INGWI: For Bonnie, For Her 75th

I bought a watch recently.

It was with the Amazon gift card Janice gave me for Christmas. As I was searching for a way to start this, I realized it was the first watch I’ve had since the one you gave me. I don’t know how I did it but somehow both the hands broke off the face, so I just tossed it. I thought I still had my red face watch that I had for years but Angel said she thought I tossed it too.

I like it a lot. The screen glows orange. I think you’d like it as well.

I made it to 40. I don’t feel it but that’s how old I am according to my birth certificate. Dad came up to Morgantown for my surprise party so that was really cool. I ruined my surprise party because I saw a text about cupcakes not expecting there to be a surprise party to go with them. The party was still amazing though.

Matt came in from New Zealand a short time before my birthday and I got to see him in person three days in a row. It took him moving 18 hours away to bring us closer but it worked. His kids are getting so big too.

We’re on the way to Aaliyah’s gymnastics meet in Columbus now. This will be her first meet she’s competing all 4 events as a Level 4 so she’s super excited. She’s very talented but I worry I passed my performance anxiety onto her. I could play pickup basketball all day but the moment I played a real game, my mind went to mush. I think she’s too smart and too strong for that though.

I helped two ladies at work that I swear could have been you and grandma. Now that I think about it, grandma’s been gone 25 years soon. You always told me that time would start flying and I wouldn’t be able to keep up. Just another time you’ve been right.

In about two months, it’ll be my 20th anniversary with Angel and our 10 year wedding anniversary. I hope you can see what an amazing person she is and how much she’s helped me grow into some semblance of a man. I feel bad I didn’t try to force you to change your opinion on her because you really would’ve loved her. It would’ve given all of us more time together. And you could have met Aaliyah. You would’ve adored her. I know you do now, I just mean in person.

It’s funny because I told Matt a little bit about when you first got back from one of your hypnotherapy conferences and we were sitting on the back porch with just a light on and the light kept flickering and how you told me that was from you because of all the light and energy work you had spent the conference doing. I know I’m not trained other than what I picked up from you but I definitely have some of those talents. I wanted to tell my friend Mike that his dad was standing beside me at his wedding when he and his wife Emily were having their first dance but I didn’t. How do you explain that? I told Angel and she believed me but I felt like it might have been a little too much for him. I’m also scared to really tap into that side of things as well. I know it exists and I believe it exists but I’m an empath already. I’m afraid I might end up with a bad spirit or something. But I digress.

Sorry, I don’t really have anyone I can talk to about that stuff.

Chad seems like he’s over the moon with his kids. He seems like a good dad. Probably because he wants to be better than his dad.

Denise seems to be doing well every time I see her. I know you spend a lot of time with her anyway but I really hope she and Margaret are finding some peace after what happened a few years ago. Judy still looks like you and I want to cry every time I see her, which is usually at Apple Blossom. I haven’t seen anyone else since the funeral. I’m sure you know about what Freddy’s going through and you’re spending a lot of time with him too. No rest for the dead either I would assume.

And yes, I miss her and I still love her and I’ve forgiven her. But I can’t let her negativity into my life. I won’t do it. You know how she is. I love her to death but you know how she is mom.

Can you explain to me why your closet is the only place I still feel you in the house? I haven’t really felt you other than a time or two since about 2017 if I recall but that closet still has a ton of you in there. It’s so weird. I know you loved your clothes but you can’t take them with you no matter how much you’re there.

Dad seems okay. I know some days are tougher than others and he never lets me in when things are rough. I’m pretty sure you and him never wanted to bother me with the bad things. She would tell me how she would always see y’all at your worst and then y’all would perk up when I came home. I’m convinced you two discussed that at some point. I’m proud of him for quitting smoking. I’m wondering out loud if he needs another dog before Jackson goes. I know what he would say no but another bichon wouldn’t hurt would it? I can get one at a shelter, right?

I made sausage gravy for the first time on my own. The first attempt was too salty but I nailed the second one. My sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving weren’t as good as the year before but they weren’t bad. Not yours but not bad. I really miss your macaroni salad. I’ve looked at some but I know it won’t hit the way it needs too. I also want to make goulash again before winter is over. Thanks for the pandemic, I’ve gotten kind of nice at cooking. There’s some misses but I usually make some good stuff. That’s thanks to you.

Angel was watching The Color Purple a few months ago and I saw Shug sing “MIss Celie’s Blues” to Celie for the first time since I saw it with you as a kid. For such a serious film, I have no idea why I thought the way she said “Sister” struck me as funny then but you would laugh so hard whenever I started singing that part. And that reminded me of the time we played the home version of Jeopardy and the final Jeopardy question was about a Chinese or Japanese leader. Not having any clue, I went with the most Asian name I knew at the time: Chun-Li. You laughed for a long time over that one too.

I almost forgot, we all dressed as different Garth Brooks album covers for Halloween at work. We didn’t win the costume contest (I never win) but we had decorated the lobby with photos of Garth and the 4 of us all chose different Garths to be. It was a genius idea but most people thought we were cowboys. Once we said we were all Garth Brooks, most everyone was impressed. It’s uncanny how much of those first few albums of his I still know word for word and note for note.

I did okay on your birthday. There’s been years when it’s hard but this one was fine. Maybe because I knew I wanted to write this letter to you. November is always weird. Mother’s Day is always difficult. It’s always the times when it sneaks up on me when it’s the worst. I just try to acknowledge why I feel the way I do, maybe cry, and try to keep it moving. To be honest, I’m never too far from tears when it comes to you.

I was naive. I assumed you’d be here forever. Then I lost you and Barbara a month apart. I’ve tried to forgive myself for not making more time before but it never really goes away. I could have never left your side and it would still hurt to know I can’t pick up the phone and hear you say, “Hi baby.”

Despite it all, I’m still just a boy who misses his mom. I just hope to remember the times we shared, the things you taught me, and try to keep in mind that you’re always with me. You’ve only come to me in my dreams a few times but I don’t see a lot of actual people I know when I dream anyway.

I think I’m going to try to start a garden this spring too. We’ll see how much of that knowledge actually stuck soon.I could go on but I feel like this is the right place to end. Happy birthday mom. I know you never wanted to make a big deal about it but it was one of my favorite days of the year, especially since it was so close to mine.I’m going to go ahead and say it was one of my favorite days this year because I had the idea to write this to you.

I’ll talk to you soon. I love you.

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