We found that little cedar house that was available to lease in Salcha, Alaska. It had been a cute little house, but the people who had lived there before had thrashed it. It was so dirty. They had raised dogs in one of the bedrooms and the smell was awful. The price was right, and if we could get the owner to let us clean it for the first month's rent, it would work for us.
You and I painted and your dad cleaned forever on the bathrooms and the garage. The boys helped pull up carpets and we replaced them. Stoves were cleaned, cupboards scrubbed, windows were washed and before long, we had a home. I was prepared to make do with whatever we could find for furniture, but the people were so kind. Soon, we had enough. We had a cute little home that sit back in the pines with moose coming into the backyard.
On "Survivor Night" we would all load in your truck and head to Haley's for our Survivor Party. One night it was dark and cold. The roads were iced and snow blew across the road limiting sight. You knew riding in cars was a thing that had scared me all my life. I think it was handed down genetically to me through my dad who was in such a bad automobile accident, he never drove afterward. You were driving and your dad was riding shotgun. I was sitting in the back seat. After a few minutes, you turned and asked "Are you praying, Mom?" I was. You knew me so well.
Your unselfishness always amazed me honey. Even in that little house, when Jen moved up to stay a while with us, you instantly without a word, gave up your bedroom. Jen moved into town, and Shannon and the girls moved in with us, and you passed your room on to them. I never heard you complain about any sacrifices you made. I guess that is one of the things that made you so loved by so many people.
I didn't know then my darling son, what I know now. I didn't know the time would come when I would move heaven and earth if I could be back in that little cedar house with you, your boys and your dad. I didn't know how much I would miss your making a peanut butter sandwich or the way you would cross your legs, or the way you would clean your ears with a q-tip. I didn't know how much I wish I could see you drying your hair with a towel and then flipping your head to put it in place. I didn't know how much I would miss watching Grumpy Old Men with you. How many times did we watch that show? How many times did we laugh at the same spots.
I miss washing your clothes and cooking you meals and talking about all the things we used to talk about. I miss the smell of Marlboro Reds. I miss your hands; the way they looked like my dad's.
I miss laughing until my sides hurt at some of the things you use to say. I miss seeing you put your arm around your sons and telling them you love them. I miss your asking me if I had an extra cup of coffee.
I didn't know honey. I didn't know that someday I would be missing all the things that made you you and I would be missing them so much I'd think my heart could break in two. So my sweet boy, most of the time I need to put all the memories on a shelf in my mind. Looking at them is so painful. Not remembering is a means of saving myself.
But then the time comes when I can't help but remember. I can't help but miss you.
I'm glad you're my son sweetheart. I'm glad I got to be your mom.
Leave me a feather. Let me know you're around me.
For ever and ever my baby you'll be.