Saturday, March 15, 2003

Dear Henry:

Things don't always turn out the way you plan. I didn't want to tell Jack about Aunt Ida, but cousin Hannah was coming into town with Aunt Jen and Uncle Dan so I knew I had to say something. I don't remember the whole conversation but I do know that I told him that Aunt Ida was supposed to be 104 this week but her body just couldn't make it. I told him how I was really old before anyone I knew or loved died. Actually, I just figured out I was 28. That's old, right. Do you remember how you and I used to walk around with my cane after I had knee surgery last year saying, "I'm an old maaaaan," in our old man voices. Meanwhile, Mommy had said something to me that I repeated to Jack. He needed to know that it isn't normal for people you know to die every few months. That just doesn't happen. What is happening to us now is an exception to the rule. I said to Jack that I could not guarantee that no-one else will die for quite some time, but I am pretty sure that will be the case. I'm so sorry he has to be so grown up. You had to be too grown up, too.

Jack had a sleepover at cousin Michael's last night. Mommy is in New York (don't worry, she's going to the Pokemon store. I know that is going to be hard) with Sam I Am's mommy, Karen. I was thinking today about how we used to play rocketship with the stroller whenever you, me, Jack and Mom were in New York. I'd lean the two of you backward so you were looking up at the sky and I'd countdown 10, 9, 8, 7, 6... and rock the stroller side to side while running with you that way down the street. Then we'd play "runaway stroller." We also sang the alphabet song a lot when we'd walk around the City. New York was always so much fun: the rock slide at the playground at 68th Street (oh my god, you kept going down that again and again and again, you were so beautiful); the petting zoo in Central Park; climbing rocks; Gus, the Polar Bear; the Pokemon Store; the Disney Store and FAO Schwarz.

It was nice outside today so I took Joe to Guy Mason to play. He said hello to a dog and went down the slides.

I don't think I've been to Guy Mason to play since the fall, before going up to Minnesota. He liked the swings back then, but wasn't too pyched about them today. We had a lot of fun anyway. We watched some boys practicing baseball. Some of my favorite memories are when we would sit behind the backstop at Stoddert watching softball games. When they were done, you and I would go on the field and I'd pitch to you. Mom took you and Jack there a lot when she got home from work. She always had extra energy for you two when she was exhausted from working all day. She's amazing.

It was fun going to see the Twins and taking batting practice. You hit on the tee right behind the backstop. You whacked the ball. This is you talking to Corey Koskie. They are still trying to get a baseball team here. It would have been fun to go to games here in Washington, like I did when I was a kid.

Don't tell Mom, but at one point this afternoon Joe was walking down the sidewalk on Calvert Street in just his socks and a diaper. He seemed to be chasing his shadow. It was super long in the afternoon sun. Do you remember how you used to walk up the street to Rich and Jill's all the time to eat their Rollo's. I think they put them out just for you. Rich was back in the neighborhod last night. Cati's baby wants to come out but it is too early for it to be born. So I helped watch Nina and David while Chuck was at the hospital with Cati. I was pretty scared for them, but it felt good that I could do something to help. Chuck came over and took David and Nina home. Then Rich came by and let Chuck go be with Cati at the hospital. I'll let you know what happens.

I often get very sad when I am spending a lot of time with Joe. Maybe it is because Joe cannot talk. He does have a few words now, like "mine," "car," which comes out "ar," and he calls Jack, "ack." There was a character in the comics a while ago named Bill the Cat. He made me laugh. He always said "ack," too.

I am scared of spring. I'm scared of all the changes it brings. Spring is the time when nature comes back to life. You're not. Even though you are gone I know the warmer weather will feel good and make me feel good. No matter how sad I am, spring will put a smile on my face and make my heart beat a little stronger and faster. It always does. I bet it is like the feeling you had whenever you were about to see Bella, or knew Mommy was coming home from New York with brand new Pokemon figures.

Today we went to the shoe store. Jack got these sneakers because Michael has a pair just like them. Pretty sporty, huh.

Your silvery Nike sneakers, the ones we got in Minnesota at Galyans (or did we get them at Jeannie's in September for school, like it says on the card), are still in the nightable in Joe's room. What do we do with stuff like that. Will Joe wear them when he gets big enough. Do we give them away. Do we throw them away. Do we keep them somewhere forever.

I grabbed your shoe buying history card when I paid for Jack's shoes. You were a size 12. Big feet, big heart. I am a size 12, too. My feet seem to keep growing. What's up with that? Seeing your name on that card and those entries made me want to cry. But I didn't. I wish I could remember every single trip we made to buy you shoes. Did you pet the big dog that sleeps in the store the same way Joe did today? I do remember how your feet were so beat up by the graft versus host disease. That should have made me cry, but I didn't.

Tonight when I tucked Jack into bed I told him that I love him. The second after I said that I realized he never tells me he loves me. You always did. Thanks. Jack will never offer up a kiss unless I kiss him or ask him for one. He also backs away whenever I try to plant one on him. So, knowing the answer but not knowing if he'd respond, I decided to ask Jack if he loves me. He got shy all of a sudden and softly said, "Yea." Yeah! I've always thought it is interesting that no matter how much you show someone you love them, you need to tell them as well. It is the same with sadness. Even though we know everyone is sad because you died, we still need to hear it. I don't know why that is, it just is.

I wish we were up watching TV or a movie together instead of me writing this to you. Pokemon 4 is coming out on DVD next week. You never got tired of watching things over and over, going down slides over and over, giving kisses over and over. I miss you over and over and over and over.

Dude, I love you so much.


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