Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dear Mama,
The children and I are watching "The Gravy Bunch". I started to tivo some of the shows from my childhood in order to provide the kids with a bit of a peak into who I am. Since I spent so many hours watching television, I felt this was a good place to start. Of course, for the most part they watch preschooler television like "Franklin" or "Calliou" but I must admit to letting them watch lots of old sit coms. Just this morning I overheard Hunter singing, "And it takes different strokes, it takes different strokes. Different strokes to move the world". Perhaps he could be spending his time doing something more constructive but allowing him to watch the tv that I grew up serves more than just a baby-sitter purpose for me. In addition to keeping him preoccupied, it also helps us to have things in common. It is just so much easier for me to curl upand watch "Facts of Life" on demand with them than it is for me to watch "Dora the Explorer". So, he should be well versed in 80's pop culture references by the time he goes to school (if he goes to school) and I'm totally okay with that. At least we'll "get" each other.
At any rate, we are watching "The Gravy Bunch" and I swear I didn't tell him to say that. I called it by its correct name. But when he looked at me and said, "What is "The Gravy Bunch" about?" I couldn't help but say, "What did you say?". And he repeated it. Yep. Gravy. Suddenly I was swept back to lying in your arms at... Ronin's age? while you rocked me in the rocking chair and sang to me with your sweet sweet voice. First you would sing "The Gravy Bunch" and then "Jesus Loves Me" and "You Are My Sunshine" and that is all I remember. That and how great it felt. Our days were so peaceful and soothing. My time with you was so precious. I desperately long to be held in your lap while you sing to me and hold me so tightly. I also can't help but feel a little sad that Hunter is quickly becoming too old to be held and rocked. He is so tall. He is so grown up. And with the occasionally exception, he is so well-mannered, mature, responsible, polite, and likable. We are very similar. It's the girl to whom I cannot relate. Though I love her just as much and sometimes a little more... based upon her big brother's behavior. But regardless, he is the one I feel closest too. Especially now that he's over his daddy obsession and seems to like us both equally.
What I wouldn't give for them to know you. For them to have just a day to peak in on us 16 years ago, shopping and laughing and being the best of friends. It pains me to know that they will never see that, know that, feel that. But I will try my hardest to recreate it for them
. And what's even cooler than anything I can give them is the fact that they have each other. That is a priceless amazing gift. I'm often envious of what they have together.

Your daughter, your sister, your bestest friend,

PS, Look. Hunter loves puzzles like you did.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Picturing it and then lettin' it go.

Dear Mama,
I find myself trying to picture the tiniest little details... like the way that the insides of the closets looked. Or the minutia of your backyard. I wish I knew the names of all of the plants. I wish I'd taken the time to learn everything about you. Yesterday Hunter and I went to the greenhouse at Old Time Pottery and picked out herbs. He asked me the names of all of the plants. He really liked the red geraniums. If not for you, I'd imagine that the word geranium would mean very little to me. But I believe you always got geraniums for the flower beds. After these moments, the ones that send me into a tailspin, grasping at all memories, I always feel the need to connect with people who know you. I have an overwhelming desire to call all of them. So I did. Well, I at least called several of them. Jeff told me that he sat outside on the porch and looked at your tulips yesterday. Only I guess they aren't your tulips anymore. They are someone else's. Because I was told that he sold the house. He sold the house that I grew up in and didn't bother to tell me. He sold the only place that I ever lived until I went away to college and didn't offer to let me come and look inside just one more time. He sold the house that you lived in for over 3o years and didn't call me up and say, "Hey, thought you might like to come and take photos of your children in the same backyard where you used to play when you were their age." He sold the house. And didn't really seem to care how it might affect me. I didn't expect him to keep it. After all, he lives somewhere else and leads the life of someone else now. But common courtesy would require one to at least acknowledge the connection that their child might have to the past. I cannot even imagine treating my own children the same way. These situations, these new found bits of information, always make me cling desperately to people who connect me the most to my past. And so I had a dream last night. And I heard conversations in my head... ones that we used to have about certain people from my past. A certain person who is not a part of my past any more than he is a part of my present. But I've been slapped in the face with the cold hard facts that he is not my future. I'm not even sure what I mean by all of this but I'm swirling around inside of a great storm of loneliness right now. I miss you and I miss having anyone in my life who actually knows me. And while I know that there are certain individuals who will always love me from afar, it's a terrible dead end road I must face to realize that it truly didn't turn out the way that I always figured it would.

My yard is filled with red birds. And I've been reading some really good books lately. Ones that you would have liked. Ones to which you would have related.

Oh and I miss you like crazy, miss you like crazy.
Ever since you went away. Every hour of every day.