Summers were not the only season you loved. The winters brought a whole new set of joys for you. Snowball fights and snow huts were your thoughts when you were very young. As you grew a little older, skiing was your choice of winter fun. I would drop you and your brother and sisters off at North Park where you would catch the bus to Sundance. How you all loved your ski lessons. You would tell me later how good the tuna fish sandwiches tasted that I would make for you to take with you. When the lessons were over, I would be at the park to pick you up and you would all come home completely exhausted. You would take off your ski gear and grab pillows and blankets and lay on the front room floor to watch TV. Most of you would fall asleep.
You were so good at any sports you tried. In skiing you could do 360's. You would do back flips and land beautifully. Remember Honey, I wanted to send you to an Olympic Camp. How I wish I would have. Perhaps if I had, you would still be with me today. But only God knows.
Remember the time we decided to go skiing as a family, but your dad ended up needing to work. We loaded ski gear on top of the station wagon, along with Haley's little tobaggon and we all piled inside (along with one of your friends.) We got half way up the Sundance road when the snow became too deep for the car to continue so we pulled it to the side. We unloaded kids, skis, boots, poles and loaded them on Haley's little toboggon and each one of you took turns pulling it up the mountain. I kept asking "How much further is it?" and one of you would respond "It's just around the corner, Mom." When we turned the corner, I would be told the same thing to the same question. We made it though and it was a wonderful snowy night as I watched my children. Later we would call your dad and tell him he needed to come and get the car out of the snowdrift.
Your birthday was on December 3rd, so each year that would be the day I would put up our Christmas decorations. It became my tradition.
I remember one year I was stringing lights, as you were lying on the front room couch sick with tonsilitis. Your dad brought you home your BMX bike for your birthday but you were too sick to ride it. That was the same year the decision was made for you and Shannon to have your tonsils out. We even made a family event out of that. You were so brave until you were told to take off your boxers and put on a hospital gown. That was your undoing. "Let's just go home, Mom," you said. "Grandma can make me better." Finally, after the promise of you and Shannon having all the ice cream you wanted, you relented. Was that really so many years ago? I close my eyes and it seems like only yesterday.
Of course, there were things about you I didn't know. One instance I just found out at your funeral service last Friday. Apparently, my niece was tending you and your siblings. (I think I really need to call and apologize to every single sitter I ever hired after hearing the stories I have recently heard.) Diana was tending you and you crawled out your bedroom window and drove off in your dad's truck. You were probably eleven or twelve at the time. Diana was worried sick over you until you finally pulled back into the driveway. "See," you said. "I told you I could drive." Diana said she couldn't get mad at you because you were just so dang cute. Had I known at the time, I would have been mad enough for everyone.
If I close my eyes and listen closely, I can almost hear your laughter as you and your "cronies" (as your dad would call your friends) engage in a heated snowball fight. I can picture the street lamp shining outside our house illuminating the large white flakes being tossed about in the night. I can see you as fear causes a lump in my throat as I see you bizzing down the icy street holding onto the fenders of passing cars. I can hear your dad tell me "He's okay. I did that too when I was a kid. I held the record of thirty-four blocks."
How I love you my darling boy. How greatful I am to have my memories of my "Winter Son."
I miss you Honey.
-to be continued-