Hey kid. I started referring to you as M from time to time, which I think sounds kind of endearing and wonderful. I like to draw little pictures of the lowercase m. I stamp it in my little journal and doodle it at work while I'm thinking through a project. Truth is, I'd like to scatter little m's and m phrases all over the city; on trees and sidewalks, on concrete walls, in the front cover of books, with stones in the river, with shells at the beach.
m was here.
Sometimes I wonder if I would have called you this if had you lived. Way to go M, I might have said. Or, happy Thanksgiving M. I always wanted a hip nickname when I was a kid, but unfortunately, all I got was juicy jackson. Hey juicy, pass me the ball! Ain't nothing hip about it. And then in dreaded middle school, one guy started calling me jacksypads. That was a long month.
Your big sister has been calling your mom and I "sweetie" lately. Sometimes when I call her name, she'll say, yeah sweetie? as if it's a completely normal way to respond to someone. I'm pretty sure you would have been added to her selective sweetie list. And I think she would have called you M sometimes too.
Well, today - on the eight month anniversary of your death - would have been your first Thanksgiving. I can just imagine you nibbling on a tiny piece of turkey, and posing for pictures with your buddy Lyla, or getting sideswiped by the older kiddos. If you were going to be anything like your parents, I think you would have had a grand time.
I normally spend the days leading up to Thanksgiving thinking about what I'm grateful for. It's a habit I got from your sentimental Papa Dennis, who always wanted us to share what we were thankful for. And even though you're not here, I couldn't help but to do the same this year.
I'm certainly thankful for you. I know this is complicated, but I'm so glad you're a part of my story, even if I can't always see it. For now, it seems missing you is mostly where I'm at. I'm thankful for your mama. I still can't believe she is all mine. I count my great fortune every single day. Her beauty and intelligence and strength is something that I see every day in your sister and miss every day in you. And your sister, of course, whose very existence feels like a miracle. She is simply perfect. I'm thankful for those family and friends who talk about you openly, for those who ask how we're doing, for those who don't ingnore or diminish what we have lost, for those we can be our whole selves with. I'm thankful for our new friends, who feel like a gift from you. The first of many, I hope. And I'm thankful for less important things like the movies and a job that allows me to work with my hands.
Even without you in my arms, even with the brokenness that I feel, there is much to be grateful for. Thanks for helping me remember.
Sometimes in the quiet mornings, before the sun has come up, when it's just the two of us, these little chats bring me comfort. I like to imagine the world consisting of just you and I, that I'm the only person on earth in these moments that is thinking of you, talking with you, picturing your face. There is a sacredness in this space my dear. Don't worry baby, your memory is safe with me.