Today would've been your 48th birthday. I can't believe it has been 22 years since you've been gone. 22 years. All of us kids have made it past 26 years old. It's crazy to look at the numbers and see just how much you've missed.
We're all doing great. M is in Texas serving our country. B is a department manager at Home Depot in California. And R is also serving in the military in Massachusetts. He just came back from Afghanistan.
You have three grandchildren who are all growing up so fast. Bean will be six in October, Buddy will be four in July, and little C is one. How I wish you could've met them all and those to come.
I haven't looked at this picture recently, but the memories of that moment are engraved on my heart. I'm glad you were "there" and I wouldn't have had it any other way. Grandma was unsure about it because of what others may have thought. No disrespect to her, but I didn't care. I wanted you there. I needed you there.
I have many of your qualities, but not because you were around since you weren't able to be there due to your military service, but because we were raised by the same parents. Sure they're crazy. Whose parents aren't? My kids think I'm crazy and we haven't even hit the teen years yet. I wouldn't trade those qualities for anything because it connects me to you.
Before we moved to Colorado, I found some of your things when you were deployed. It wasn't easy going through them. I touched each page knowing that you once held them in your hands. I breathed them in. To see and hold the letters I sent to you among your personal affects neatly put together with love was heartbreaking, but I also got a little glimpse into who you were. You were strong and you did the best that you could under the circumstances. I get why you did what you did, but it doesn't make it any easier.
I miss you, Mama. Happy Birthday!