We were fresh, clean, and ready to hit Broadway. That first night, you and Mark were so protective of your mom and sisters. Mark would take the lead, with us sandwiched in between and you would follow up in back. Although we appreciated your protectiveness, we were happy when you relaxed a little bit. I can't remember which show we saw the first night. We had tickets for Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserable, and Beauty and the Beast. I remember sitting in my seat during Beauty and the Beast during intermission. You had gone out into the foyer and returned with a red rose for me. That was my boy.
On Sunday, 9/9/01, we boarded the tour bus and we were off. We arrived at the World Trade Center and standing outside before going in you said, "I sure hope we don't get bombed." We went to the top floor and looked out over New York City. There were some Asian guys there who kept looking at you, chattering away. They followed you around and finally you found out what their interest in you was. They thought you were Clint Eastwood's son. So as not to disappoint them, you autographed their pictures for them and they invited you to visit their homes if you ever made it to the far east.
We went to Battery Park and caught the Ferry to Liberty Island. Of course, you and Rainee played "Titanic" by you both standing at the bow with your arms outstretched. It would take us a long time taking pictures to get one just right that would look like you and Mark were holding up the Statue of Liberty. We might have caught the image sooner, had we stopped laughing long enough.
We toured Ellis Island and road the subway to Coney Island. The ride itself was entertaining to say the least. Susan practiced her pole dancing and subway surfing, and we got pictures of you and Rainee using a man sleeping as your prop. We had the world famous Nathan Hot Dogs and you and Mark had frog legs.
I remember sitting there in my subway seat, watching you and your siblings and marveling that you all were mine. I watched you all laugh, and talk, joke and you were just grown up versions of the silly little kids that use to run around in our little red brick house.
I wondered how it had happened that I was your Mom. It certainly wasn't because I was smarter or wiser. I just decided that perhaps, as spirits, God gave us a chance to draw straws to see who would get to be the mother...and I won.
The next day, we left your sisters to go sight-seeing while you, Mark and I rented a car and headed to New Jersey. I knew you were apprehensive. You were quiet during our drive there and when we entered the doctor's office I kept wondering if by chance you might back out from having the implant. You didn't though. The Naltrexone tablet was inserted just under the skin, to the left side of your lower back. I prayed this would be the answer to your addiction. Perhaps if you could stay off drugs for a while, you would see that you could do it permanently. You were warned that when the tablet dissolved, if you took as many pills as you had grown accustomed to, it could kill you.
You said you weren't in much pain, so my two boys and I decided to tour Philadelphia. We went to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall and toured the cobbled streets of this birthplace of democracy. We got lost trying to find our way back to NYC and ended up seeing the rural farmland of New Jersey. After driving through some of the less desirable districts of New York, we finally made it back to the hotel in time for you to rest a while until your sisters arrived and we hit the night life of New York once more.
I thought of your Dad back home, taking care of business as usual. How I appreciated his support in trying to help his son. He never told you in words that he loved you. He wasn't a man to give hugs and kisses. Neither had his dad. It bothered you and Mark that he didn't. It didn't bother your sisters like it did you two. I told you both that you had the option of changing things; of breaking the chain so to speak. You could break that chain by telling your own children that you loved them. You could break it by showing affection to your own. And my darling son, that is just what you did. You never left the house nor had your boys leave the house without telling them you loved them. You gave your hugs freely to them. Your showing of affection was not only given your sons, but it was given freely and easily to others you loved. And I was blessed to be among the ones you loved.
- to be continued -