Occasionally, others write you letters. I include them here because I love having the complete collection. Today I got another in the mail from Mindy. I read it several times, cried through them all but have since felt pretty good. So I thank her for writing to you. Here it is:
So, your mom has been writing to you, and since we lost you, I have been thinking about your mom a lot and I thought maybe, since she talks to you about everyone else, you might want to know some things about her that she might not tell you or you may not know.
I met your mom almost ten years ago in Boston. She was at her school working on a Saturday and popped into a training I was attending in the classroom next door. I know that you know about her gorgeous red hair, but between that and her sheer energy and easy going manner, she caught my attention. I could tell she was smart and she was young and cared about teaching in a way that a select group of people do. I knew immediately, I wanted to get to know her better, that she was someone I wanted to call a friend and a colleague. Your mom has that affect on everyone, by the way. She has a spark and energy that makes people gravitate towards her. She is interesting and spunky and really, really fun. Her students absolutely loved her and her endless patience and her gift for making everyone feel special made her a fantastic teacher – particularly for those kids who took more time, more patience, and more love. You were – without a doubt – the beneficiary of those well honed skills. Both she AND you handled an incredibly unfair deal with such grace and strength that I admire you both an amount I could never put into words or quantity.
I ended up getting to know your mom. In fact, in a way, I became her groupie. I spent time in her classroom learning from her and getting to know her better. Watching her build and sustain relationships with kids who needed a lot. In fact, I have this distinct memory of a troublesome boy in her room (troublesome for some teachers). But, your mom…she knew just how to handle him. And Jake, this won’t surprise you at all – she snuggled with him. He needed extra love and support. He would sit on her lap in circle time and be as happy as could be, simply by having your mom lay her hand on his back or shoulders.
You know what else? She was also a bit wild in the most fun way. She has pizzazz. She has style, and now that I think about it a bit more, I think she was in the midst of living on the wild side for a few months. At that point, she hadn’t met your dad and was, I realize now, transitioning from one milestone to another; preparing herself for the next phase of her life that would involve your dad, your brother and you, my dear one. The next thing I knew, we each had a family and were able to travel together the road of learning the ins and outs of being a mommy, mostly laughing at ourselves and the absurdity of aspects of our daily lives. That is one thing your mom is really good at – laughing.
I have watched your mom through this journey with you and I have cried for her and for you. It is so unfair. We all wanted so desperately to fix everything for you. But I have also learned so much from your mom on this long road. I have so much admiration for her strength and honesty and I know that she would trade in all that strength and honesty and poise if she could have you back. You are her world Jakey. You are still her world and this journey is not over. Your mom is already planning how she can help more kids like you, so that you may live in all our hearts and the hearts of others for forever. You should be proud, Jake. She is one amazing mom. And she is yours.
Jakey – It is true – I would trade anything that is good about me to have you back. And I am so grateful to Mindy – she reminded me more of the part of me that seems so long ago and far away. The part of me that few in Saratoga Springs know about. And she made me remember how perfect we were for each other. I was preparing for my life with you long before I met you and while I wish our time together was longer, I am reminded that we were meant to be. And for that I will always be grateful.
Happy Valentine’s Day,