What Is No Longer. From Amy

I went to Sprouts for the first time in a long time. I didn’t have to buy chocolate-chip muffins or chocolate-chip cookies. I found a new potato chip we haven’t tried before: Uglies cheddar and sour cream. I think you would’ve loved them. I found I liked them just as much as our favorite: Keogh’s cheesy onion. We always shared similar taste in chips but it made me sad that I couldn’t ask your opinion. I loved finding new things to share with you.

When I go to Natural Grocers, I don’t need to get the only flour tortilla shells you like: Stacey’s.
The last time we went to Whole Foods together, you picked out some Gouda and crackers that you wanted to try. I loved how you were branching out and ignored how expensive they were. I was just curious if you’d like them. You didn’t really care for them, and that’s okay.

When I go to Walmart, I don’t have to buy the white Cabot sharp cheddar cheese block or the Funyun-flavored potato chips or Tate’s chocolate chip cookies.

When I get mixed chocolates, I don’t have anyone to get my dark chocolates to.

When I go to H-E-B, I don’t need to keep my fingers crossed that they aren’t out of the natural sugar Dr. Peppers in the glass bottle. I also don’t need to pick up plain bagels and wheat hotdog buns. On the chip aisle, I walk right by the sour cream and onion Pringles. On the cereal aisle, I don’t need to get a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and this past Christmas, I didn’t get a box of Rice Chex for you to make puppy chow. I don’t go to the ice cream aisle all that often anymore but when I do, I won’t need to pick up mint chocolate chip or the grasshopper flavor. When the seasonal puppy love flavor is released for the year, I won’t need to stock up on it.

I haven’t had to stop at a Popeye’s or KFC in a long time. When I go to McDonald’s for Cade’s fries, I no longer need to get the 10-piece nugget meal with barbecue sauce.

All these “won’t needs” and “don’t needs” break my heart. I wish I did need to get all those things and more.

I miss fighting with you over the shredded cheddar cheese in the fridge. I miss you making me one of your rosemary grilled cheese sandwiches. I miss eating the baked cheese that dripped off your bagel sandwiches. We don’t go through nearly as much butter or onion parsley seasoning as we used to.

I miss ordering you pizza with olive oil and garlic instead of red sauce. I miss eating the guac from your Torchy’s queso for you.

I moved what was left in your lunch fund to your brother’s account. Yours had been made inactive.

There isn’t as much laundry these days, and believe it or not, I miss folding your clothes.

I canceled the Dr. Squatch subscription.

I miss watching you try to tame your beautiful, long, curly, wild hair.

I miss dropping you off at the school bus stop in the mornings that you were running a little behind, which was most mornings. I miss seeing you get home as you walked past my office window in the afternoons after the bus dropped you off. You would come into the house and sit in a chair in my office with me for a little bit. I miss that.

I miss you showing me videos and memes that I don’t always understand. I miss learning about Fallout. I miss you teaching me how to use your Oculus and to play the game. I miss seeing your progress on your latest power armor. I miss seeing your latest art work. I miss the stories you tell me about school or the bus. I miss following up with you on your class assignments. I miss watching a show with you before your bedtime. I miss talking to you. I miss geeking out with you over Wallace and Gromit and Batman. Although geeking out is the wrong word for you because you were always cool and calm. I started to watch Doctor Who, and I think you would’ve liked watching that with me.

I miss your smile, your eyes, your laughter, your jokes, your hugs, your “I love yous”, your warmth, your voice, your smell. I miss everything about you.

Your cat Teddy misses you, too.

I miss having to go to Michael’s for EVA foam and having to go to Home Depot for paint, wet cement, and adhesive sealant. I miss going to JoAnn’s for specific fabrics for your next project.

We won’t clean up your mess in the garage. It’s like we’re waiting for you to get in there and finish the power armor you were working on. We haven’t cleaned your room yet, either. It’s still the mess you left it in.

We got your spirit wear bowling shirt. Apparently, I had ordered you an adult small instead of a medium. It’s like I had forgotten just how quickly you had grown in the last few months. I also picked up your bowling ball after it was fitted for your hands and fingers. Your dad misses taking you to bowling practice.

We get mail from colleges for you, and you’re schedule to take an AP exam in May. I had already paid for it, and you’re going to miss it. You made such good grades, and it was like it came to you effortlessly.

Your dad was teaching you how to drive. I miss seeing you both come back home and how happy you both looked after spending time with each other talking and driving.

I wish I could have another phone call from you asking me to bring you your Chromebook that you had left at home and you needed for school. I loved the side hug you gave me in the office after I handed it to you.

I wish I could have seen what you would have dressed up for Halloween. You had made a handful of costumes and had several ideas in mind.

I wish you were with us during Christmas. We and all the rest of your extended family really missed you.

This spring and summer, your dad will have to mow the grass on his own. I will miss reminding you not to wear your good shoes and trying to get you to put your hair in a ponytail so you don’t get overheated.

I wish I could’ve seen you open that Etsy shop where you would’ve made cosplay pieces to sell. I wish I could’ve seen you get a job.

I miss how you almost always got paint on the newest shirt I had gotten you. You got paint on one of our dining room chairs, and now nothing will ever compel me to remove it. I wish you could get paint on other things, because none of those things really matter, not as much as you doing you.

I miss hearing you get frustrated with your game in your room above me when I’m washing my hands in my bathroom. I miss hearing movement above me – your voice, your walk, your frustration, your laughter.

I miss how your hands got red and cracked during the winter, like mine. I always made sure you had lotion. I miss doing things for you. Anything. If you needed something, I did what I could to make it happen.

I miss seeing you help your brother with his Lego sets or calling him out when he took your Blow Pops.

I miss seeing the freckle on your nose that you and your Kiki had named Bob so many years ago.

I miss watching you pace back-and-forth when you were trying to work something out in your head – no matter if it was serious or funny. I miss how well-thought out your opinions were and talking to you about them.

I miss some of the looks you gave me. I could never quite figure a couple of them out and what you were trying to tell me, but they were looks you would give me since you were a baby.

I miss going places with you and doing things with you. I miss spending time with you. I miss your very presence.

I miss our family of four.

I miss the way you were so respectful of other people’s feelings and the space they may need. I miss glancing at you from time to time and being struck with awe that you were my son. I miss your ability to astound me with what you could do when you put your mind to something.

I miss the joy you brought my soul. I miss the warmth you brought my heart. “I miss you” is so inadequate to how I really feel and to all that is now missing from this life.

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