Growing up, I was number three, behind a sister and brother in that order. I think in many ways (if my memory doesn't fail me) that I was a surprise, being a boy I mean. There aren't many photos of me as an infant and into toddler-dom, as being number three, my parents had tired of the camera thing. I'm OK with that. I used that as fuel to claim I was adopted to which I usually got a spanking cause my mouth would rattle on.
Any how, I digress. Christina came along, then Bert, then Russell. Now Christy and I were about 2 1/2 years apart and we loved being with my Mom. In fact, I think that Christy and I grew up in every craft and fabric store in Henderson and Las Vegas. We were always close, still are. I can talk to her about anything that is going on in my life if I need to. Back to the story.
So as a second son, I grew up pretty much as a Mama's boy, doing everything in my power to please her, and spending as much time with her as possible. When I hit about 12 or 13, I started helping my Dad at his part time job as a night custodian for the school district, specifically at our elementary school. I think the timing was great. I had a wonderful solid relationship with Mom, and began building the same with Dad. To this day, I count my parents among my best friends as well as my parents (never losing sight of that, even though we could vehemently disagree with each other on various topics).
I remember homemade chocolate chip cookies and homemade bread. "Tuffies", fried bread hot with melted butter. I remember Christmas crafts and divinity flavored with Hawaiian punch concentrate. I remember pumpkin rolls and homemade fudge. I remember her creamed corn (now a staple at many of our holiday meals) and swiss steak with mushrooms, and beef stroganoff over rice. I remember homemade shirts with zippers instead of buttons (think late 60's and early 70's). I remember homemade ice cream and Family Home Evenings (which we groaned about participating in). Sunburns so bad we would be sick and she would take care of us. Mom kissing Dad and us kids telling them to get a room. These are just a few that fill my heart right now.
With Mom's passing, I have felt a void. Something that I didn't think would happen because I had prepared myself for her passing for about the last 12 to 18 months. Even Princess has noticed. I go through the motions, working hard, taking care of the house, spending quality time with Princess, but still there is a void, a selfish void, wanting my Mom here with me but without pain and suffering from Cancer. I know that Heavenly Father's plan calls for us all to be born, to live (however long that may be), and to die. I have a firm testimony of this. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I am amazed at how much I miss Mom. We used to talk two or three times per week, sometimes long, sometimes a quick "hello, I love you". And I am grateful that we had those talks.
I have taken to writing her letters, describing the week's happenings, any good news, and also any frustrations that I may have been feeling. It's has helped me tremendously.
I know the void will be with me for the rest of my life. And I know that time will heal the pain that the void causes within my heart. The letters are like "band-aids" over the wound, or salve for the wound. They really are helping.
Also, I am homesick. I love living here in Central Texas. Princess and I have good friends, some that are family to us, great neighbors and a wonderful Church family, but, I miss seeing my family, holding them in my arms, and having a good laugh with each one of them. I jokingly told Princess to play the Lotto and that if we won, we would move back to Vegas or closer to Vegas, so that we could go and spend long weekends with them. Who knows, stranger things have happened (note, we do not play the lottery - well not that often, only if it is big numbers :-).
Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. Jim