I don't really make New Years Resolutions...not real ones anyway. I am always very resolute that I am going to get skinnier and then on New Years Day we eat those blasted cheese balls, rolled sandwiches, and the leftover Christmas candy. Strike one, two, and three.
But every time it's time for a birthday, I become super reflective and resolute, especially this year.
Friday I lost someone with whom many memories reside. I still can't believe the words as they come out of my mouth when I have to repeat the story over and over. I still shudder with the words "he died", "he's dead", "he passed on". Reality has yet to set in and it's got me to thinking. You see, we always celebrated our days of birth one day apart. We lived next door to each other all our lives and we used to play "trade off". That means that I got to choose what we'd do one day, and the next day he would choose. It would end up looking something like this:
Monday: Barbies, House, eat jellybeans and taffy from Mrs. Hansen's house.
Tuesday: Nintendo, Nintendo, drink punch and have a colored mustache (He ALWAYS had a colored mustache from his drinks.)
Wednesday: Barbies, House, eat cherries right off the tree in the backyard.
Thursday: Nintendo, tackle football, sneak raspberries off of Mrs. Hansen's raspberry bushes
Friday: Hours of 'Simon Says' and 'Red Light, Green Light' on Mrs. Hansen's driveway, Barbies, and Nightgames.
Saturday: Nightgames all day, sneak fruit and candy from the houses in the neighborhood
Sunday: Church, dinner, and then meet all the neighborhood kids outside for nightgames or to put on a play, whichever we were in the mood for.
Then Jr. High and High School happened. I was a choir nerd and he was the star quarterback so we didn't converse much. One Friday night, I was missing his friendship and our colored mustaches so much, I made him cookies and walked next door after he had won another football game for our High School. I handed him his cookies and said "good job buddy" and that was that. I think we both knew that someday we would reconnect.
Which we did, sitting through Young Single Adult class at church. Saving grace of those lessons? Him. Remarks under his breath always killed me. Not taking things too seriously...so refreshing.
He and my older brother stayed especially close...like talk every couple of days kind of close. We would text sometimes and he would make me laugh and we would run into each other and chat and chat. He always had something funny to say and he always had on nice shoes. He loves his shoes. I really hope that when he is buried this weekend that he will get to wear one of his favorite pairs of shoes. I think he will.
So, with 25 just around the riverbend and Aaron's passing I've decided that this is the year of relationships. They will come before everything else. I will reconnect with so many that I have lost touch with. We will "do lunch" and chat in the restaurants late into the night until they kick us out. We will spend time together because time is really all we have to give. Aaron and I missed a few years because we just didn't run with the same crowd, but it's ok because we got it back and we'll get it back even more when we see each other again.
So, Happy Birthday to us. I'm so sorry that we don't get to celebrate this one together, but I'll make up for it. I'll reconnect and give some time to so many...for you and for me.
So, please rest in peace. This neighborhood will never be the same without you. Watch over everyone. Take care of us. We'll see you soon.