My memory dulls after so many years without him. I must not allow it. It helps to make a list. Write it down so I’ll never forget. I must remember not only the good times, but the struggles too. I must remember the love as well as the pain. The fear of forgetting is strong. I will not let it win.
I remember the questions when he was so young. What’s that? What’s that? What’s that? It’s a helicopter, it’s a truck, it’s a bird. It went on and on…The richness of my child’s love is something that changed me forever, in such a good way. It made me stronger. It made me invincible.
I will never forget the compliments. He said I was pretty. He liked the way I made spaghetti and homemade pizza. He liked my gentleness while putting on the band-aid after a scrape from crashing on his bike.
I remember the birthday cakes, the presents, Christmas. He loved Thanksgiving day the most because that’s when the family got together without the pressure of having to get presents. He was wise young man. He loved to laugh. He laughed at the simple, silly things like someone tripping on a rug. His laugh was a giggle much like my own.
He loved the family times. He loved his grandmas. He said he was kind of short on grandpas though. He questioned things then accepted them as they were. His eyes lit up when he told me something I didn’t know, like what his favorite cousins were doing.
I never want to forget the tickling and the hugs. He gave hugs that were full of his love. Tight, long hugs. They were the best. I remember the times I looked in on him when he was sleeping. His face was like an angel then. I loved those quiet moments.
I remember relaxing his fears after bad dreams, stroking his forehead. calming his mind. I gave him back rubs and massages. He would return the favor too. He liked to walk on my back to give it a good crack. It was funny when he would get unbalanced and almost fall off.
I remember our fights. I remember how his face got red as he cried with all his energy. He fought with his brother a lot. Recalling these times isn’t so fun, but it’s part of the whole experience.
His eyes were kind and fun-loving, mischievous sometimes. His smiles could bring out the sun they were so genuine. He had a conversation with my neighbor when he was twelve, I think. He grew up so fast. You could tell he wanted to be thought of as someone with experience, someone who could relate to different people.
I used to joke with him saying he should grow up to be a doctor or lawyer. He wanted to be a farmer. He would have made a good one. He loved all of the animals. Chickens, horses, the whole farm experience. He got his wish at the end.
He struggled in school sometimes. I had to replace his math book a couple times. Too many rules, I think. He defended the underdog. If there was a kid with no friends, He stood by him. He was truly a compassionate child.
I remember his deep love of music. He liked the funny songs like “Labamba” and “Walk Like an Egyptian”. He liked Bruce Springsteen and ZZ Top. He would sing those songs with all his heart. I can see and hear him in my mind.
He loved the roller blades. They gave him freedom. He told me he would ride them down the country roads. That made me feel uneasy. At the end he was out of my supervision. He called one time and told me how much he missed me and wished I could come down there and live with all of them, so sincere and innocent.
I kept his green sweatshirt with the gray stripes on the sleeves. I used to wear it, hug it and smell it. I never wanted to wash it. I always want to remember everything.