I guess it has been, technically, nine or so years since we've talked. I tend to think it has been more like ten. You really weren't yourself those last nine or so months.
I am not sure how much you've been keeping up with everyone these last nine years so I thought an update might be in order. If you've stayed abreast of everyone while you've been gone then, well, here it all is anyway (in case you missed something).
You would be so proud of Craftsman. He is very much his father's son. Everyone always labeled me the creative one. You left before seeing his creativity find a medium. He's started his own remodeling/contracting company and is turning away business already. He has such a gift of looking at a room and seeing what it COULD be. He then has the vision to make it happen.
It amazes all of us how he can try something he's never done before and his vision and determination make it happen. You should swing by his house sometime and look at the amazing poker table and coffee tables he made. They are 100% his designs. He imagined them and then realized them. There is nothing more creative than that. As much as I've loved being viewed as the talented artist in the family, he's more than proved he is as much, if not more, of an artist than I.
Everybody thought I got my artistic gifts from you. He is proof that we got it from both you and Dad. Dad, like Craftsman, was, and is, an artist. Craftsman has his same vision. The ability to build and create. To see a space as a puzzle, an area as a challenge and to take wood, nails, paint, varnish and solve the problem that nobody else even realized existed.
He's also become an amazing man. He has your warmth and uncanny ability to make any stranger see a new best friend. Everybody he meets immediately sees his warmth and genuine kind heart. To this day I've never heard him say a bad word about anyone. He somehow seems to always find the best in everyone he meets. Even if they may not deserve it. He's more like you than any of us expected.
His open-heart policy makes him pretty vulnerable; not unlike you were. We all try and protect him from being hurt or taken advantage of. He's learning. He's figuring out that sometimes you have to be a little selfish so there is enough of you to give to the ones you love. Hell, its been years since he's lived down here in FL and a week does not go by that someone doesn't ask me about him or tell me to say hello to Craftsman for them.
I can't wait until that special girl comes waltzing into his life. Jesus, she is only lucky chick. He is going to make quite a husband and an incredible father. She's out there right now and has no idea what a great future lies ahead for her. I often wonder if you know who she is.
I wonder about you all the time.
Sister has been doing one hell of a job since you left. You were the glue that held us all together but when you took off, she picked up the bottle and kept everything stuck together. She is so damn thoughtful. You know how we all think, "I should write so-and-so" or "I should do this for so-and-so sometime"? We all think of stuff like that. She, on the other hand, actually does it. She sits down and writes the letters, mails the pictures, remembers the birthday or buys a little thing that proves she was thinking about you.
She makes sure us boys don't get too sharp edged. She's been my guiding light through some really strange and difficult times. She's been there for Dad more than I think she even realizes. She's teaching now and back in NC. I volunteered in her class when she was teaching down here.
There are some teachers out there that do it because they got nothing else they can do. Others do it to be a little powerful and have a little influence. Some actually do it because they give a shit. God, does she give a shit. She has your tenderness.
You always looked at us kids and saw all of the potential even we did not see. You saw every small accomplishment or accolade we got not as an isolated event but as part of the natural path we were taking to becoming what you already saw us as. Sister is just like that with every child she teaches. I use to love hearing her talk about the kids when she came home. It gives you hope about what the next batch will bring to this world.
Youngest graduated this year. Can you believe that all four of your children have degrees now? He's starting to find his path. There is nothing he cannot do. His personality is infectious. If you can spend more than thirty minutes with him without laughing so hard your face hurts, you have some serious problems. He always finds humor and is always there when a laugh is exactly what everyone needs.
He is very much like Craftsman. He has your ability to make new friends by just being him. None of us know exactly where he is headed now that school is closed and done. I know that whatever he finds he will excel at. You don't have to look too hard or too long before you see his talents, kindness and work ethic.
Dad is having the toughest time since you left. After being kicked in the teeth for so many years before he met you, then having 24+ years of happiness with you, it is so hard to see him back at the business end of the kicking. The part of him that left when you did has not filled back up again. In fact, its been sucking happiness from his life ever since.
He can't seem to get ahead or find the ability to get it all straight. Nobody can blame him. He was given a nasty ticket to a shitty movie and you and us kids are the only intermission. I hope their is a great twist at the end of the picture that none of us sees coming.
I hope, just as our hero is surrounded, out of supplies and bullets and his horse is dead the calvary appears on the horizon to scoop him up. You know we all miss you but Dad can't seem to quite live right with you gone. Us kids got things covered. Just keep an eye on him and pull any stings you got to make things a little better for him. He's had enough and deserves a break.
As for me... its been a crazy nine years. I graduated from school a few months after you left. I got married... then divorced. I got moved down here to South Florida and spent several years wondering if I was ever going to find anyone.
Were you able to hear me when I was lying in bed all of those nights talking to you? Did you hear me ask you how much longer was I supposed to wait? Did you have anything to do with me finally meeting A*?
I hate that she's never met you. You two would be instant best friends. She is so good to me and she sees in me the things you always saw. She loves me for the reasons you love me. She was so worth waiting for. If you had anything to do with her coming into my life then I guess I owe you another one.
I'm so anxious to get my life started with her. I can't wait until we have our first daughter. For some reason I know I will see so much of you in her little face.
I fucking miss you so much.