Sunday, January 26, 2003

Hey Henry:

I've been reminded lately of the time, right before we went to Minnesota, that we went for a haircut. Since you were supposed to be in isolation I thought we'd be safe on this particular Wednesday morning because I thought there wouldn't be anyone else at Bradley Barbers. But there was some kind of "professional" day or something and kids in Montgomery County didn't have school. So we got there and had to sit in the last seat near the door while we waited for an open chair. You were wearing your mask. There were two brothers walking out and I wasn't focused on it, but I thought I heard one say something to the other about you. I asked you what he said and you told me not to worry about it. I was all ready to open up a can of whup-tushy on him and you were totally non-concerned and telling me to relax. Who was the kid and who was the dad. Thanks for helping me understand what is important.

Mom and I are ready to come out to the cemetery. We are planning to visit on Thursday. I asked mom how we are going to ever leave once we get there. Mom said it all depends on whether I think you are actually there. That's a tough one. I know you are in everyone's heart, but at the same time both me and mom can't help but think you are in your bed down the hall. But we did bury your body at the cemetery. Mommy said that she took her shoes off when she left the gravesite after the service because for years she worried how she’d ever walk away from burying you. There was 4 inches of freezing water soaking the ground. To tell you the truth, I am glad Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix is coming out in the summer. It would be tough to sit out in this frigid air and read to you. It's definitely electric blanket weather out now.

Mom went up to New York today for 2 days. Whenever she went away for her in vitro cycles and left you and Jack with me, you guys would make her pay for it when she got back. You wouldn’t be your normal sweetest guys in the world, but that’s okay because after a few hours or so you’d come around and let her know how much you love her. I bet you never did that on purpose or even realized it, but it always happened. It's a kid thing. Then you or Jack would say "Mama," which would make mommy melt and all would be fine. I miss Mama a lot right now. It is hard to be away from her and you.

Since Mom had to go to New York, Jack and Joe and I decided to take a field trip to the Maryland Science Center and the aquarium in Baltimore. On our way up to Baltimore we were passing by JPDS and Jack said to me, “Henry’s toys are my toys now.” I said that you would have wanted it that way. I told Jack that if you knew you were never going to wake up again, before you were intubated you probably would have told Jack to play with your toys. Then Jack said, “Maybe Henry thinks he is just still sleeping, maybe he thinks he is still in surgery asleep.” It is very sweet that he is thinking about you this way, making sure you are okay.

Thankfully, Baltimore wasn’t only Hopkins and the 8th floor clinic and Weinberg garage. Do you remember when we went to the Orioles game this summer? How did we have such great tickets?

Today we parked on the same side street where we parked in September when you, me and Jack went to the Science Center. You don’t know this but when we were in Minnesota I actually talked to the folks at the clinic there about what it takes to get a handicapped parking permit. Even though we usually had to carry you places, I never felt or wanted to believe we qualified. What made me think it was time.

Guess what, The Lion King is playing in the IMAX theater in the Science Center. You told me that you wanted to go see that. Man, so do I, so do I. Hey, did the big crab move when we were there? It was moving today and it was really cool. We went around the exhibits and we saw a “Stinkpot Turtle.” The Stinkpot lets loose a bad smell if disturbed or threatened, just like a skunk. How’d we miss that when we went this fall, us, the kings of stinky feet? The Stinkpot that lives in the exhibit sleeps in a log for solitude. I thought that sounded nice. For some reason it made me think of you.

They had a Lego marine life exhibit and had created a submarine out of yellow blocks. What was really amazing was the totally Lego toilet. There was also an exhibit of the Visible Human Project, which were really neat photos of the inside of a man who had died. I always used to tell you that you had probably more pictures taken of your insides than the outside.

When we were there in September, you bought a Star Wars pin at the gift shop. Today I bought you Loosy, a Canadian Goose Beanie Baby. I put it up on your pillow for you. Oh yeah, don't worry, I made sure to cut off the tag.

You can see that he is waving to you.

Jack and Joe and I walked back around the Inner Harbor and stopped and had dinner at California Pizza Kitchen. No-one was out. I think everybody was home getting ready for the Super Bowl. I really couldn't care less about football right now. When we headed back to the car it had gotten dark and snow was starting to fall. It was really cold and Jack wasn’t moving too fast. He was busy catching the big, fat flakes in his mouth. My favorite, most yummy thing in the whole wide world was keeping your ears warm. I know you liked it too when I’d cover your entire ear with my mouth and blow warm air on it to make it warm.

As we drove back the snow was really coming down. I asked Jack if we could listen to this CD of your favorite songs that we made to give away to people who came to the Shiva. I said that it would be nice to play it and think of you since you couldn’t be with us. Everything seemed so right and familiar today with the exception of you not being in your car seat trying to crack up Joe. Listening to the Henry CD, something I haven’t done in weeks, made me start to cry. I looked back because I heard Jack singing along and it looked like he had tears in his eyes. He was blinking his eyes and looking really sad. Joe was crying too, but he was just trying to poop. Through the tears and the snow it was really hard to see. I should only get sad on nice days.

I love you.


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