This is such a hard time of year for me. What used to be such a joyous time just isn’t anymore. I try to be positive, and for the most part I am. But there is this pain in my heart that never goes away. Thankfully, “civilians” don't understand the pain...the human brain is not capable of going to that level of pain without experiencing it for one’s self. I miss him. I miss hearing people say his name. I miss his smile, his hugs, his laundry, his dishes in the sink, seeing salt & vinegar potato chips in the cupboard. I miss it all.
So I get through it by remembering wonderful things. Here are a few glimpses into who my Andy really was.
1) Homework – Andy was always a very bright student. When he was in grade school, starting around 2nd grade, he really wanted homework and tests. He would say “Mom, will you make me a math test?” or “Mom, will you make me up a spelling homework?” I used to spend hours some weekends writing up multiple choice spelling tests, addition/subtraction, grammar papers to give him upon request. I always thought that was so sweet. And when he really did have homework later on, never once did I have to nag him about it…never once.
2) The Ritual – every night we did “The Ritual” at bedtime. It never varied. Andy loved continuity and consistency. He would pick out a book. He loved reading and being read to more than anything in life. He could recite the entire book “Are You My Mother?” by 2 years old. His 3 favorite bedtime books were “Are You My Mother?”, “The Very Best Home for Me”, and “The Little Red Hen”. So we’d climb into his bed, and I would read him a story, including title and author, while he snuggled with Spuddy, his bear. Then I would sing “You are my Sunshine”. And then I would tell him a fairy tale starring him. And the fairy tale always ended with “…and Andy fell fast asleep.” And 99% of the time, that is exactly what happened. This is probably my most cherished memory.
3) Christmas memory #1, The Pottery Pitcher – I had placed a bid on a beautiful pottery pitcher at a raffle for a school function. I really, really wanted to win. Well, I didn’t win, but his friend did win it. Oh well. A few months later on Christmas morning, we were opening our gifts and when I opened mine, it was the pottery pitcher. Andy had saved his allowances and bought it from his friend for me. It is my most cherished possession.
4) Christmas memory #2, Dinner – Our last Christmas Eve together, it was getting late, and I was really tired after a long day. Andy said “I’ll make dinner tonight, Mom.” And he did! He made his favorite food on earth, Hamburger Helper haha! Then he said, “you deserve a break Mom” and hugged me. I will remember that night til the day I die.
Andy struggled through some hard times, but that boy had a heart of gold. How lucky can a mother get (and how unlucky to lose him)? I still can’t really believe he’s gone. Thank God he left me such beautiful memories to sustain me until we meet again. Merry Christmas Baby of Mine!