am writing you. I hate MY reality.

I was looking at the beautiful nursery that you had prepared so carefully for you daughter. I looked at each piece of art you selected for the walls. Like you, I chose fun, colorful pieces to adorn the walls in Colton’s room. A dog, monster trucks and tractors. The lighting you picked is beautiful and elegant, we chose a more masculine fan. The books you selected to read her at bedtime. The perfect wardrobe you chose to keep her warm in the winter air. The love of family, grandparents holding her, in moments captured in film forever. You were already in the midst of the greatest calling on earth when you created this nursery, being the mommy to an adorable little one. A dream in your heart finally coming into the world, I know how that overwhelming happiness feels. A realization of the love you share with your husband. A dream your parents have held in their hearts since the day they discovered you would be entering the world. A family legacy being expanded with the great joy of Mila’s arrival. I remember learning more about Wade’s legacy as our family expanded with Colton’s birth. The great pride I felt knowing that Colton would carry out the family name. The energy and excitement of my parent’s learning that another grandchild would bless our family. The picture of my father’s face as it lite up thinking about the camping trips, golf trips and sports that he would share with Colton. The wisdom he would pass to another generation, the history he would impart to Colton to carry on the story of our family heritage. The hope of the future in the birth of our son, his grandchild. I felt proud of his life before he even arrived. He would be the first, second male Shero in our families history. My boys would be close and they would move my husband’s name forward. Wade was so proud of his boys, as any father would be. His “bonus” baby, one last gift from heaven. His greatest life work.

Jenna Bush Hager Nursery
Hazard in Mila Hager Nursery @TODAYshow

I looked at the timeless white crib that you selected. It is so safe, classic and beautiful. We chose cherry, a dark wood that reminded us of the one that my husband slept in as a baby. I remember watching my husband in fascination as he put Colton’s crib together. I remember thinking how lucky I was, how lucky Colton was, to have Wade as a dad. We went to so many stores looking for the perfect crib for our sweet son to sleep. I remember picking the baby blue glider that I would rock him in. I would nestle him in my arms and feed him in that comfy chair. I would cradle him in my arm and sing him lullabies. I would read him bedtime stories full of adventures, knights and dragons. I remember thinking to myself,” I will be up all night in this chair”, I was excited, eager and beyond in love with the boy that would come in mid-October. I could see it all in my mind, both of my boys crawling onto my lap. Spending precious moments together each night reading books. I would feel my arms full, holding of two of the greatest loves of my life. I couldn’t wait to have these memories, I am so grateful I had them for awhile. Time spent on earth in the completeness of motherhood. Time when I felt normal and that all seemed right despite the chaotic world. My breathing space, my oasis.

I see the smile on your face as you lift your beautiful daughter above your head. She is dressed in such a cute outfit, tiny jeans and matching hair bow. I see the smile on her a face as she looks at her first love, her mommy. Her safest place on earth. When I close my eyes I can remember the moments of holding Colton up above my head, I can still hear his giggles filling the room. I can feel his body in my arms and still smell his swirling brown baby hair. That smell makes my heart melt. I remember looking into his crystal blue eyes, feeling love that exploded in my chest. I know you feel that way when you look at Mila. The completeness of her presence, is a place where you long to remain. A place where you want to stop time. You don’t want to miss a moment. You know her childhood will go by way too fast. You want to hang on to every moment of every day with her.

Jenna, our nurseries have some of the same features. I look at the nursery that you so carefully decorated and child proofed for your sweet daughter and notice that you, like me, aren’t aware of the danger that is in that beautiful bedroom. It is silent and not seeking of much attention. It is unnoticeable to the public, unnoticeable to moms. I know I wouldn’t have paid any attention to it prior to 2013. It looks harmless, almost secure. Why would you think twice about it? I didn’t know I had a hidden danger in my home, even though the story is “old news”. No one told me about the dangers and I wonder if anyone has told you?

That is why I am writing you. That is why I hate my reality. That is why I ache and I have nothing but sweet memories of the son that I brought home. The son that completed my family, loved to eat, and play games. The son that loved Bubble Guppies,strawberry milk, and splashing in the tub. My sweet boy who loved to collect rocks from the yard and ride in his Power Wheels jeep. When I looked at the perfect room you created for Mila and my heart raced as I noticed the hidden danger in plain sight. The product that took my precious son’s life. The pound in my chest replayed the tragedy in my mind. I saw myself finding my son and losing him within minutes. I saw my husband’s tears and pain. My father’s heartbreak and powerlessness. I felt my son’s little body in my arms lifeless, gone. It must stop, it must stop, repeating over and over in my head. I felt compelled to write to you. Compelled to tell you about the danger in Mila’s room. I had no other choice but to try to reach you. I am not trying to scare you. I just want to share a mommy to mommy safety tip. You have a chance to prevent an accident that I didn’t even consider possible. I wish I could go back to that fall day and stop what happen to Colton.

Hazard in Mila Hager Nursery
Hazard in Mila Hager Nursery @TODAYshow

Like you, I am a good parent and attentive parent and would give my life for my child. I didn’t know to go cordless. As a great mom, you have your window blind cords cleated to the wall. At night, I know you are thinking that you are laying Mila down in a safe room. You believe that you are protecting your child by securing the cords to the wall. Like many parents, you believe cleats are an effective safety precaution. I wonder if someone you trust told you that? However, many children have died despite parents taking this safety measure.

I thought that I had done everything necessary to make my window coverings safe for Colton. I thought that my home was the safest place on earth. Then on an ordinary Thursday in October, my life was shattered, my mommyness lost, and my son gone. Colton was two days away from his second birthday when he became in entangled in a window blind cord. His life ended in less than 3 minutes. My life is forever changed. My dreams destroyed. My families hearts broken and the legacy I was so excited about was demolished. I hate that I am writing you.

I write you not to scare you. I write to you to appeal to you to remove the dangerous product hanging in your daughters room. I can’t bare to see anyone go though the pain that I have suffered. Jenna, your a great mommy. You are walking bravely into parenthood. You are a great mom. You and your husband are two the best of the parents in the world. You can’t know how dangerous your baby’s room is. You can’t know unless someone reaches out to you. Please see my heart. See the brokenness that inspired me to write. See the love that I have for my child in my words. See the determination I feel trying to save lives. Hear my passion for ending preventable accidents like Colton’s. Understand how much I wish someone had told me. Consider the high price I had to pay to know how common and real this preventable accident really is. I wish someone had told me before it was too late. I miss my son so much that I can hardly breath. All I can do as a mom to him now is educate others about the danger that took him from me. This is my act of mommyness. My brief moment today that I am acting as his parent.

Jenna, please take action to prevent this story from being yours. Please remove the corded window covering in your home. There are so many safe cordless products out there. The best way to protect your sweet daughter is to discard corded products. I ask that you remember Colton when you do. I ask that you install cordless in honor of all of the children who have lost their little lives in to the same fate. You have the power to offer hope to grieving mommies like me. You can help us stop this epidemic from continuing, starting with your adorable Mila. Consider educating other mommy warriors about this hidden danger. The women who are the nurturers, protectors, and safest place for their children.

Thank you for reading. Hugs and love to you and your beautiful family.

Erin Shero
Mother of Colton
Director of Communications
Parents for Window Blind Safety