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On February 5, 1988, I was 3 1/2 years old. We had been going through the process of moving to a new house. I don’t remember much about that time period; just glimpses and flashes of memories – an empty house at 2655 Sierra Street, a mattress on the floor, a stuffed animal held tight at night.
On that night, 25 years ago, I went to the hospital with my Dad. Honestly, it might have been the day after, but for purposes of this blog we’re going to pretend it was the 5th, OK?
I was so excited! I was wearing a purple shirt. I walked into the hospital room, and saw my mom. In her arms she was holding my brand new baby brother. I walked into the corner, by the couch, and stood there until she beckoned me closer. I peeked over the edge of the bed, nervous, but excited. I saw, for the first time ever, my youngest brother.
I didn’t know then how much joy he would bring me. I didn’t know the love I would feel teaching him something new - the first thing I ever taught him was how to spell “Banana.”
I didn’t know how much I would tease him, how much he would tease me.
I didn’t know he would have the power to break my heart and yet make me feel more loved than any of my other siblings during a lot of my younger years.
I didn’t know he would love me so much, hold my pinky so fiercely, turn to me in times of need as much as he did. I didn’t know what it was to truly love another person because of who they were before he came around.
I didn’t know how he would drive my mom crazy with his mohawk, I didn’t know how he would live so close and yet so far away and drive me crazy.
I didn’t know he would be my adventure-buddy, my friend without judgement.
All I knew was that this little bundle of joy was my brother; his soft cries made me so proud.
In fact, he made me so happy that I didn’t want to leave the side of his bed, so happy in fact, that I peed in my pants, making my dad take me back home in wet britches.
HAPPY 25th BIRTHDAY JAKE!
Last week you turned the big TWO!! I was reading the letter I wrote you at 21 months and it’s amazing how much you have changed. Even over just a few months you change and grow.
You still talk and talk and talk. You love to run through the house, play with swords, and tickle Mommy and Daddy. The dogs drive you crazy (especially Frankie), and when you and Frankie are energetic and chasing each other you both drive US crazy. We’ve been swimming half a dozen times this summer and if I put you in your swim donut you can swim around the pool yelling “Kick! Kick! Kick!” as your legs frantically propel you forward. It’s a joy to watch.
We had your birthday party the day after your actual birthday. Lots of friends and family came over. I made you chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with chocolate and vanilla ice cream. You started crying when I lit the candle on your cupcake and everyone started singing. I’m not sure why – maybe the attention? Maybe the singing? However, as soon as we were done and you got to eat the cupcake, you were much better!
You got some neat toys for your birthday and love to play with them. Lots of animals and blocks and cars and trucks. Puzzles and dinosaurs and oh, my, the vehicles. Our house has become a speedway and you are the driver of racing machines darting in, out, and over the couch.
We took a trip to California almost two months ago. We were worried about how you would do in the plane, but we shouldn’t have worried. You love any kind of vehicle, planes included. Daddy sat next to you on the plane and talked about how you were going to go really, really fast, and go up, up, up! You loved it. We rode in the car for ages and ages, and you rarely fussed about it. We drove through random subdivisions in Elk Grove, and you asked if we were going to Mae Mae’s house! It was the cutest thing, and you made Mae Mae’s mom giggle about it when I told her. We went to a wedding for my best friend Amy. You love Amy, and you loved dancing at Amy and Keith’s wedding. We went to Monterey Bay Aquarium, and you had such a blast hanging out with your 3 cousins. We went camping (which you LOVED) at my old camping site in California. It was heart-wrenchingly beautiful to see you scale the same rocks I had scaled as a child. To see you in the “rock club” and down at the water’s edge was an incredible experience for me. Even though the water was freezing cold you stood in it until your feet turned to chubby little icicles, and you loved it. Watching you eat s’mores with your cousins is a memory I will treasure forever.
A few weeks ago we travelled to Senatobia, Mississippi to visit Papa’s parents. Mimi and PaPaw loved you, and we loved visiting them, and you had a good time running around their house and showing off. A mere week after that we went down to Houston for your cousin Austin’s graduation. Each road trip you demonstrated your willingness to sit still when needed, your love of movement, and your love of music. I love how you love music.
Son, I’ll be honest, because it’s my letter and I’m allowed to be: I don’t know what the future holds for you. What I do know is that you capture the attention of people – your joy, your mannerisms, and your movement. Watching you is like watching life take place – it’s like observing the best the world has to offer. Maybe you’re just like every other two-year old on the planet, I’m not sure. I hope that I can teach you to harness that attention-grabbing skill and use it to better the world around you. I know that living with you teaches me every day the meaning of slow down. Observe. Breathe. Love. Be patient.
Your Daddy and I talk about you, often, after you’ve finally given up and gone to sleep. We lay in bed, snuggled, and talk about whether or not we’re doing a good job (most days we think we’re doing OK). Recently we were talking about your exposure to television and video games. We don’t want to shelter you from the world and its issues, but we don’t want to desensitize you either. It’s tough to say “No, we won’t play this video game while Benjamin is awake, because it depicts violence too accurately,” but that’s exactly where we are at.
This world is dangerous and violent and broken, son, and you’ll have your whole life to learn that. I hope that we can teach you about the beauty of the world first, and it’s dark side later.
Eventually, Lucky will die, and you will learn grief. Eventually, you will ask where Mommy’s parents are, and you will see me cry. Eventually, you will ask why Jesus hangs on the cross, broken and beaten, and you will learn about sacrifice.
Our hope, though all of that, is to teach you about love. Love that shines through grief and brokenness, love that taught Mommy how to heal, love that makes Daddy get up even on the days when his depression beats his heart and soul, love that put Christ on the cross and love that triumphs all of the dark things in this world.
However, before you have to learn all of those things, I want you to know joy. I want to continue to see my baby boy, beautiful and full of grace and energy, running around squealing with laughter. I want to continue to love you so much it hurts. I want to see animals for the first time all over again, though your eyes. I want to continue to chase the dogs in the backyard until we collapse into fits of giggles. I want to dance with you in the living room until I’m sweaty and exhausted. I want these good and wonderful things for you so that when darkness seems to sneak in, you can remember the things from the light.
I hope you understand, one day, how hard it is trying to figure all this stuff out. I hope you have enough grace to forgive us when we mess up. I hope I have enough grace to forgive myself! But either way, we’ll muddle through this crazy adventure together. Being a Mommy is quite an amazing experience in general, but being Mommy to you – well – I think that’s my favorite job yet.
I love you son, happy 2nd birthday.
She is running
A hundred miles an hour in the wrong direction
I would like someone to write a song, please. I don’t have the skill for songwriting. I would like you to model it after “Does Anybody Hear Her?” by Casting Crowns. I would like you to tell a different side of the story.
She is trying but the canyon’s ever widening
In the depths of her cold heart
The song is about a broken woman who wants love and acceptance and help from the people of the church but does not get the help she needs. I would like you to write a song about the people who offer love and acceptance and help to a broken person… to no avail.
So she sets out on another misadventure just to find
She’s another two years older
And she’s three more steps behind
I would like you to talk about how heartbreaking it is to sit beside them and watch them run in the wrong direction.
Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?
Or does anybody even know she’s going down today?
I would like you to talk about having an opportunity to help them. About how scary it is when they move in to your world and how happy and hopeful you are that this time, this time it will be different.
Under the shadow of our steeple
With all the lost and lonely people
Searching for the hope that’s tucked away in you and me
Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?
Sometimes we do see. Sometimes we see the hurting, and the broken, and the bruised. Sometimes we say to ourselves: Hey, we should be like Jesus and try to help them. Sometimes they ask for help and you see an opportunity.
She is yearning for shelter and affection
That she never found at home
So we invite them into our world. We take them to church. We hug them and cry with them. We feed them and clothe them and pray for them and with them. Sometimes it works for a while.
She is searching for a hero to ride in
To ride in and save the day
Sometimes you tell them their worth and they nod, and they smile, but they don’t believe it. You tell them to have faith in their own worth. You tell them that they are God’s precious and loved child, and their lips say “I know” while their heart can’t believe it yet.
You pray for them. You kneel at your bed and you cry for their soul. You pray that God will give you the words you need to reach them in the midst of their brokenness.
And in walks her prince charming
And he knows just what to say
Momentary lapse of reason
And she gives herself away
And then… then they tell you that they’re leaving. That they’ve found another path, another way out, one that doesn’t involve the hard work of facing the pain. They’re leaving so they don’t have to deal with someone loving them, but telling them that they need to make better (and admittedly more difficult) choices.
If judgment looms under every steeple
If lofty glances from lofty people
Can’t see past her scarlet letter
And we’ve never even met her
You watch them go. Despite the sacrifice of time and energy you watch them leave. You know it’s fruitless. You know they’re not ready to change. You’ve seen for some time now that your argument was ineffective.
One of the worst parts about this, in my opinion, is that when it’s all said and done there is a small part of you that is relieved it’s over. Don’t get me wrong: the overwhelming emotion is grief and sadness. But there is also relief tinged with guilt – relief that your time of sacrifice is over, and guilt at being relieved. How can you be relieved they’re going back to their broken life? But you’re human, and you’re glad that this means less stress and sacrifice to you and your family.
And there’s a bit of doubt. Did I try hard enough? Did I show them enough love? Could I have changed the situation a bit and had more success?
The important thing to remember here, and the thing I have to remind myself, is that I can’t fix anyone. I can’t make them better. Only God can. That is what I hold on to. When I feel all these emotions so strongly, I remind myself that God is the great physician and we are his broken church. Ultimately, He is the one who heals. We just point people in His direction.
So, dear reader, if you decide to write a song about one of the other sides of “Does Anybody Hear Her” then please make sure you talk about how in the end, God is the great transformer…not us. I know I’m asking a lot, and I know you probably won’t write a song about such a sad and helpless place, but my request has been made.
I’d like a song that reminds me that sometimes we fail, but at least we tried.
(all italicized words from “Does Anybody Hear Her” by Casting Crowns from their album Lifesong.)
I liked the letter I wrote to you on your first birthday so much that I decided to do it every 6 months – especially while you’re in this crazy “changing dramatically every day” mode. And then I decided to write it after Christmas (instead of on December 15th, when you actually turned 18 months) so that I could talk about the holidays, and then I decided to wait until 2012, and then I decided that I was procrastinating and I just needed to sit down and do it. This is your Mommy, Benjamin: Procrastinator Extraordinaire!
Benjamin, I thought you were fun at 1, but I had NO idea how much fun you would be at 18 months. Seriously, kid, I realize now that this is what parents live for. This age right here. I might say that again in a few months or years, but your Daddy and I have enjoyed the heck out of you recently!
Your vocabulary has completely exploded and you communicate so much with us. Here are some words we hear a lot around the house:
Joots (Juice), Meel (Milk), Waber (Water), Mo’ (More), Uhh (used for both Up and Down, it really means “change of view, please”), Ludey (Lucky), Daw (Dog), Puh-ee (Puppy), Pope (Soap), Doir (Door), Ball, Truck, Car, Bike-el (Bicycle), Cake (I blame the holidays for this…), Cooey (Cookie. Totally my bad.), Chalk (Chocolate. Likes to use this to upgrade milk), Ap-pul (Apple), Nug-ee (Chicken nuggets), Thocks (Socks), Tooes (Shoes), Toes, Churt (Shirt), At (Hat), Pants, Top (Stop – usually used when Lucky is barking at the neighbors “top Ludey!”), Pool (as in Pool table), Blocks, Tye-er (Tiger), Hoar (Horse, with accompanying NEIGH noise), Cow (with accompanying MOO noise), Nuggle (Snuggle), and Boom (Fireworks).
There’s so many more. You can call everyone in the house by name and can usually tell the dog to stop doing what he’s doing. You demand food and drink on a fairly constant basis and ANY TIME you see an apple you become OBSESSED with it until you have it in your hands. It is ridiculous!
We have this awesome hat that is the face of a Tiger, and we have a house rule that anyone that puts the hat on has to pretend they are a tiger. It’s pretty adorable. You came up to me the other day holding the hat out to me, “Tye-er?” you asked, and of course I obliged. I put the hat on and instantly my face turned to a growl… I threw my hands in the air and growled “Tiger Mommy! Rawr!” and you squealed and ran away… I chased you around the house until I caught you and tickled you until you could barely breathe. Then I put the hat on you and said “Tiger Jams!” and you roared at me. I kind of melted a little bit.
For Christmas, we got you a basketball hoop and some books. You love the basketball but can’t really throw it in a particular direction just yet. You like “Mr. Brown can Moo, can you?” because Mommy makes lots of funny noises when she reads it.
I bought you a beautiful book about Noah’s Ark that has some sad stuff in it. Stuff like Noah shooing away some bugs (because he already had two) and elephants standing sadly outside of the ark as the rain fell and the water rose. It got bad reviews online, but I kind of like the idea of it telling the story honestly. Because there are things about my faith that are not easy, and I don’t want to pretend that they don’t exist. I don’t want to show you the world through rose colored glasses, I want to introduce it to you slowly, but honestly. I look forward to sharing the all the different aspects of my faith with you one day.
Anyways, your Nanny and Papa got you this awesome Power Wheels 4×4 ATV for Christmas. You can sit on it and steer and it has a button that when you press it, it goes Vroooom!
You, my dear son, staunchly refuse to press the button! You’re terrified of it! It is a source of frustration and amusement for us. You’ll climb a stepladder, dance on the couch, demand to stand on the pool table…but you won’t press GO on your power wheels. Crazy, crazy Jams.
I have this picture in my head of you I want to remember forever: You, wearing a diaper, right after bath. Hair standing straight up just like your daddy. Sitting all the way back in our pink rocking chair in your room. You’re holding a small child’s bible and a teddy bear in your lap and looking up at me expectantly. Your head is cocked to the side and you say, with question in your voice, “ree? ree?” Yes, Benjamin, of course we can read!
You dance ALL THE TIME. There is a 900% increase in dancing in the house since you turned one. If the music has a beat, you will be jammin to it… period. End of story. It is awesome to watch your dance moves change as you get older. You’ve recently added in arm movements and you really like to pump your fist in the air triumphantly while dancing. I love it. You get so happy when music comes on it’s hard not to get swept up into the mood.
I don’t want you to think it’s all roses and butterflies, but even when you’re upset about something you’re pretty adorable. If you don’t get your way (like, for instance, last night, when I wouldn’t let you drink my Airborne) you sort of collapse on to the floor and cry pathetically. You usually just sort of whimper for a few minutes, but last night you were angry so your wails were a little more pronounced. Right now we’re trying not to react so you don’t get worse, but sometimes it’s really hard not to giggle at you. Sorry, I know that’s not the politically appropriate answer, but what can I say? It’s hilarious when your little lip protrudes and quivers and you throw your head into your arms and collapse on the ground. I’ve started trying to teach you – “I know you’re upset, Benjamin, but you can’t hit the dog with a stick.” “Benjamin, even though you don’t want to go to bed you can’t hit Daddy in the face.” and so on, and so on. Does it help? I don’t know. Time will tell. Right now I’m practicing being patient.
I think one of my favorite things about you right now is how happy you make your Daddy. He absolutely loves playing with you. You guys wrestle (and I have to hold my tongue sometimes because I think he’s too rough, but I think that is a Mommy’s job, to worry…) and he throws you around and tickles you and you squeal so loud. You throw your head back and laugh at him sometimes and then he does the same thing and you guys are both so happy I just want to cry.
We went to Houston for New Years and everyone loved commenting on how well behaved you were. Even though you had to sit in the car for longer than you would have liked, you were a trooper. You absolutely loved the fireworks on New Years Eve – you stayed up till 11:30 and fell asleep in your Daddy’s arms outside listening to and watching the “boom.” The day before, my heart had broken just a tiny bit when we left you in the bedroom alone at Aunt Lynn’s and you woke up without us and started crying. Poor thing, you were so upset! Took us forever to calm you down. I think that is part of the reason why, when we got back from Houston yesterday, I took you to my bed to snuggle at bedtime. I had to be up early for work (4am, ugh!) and Daddy was going to put you to bed. That’s usually my job and I didn’t want to miss out on snuggle time, so you came to my room. I got all nice and comfy and tried to make you nice and comfy too… you immediately flailed around until your feet were in my face and your head was resting on my knee. But you were happy and I was too. Those few moments of peace are treasured and I want to remember them when you’re 16 and telling me how you know everything!
I heard that 18 month olds could be pains, but so far you’ve only done the expected amount of fussing and fighting. I’m sure more fighting and testing is on the way, but in the meantime I’m going to enjoy this sweet boy who squeals with joy whenever he sees me.
Today you are a year old. 365 days of laughter and tears, 365 days of poopy diapers and more than a few days of 2am wake ups.
The day we took you home from the hospital we were tired and terrified and excited. You were so tiny, so fragile, so precious. Your head was unusually dinosaur looking (think: Coneheads or a T-Rex head) but it really was love at first sight. Well, it was love, but it came with a huge amount of terrifying responsibility.
One of my favorite memories was from the moment we took you inside the house. I came in and greeted Lucky, petting him and reassuring him that he was loved. Then we introduced him to the “newest member of the pack” – you. I hope that when you’re old enough to read this you’re also old enough to remember Lucky. He has been your bestest friend this past year. He would prance around you when you laid in the floor as a babe and at night time he would snuggle with us at the foot of the bed. When you were colicky, he would walk along side us as we wore a path through the living room, dining room, and kitchen. If we were rocking you he would lay at our feet, or just outside your door. He gives you kisses unconditionally and with fervour. Although those first few months were mainly one-way affection the scales have slowly shifted. Now you drop your lunch for him, you crawl after him, and you like to “pet” him. Sometimes your petting is more like hitting him and almost poking his eyes out, he doesn’t seem to mind too much.
I love how independent you are becoming. You will play by yourself for minutes at a time and sometimes I watch you, with your face in total concentration, and I can’t help but smile. You’ll look around to make sure I’m nearby and then go right back to what it is you were doing. Here recently it’s been blowing bubbles in the pool, or banging pots in the kitchen floor, or chasing the dog around the coffee table. You throw yourself wholeheartedly into whatever it is you’re doing and I know part of that is just being a baby, but I can’t help but hope that some of that is a glimpse of the passion you’ll feel later on in life.
I hope the clingy flailing around and screeching when you don’t get your way is something you grow out of.
You’ve started taking steps here and there. The other day when you walked in the kitchen to me I was so proud of you!! I swept you up and covered you in kisses… and you did the usual “ok, ew Mom, I get it, let me down now..”
The good outweighs the bad, but sometimes there is bad. Not everything is roses and butterflies. You occasionally have bouts of insanity where you scream and yell about… everything. Sometimes I just want you to go away for 5 minutes so I can have some peace and quiet. Sometimes you’re teething so bad your fingers are permanent fixtures in your mouth and you’re crying and there’s nothing we can do but hold you as you cry. And when I spend time working on your meal just to see you unceremoniously dump it upside down on the floor…. well sometimes I want to thunk you in the forehead for that.
You love speed. Scared me half to death the other day when scooting down the stairs… you were having so much fun and going SO fast and then lost your balance and tumbled backwards. Thank God your Nanny was behind you to catch you! I hope you keep your love of speed… but gain some caution too. There is such a thing as too fast!
You hate sitting still… which makes diaper time a wrestling match I’ll be glad to say goodbye to.
I love you in the morning. There’s this period in between when you wake up and when we go into your room that you have a conversation with yourself. You talk and squeal and play, content to simply be. It’s hard to be upset when you’re that happy. For that matter it’s hard to be mad at you at all, even when you’re acting cranky and screaming and throwing yourself onto the concrete because I know it’s just a phase, and this too shall pass, and I kind of cherish the bad because it makes the good that much better.
I love hanging out with you outside. If you had your way, we’d spend all day out there. Even in the heat of the day you want to be outside in the sunshine or the pool. Winter time is going to devastate you.
When I was a kid I used to dream about having a family. I never could quite picture it because I hadn’t met you or your Daddy yet. Now that I have, I realize I didn’t dream big enough. I never imagined your kinship with Lucky. I never imagined the heart wrenching feeling when you dive head first towards the edge of a brick in front yard. I never imagined laughing so hard when you decide that anything you can fit your bottom in – whether it be a dog bowl or a bird bath – is fair game as your personal swimming pool. I never imagined how it feels when you wrap your arms around me or when you scream MAMAMAMA from the other room.
I knew having a family would be an exercise of love; I don’t know that I fully realized the adventure that accompanies it.
I guess what I’m trying to say, Benjamin, is that I love you and I’m glad you’re in my life.
I’m writing to you because I can’t think of anyone in particular who has let me down. Oh, I’m sure I’ve been disappointed by people, but generally I figure they have a good reason for doing what they’re doing. Plus, the real disappointment is usually not that they’re letting ME down but that they’re letting themselves down. I feel for them.
So, anyways, you and I need to have a talk. See, you’re 26 years old. You’re contemplating buying a house. You have a husband and a child. So…when are you going to learn how to clean your house?
I mean seriously, kid. Put down the cell phone, strap the kid on you, and GO CLEAN. You want to. You like it when your house is clean. So why don’t you clean?
Is it because of those frustrating hours you spent in your room as a child? I bet it is. I know you used to hate cleaning, it would take you all day to clean your bedroom! And now you have a whole house! Well, lady, I have news for you. You better get over it pretty soon, otherwise your child will have dog hair for dinner and you’ll never be able to set a good example. Time is running out. Get on the ball, lady.
You were my first love outside of my family (and the cute boy that went to church in the town next to mine, but that’s a different story). I’ll never forget the first time I heard your music.
It was 1997 and life for this then-13-year-old girl was pretty good. I had a good family. Lots of siblings. But music…music was not really my “thing.” I would much rather be reading, sticking my nose into a book and escaping to worlds far away. Worlds where dwarves and hobbits lived among ents, and rings were things whispered about in secret.
My sisters were much more passionate about music. They had their Silverchair and Metallica albums that they listened to in secret. My parents allowed only certain types of music in the house…. anything modern and “rock” was strictly prohibited. It was the devil’s music, you see.
I wasn’t rebellious so I stuck with what was approved and allowed. I listened to some Willie Nelson, George Strait, Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash. I listened to Spirit and Bride, which was an amazing Christian band from the early 90′s on an old half-worn cassette tape. I listened to the Statler Brothers.
But see, Supertones, the day my life changed because of you was really a day like any other. We had our chores to do. We had a few fights (and only a little blood was drawn). We probably watched The Adams Family (which was the ONLY movie that 5 Threet children would ever agree on). There was no magical excitement in the air, it was a day like any other. I received your CD as a present – this was when CDs were still kind of a big deal, back when I was nervous about putting a CD in the stereo because heaven forbid I do it wrong and break the expensive machine.
I stared at the cover. Seven men in sunglasses stared back at me. You guys looked great! I had no idea what ska was, by the way. I figured, hey, how bad could these guys be? I used the remote to open the CD tray. Czzh-jjjggg. I wrestled with the cellophane on the CD case. My sisters tried to distract me. I gingerly placed the CD into the tray. Jake ran some GI Joe’s into my foot. I closed the CD tray. I pressed play. The CD player rotated my CD to the back of the stereo. It cycled around a few times to get it’s bearings on the shiny new CD.
I can’t describe the first 7 notes of your first song on that CD in words that are fitting. You know what they are anyways. I can tell you that there are drums and horns and that it’s a smashing way to start an album. You know that. But that doesn’t tell you how my musical world was shattered.
I told you, right, that I listened to country and hokey Christian music for the first 13 years of my life. I didn’t listen to rock, alternative, rap, or anything even remotely close to ska. Your 7 notes absolutely shattered the idea of what music was in my brain. It was this radical new way of looking at music.
I danced around to that CD all day long that day. And the day after that. And the day after that. Your music became a constant theme in my life; something I whistled while at the bus stop and sang in the shower.
Through your first CD I found Five Iron Frenzy and Insyderz and through them I found DC Talk and Jars of Clay and Third Day. But it started with you, Supertones. So I can’t give any other band credit for getting me through a rough spot without first going back to that first day in 1997 when 7 notes rocked my world. I can’t tell Robby Seay Band how much their “Song of Hope” means to me without a nod in your direction because you got me to this point. I can’t tell Jars of Clay how their song “Worlds Apart” is my all time favorite song EVER without a nod to the last song on Supertones Strike Back, “So Great a Salvation.”
You got me here, Supertones. Maybe not by yourself, but those 7 notes that introduce your second album definitely helped pave the way. So thank you. I know you don’t make music anymore – it was 13 years ago, I guess you’ve all moved on to bigger and brighter things. I guess I have too.
But you know what, Supertones? When I was pregnant with my son (who is now 5 months old and super cute) we didn’t bother playing Bach or Beethoven for him. I plugged my ipod into my car and scrolled down to OC Supertones, The. I rolled down to the album “Supertones Strike Back.”
I turned up the volume.
Thank you for your service and your sacrifice. Thank you for dying and living and fighting for me and so many others like me who have no idea what you do on a daily basis. Thank you for protecting our freedom. Thank you for being on the front lines. Thank you.
Dear Mom and Dad,
I miss you guys so much. I can’t believe you’ve been gone a year. It’s flown by and dragged in so many different ways. I’m almost done handling your estate… you guys suck for not having a will, by the way. What a pain! But some good has come from it – I’ve preached pretty heavily about the importance of a will to my friends, and actually convinced a few to get one. Their loved ones would thank you in advance, if they knew.
I hate how things ended for us. I hate that you guys are going to miss out on watching your grand kids grow up, I hate that I don’t have your advice to turn to. I’m glad I have the memories I do have, though. They comfort me when your loss hits me all over again.
I know you guys did the best you could do to raise us, I just wish you would have focused more on yourselves. There was obviously a lot of unspoken pain that had never been dealt with. On both your parts. It kind of breaks my heart, because while we saw glimpses of it I don’t think any of us really realized the full impact of what we were seeing. Of course, does anyone ever really understand? Hindsight being 20/20 and all of that.
Dad, do you remember the first anniversary of Grandma Marie’s death? It was May 2002 and I said something about it and you got so angry at me for bringing it up! It had only been one year, and I was still hurting. I wanted to talk about it, to heal, and you wouldn’t let me have my say. I think about that now and realize that you were hiding from the pain. I’m so sorry that I didn’t see that at the time. I’m not hiding from the pain of losing you, though, because it’s about time our family stopped repeating past mistakes.
Mom, remember the way your face crumpled up when you got the phone call that Nanny died? I remember the way your voice broke and you wailed. I did the same thing when I lost you. I know it’s not fair to say I miss one of you more than the other, but if I’m honest then I miss you most of all. I can’t call you while I’m in the store anymore and tell you about my day. I miss the way you laughed and the joy that you made me feel.
Mom and Dad, not a day goes by that it doesn’t hurt me that you’re gone. I think about the amazing things in my life that are coming up and I mourn your absence. I wish you could still be here. It’s only been a year and it feels like yesterday and a million years ago that you were here hugging me, telling me you love me.
I love you too.