Probably the hardest thing for me this past year (in a year where many things have been vying for that title) is that I no longer see my two amazing nephews very often. Life got complicated for them quite early, and I don't know what else to say. I think we're all doing the best we can.
Older brother turns 4 in a week. It's hard to believe that's true. I've seen him for a total of about 5 hours since he turned 3. But I do know that he is healthy and strong and growing fast. And I'm grateful for all of those things.
I was at my Mom's over Easter weekend and the boys call her occasionally so I was able to talk with them for a few minutes. Being 1 1/2 and almost 4, they're not very interested in long conversations, but hearing their sweet noises were enough. (And by "enough" I mean, thank you thank you thank you thank you.) At one point, their mom whispered to older nephew, "Tell Mimi you got the picture of her surfing!" (I write them letters and send them pictures, material that may or may not contain various surf propaganda, so they won't forget who I am.) And he mimicked to me, "Mimi, I got the picture of you surfing."
And then I could almost hear the lightbulb go on and he said, "Mimi? Do you surf?" I said, "Yes, I do" and he repeated, even more incredulous, "Mimi, do you SURF?" "Yeah, honey. I surf." He repeated that 3 or 4 more times just to make sure. "You SURF, Mimi? Mimi, you SURF?"
That conversation was short but oh so sweet, and when I could tell he'd had enough, I said (contrary to every fiber in my body), "I'm going to let you go. I love you. Bye, sweetie!" And he said back to me, con mucho gusto, "Bye, sweetie!"
A week or so later I received some pictures in the mail of the boys, which was amazing. Both kiddos are bigger than I remember them. I hate it that they're growing up without me. I just have to believe there will be a time at some point in the future when I will be in their lives again.
For now I look at old pictures over and over and over again, and I have a few little videos I play when I can handle the avalanche of sadness they bring. I also read my blog posts about them and try to remember better times. Not one day goes by that I don't think of their great giggles and little hands and unique, individual personalities.
So happy birthday to my Little Tomato. I've prayed for you a thousand times and I'll pray for you a million more. Healthy, happy, kind, strong, beautiful nephews. I love you both.