Can we just 'talk'? Right now I don't want to be a writer because frankly, I've been at this keyboard since 9:00 this morning and right now it's 3:01 and every word I attempt to write gets deleted because I just can't seem to get it right. So, if it's okay with you, let's just have our own heart-to-heart. I don't want to think about sentence structure or punctuation.
Nathan, left, brother AJ, center, and dad Greg on right
I want to go back to the day I became painfully aware of Nathan Allison. Of course I'd known him his entire life - even before he was born. His mother and father have been some of my closest friends since the cradle - Cheri was even in my wedding - and while she was pregnant with her precious Nathan, I was expecting a bundle of joy of my own.
Cheri's June delivery brought her a beautiful, blue-eyed boy, with a tuft of blonde hair on the top of his head. My delivery that September also produced a beautiful blonde, blue-eyed boy, but not the same happy ending.
It was no surprise to my family that just hours after delivery, I sought refuge in Greg and Cheri's home. It felt so peaceful and comforting to hear Cheri's soothing voice, to hear her promise that she'd be there for me and know within a shadow of a doubt that she would be.
Nathan, who had been napping in his nursery, started to cry. Still Cheri stayed by my side. He cried a little louder and I wondered why she didn't go to him. Finally, she said to me, "I am so sorry. I know that seeing a baby right now will hurt you, but I really need to go to him."
Soon, she re-appeared with Nathan in her arms. I won't lie. For a split second I felt something that I'd never felt before. It was all so new so I can't describe it as pain. Not yet. That would come later. It was more like 'empty'. My arms felt empty. I asked to hold him. They needed to have something in them.
"Are you sure?" Cheri thought it was too soon. But I insisted.
Just as he started to nestle in my arms he smiled. I can attest to the fact that he had the same smile at 3 months that he did until the day he left us for bigger and better things.
It was that same smile he had when he would sit by mother in church 5 years later and push the button on her Mickey Mouse watch so it would play the Mickey Mouse theme, during the prayer when the whole auditorium was the quietest. "Who's the leader of the band that's made for you and me M-I-C K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E" Then he'd erupt into fits of laughter. Each time he sat by her he swore he wouldn't touch that watch. She always (foolishly) believed him.
I soon came to understand Cheri's concern for me that September day. Not long after, I found that just the mere sight, smell or sound of a newborn served as a cruel reminder of what I'd lost.
The funny thing is, I didn't feel like that with Nate. Every thing he did from that moment on was like a measuring stick for me as to what Jayson would be doing had he lived. He would be taking his first step....his first day at school...prom...graduation...
The last time I saw him was summer of 2005. It was church and he was at the Lord's Table serving communion. He still had that impish grin. He was tall and lanky.
I thought about telling him that day how special he was to me. How every time I saw him I could 'see' my Jayson doing those same exact things.
But I didn't.
Not that he needed to know or to hear it. No, Nathan had more friends than you could shake a stick at. He was not lacking for love, that's for sure.
But I would have liked to have said it for me.
When I close my eyes for that final time, I hope the Lord sends two blue-eyed, blonde-haired boys to welcome me home, one of them singing, "Who's the Leader of the band that's made for you and me...."