In no particular order.
• That you wore nothing but Sperry’s boat shoes for the last many years (which made me worry about your arches) and they smelled HORRENDOUS.
• How you talked to the cat. I still talk to the cat like that. Who taught who?
• How much you LOVED Legos, and Bionicles in particular. I realized last fall, just before you died, how hard it was to put them together! And little 6, 7, 8 year old you never asked for help.
• The long, pondering look you gave me after I asked for your help creating a work-out playlist on my Ipod, before your fingers moved the mouse – voila! – and then named the playlist, “Get Buff, Mom.” Every single time I use my Ipod, it’s there to make me smile.
• The way you snorted through your nose when you had a cold or allergies. It made me worry I would never have grandchildren through you, unless some girl thought that charming. Somehow.
• How much you loved Electronic Dance Music (EDM) and tried to get everyone else to appreciate it.
• How little you respected our personal space.
• How, when you were little, taking you shopping was an exercise in patience because you CONSTANTLY wanted MORE (Pokemon cards, especially; Sarah was in the cart trying to sound out the words on the covers of women’s magazines). I bought you french fries at Wal-Mart to keep you quiet so I could think.
• How you sat at the dining room table and bounced imaginary ping-pong balls off the corners of furniture, trying to figure out their trajectories. I thought you were having involuntary eye twitches.
• How you sat at the dining room table, as a little guy, and “made conversation” so we wouldn’t notice you hadn’t eaten _____ (the food you were currently boycotting). Ironically, for a long time it was meat of any kind…and you LOVED meat later.
• Your sudden interest in your version of “fashion” once you got to college: chinos and sweaters. And you had to have a pea coat.
• How you never took any sport – tae kwon do, baseball, swimming, running – seriously. And how it made us crazy and how you didn’t care.
• How it took forever for your top front teeth to grow in, until we discovered one was growing out of the roof of your mouth and it had to be yanked.
• How much you loved nursing, as a baby (I know I didn’t need to add that last bit, but still….). You refused the bottle until I had to actually leave town to wean you at 10 months.
• How you tried to cheat at board games by changing the rules.
• How kind you were to your youngest cousins.
• How much you fiddled with your hair and wanted it to look “just so” all the time. How upset you were, in middle school, when you went to a new salon to get it cut and hated it (I had to be your hair cutter for years after).
• How kind you were to lots and lots of people. The only people who exasperated you were those you felt were shallow.
• The ease with which you introduced yourself. “Hi, I’m Mark.”
• Your famously gap-toothed smile. Your lack of interest in getting braces (not that we ever insisted).
• Your absolute refusal to wear contact lenses. I bought them anyway (“you have such beautiful eyes!”) and…now I’m wearing them. Figures. Did I mention you were incredibly stubborn?
• How you were an incredibly messy eater, even as a 19 year old.
• That time we went to see Sarah, and you were driving us home, and you almost wrecked the van while trying to make sure your cup of expensive coffee was getting seated in the cup holder. How, after you managed to steer the car out of its horrific, lengthy, all-over-the-highway skid, you stopped, got out and leaned over like you were going to puke…then crawled in the back seat, pulled out a Gameboy and buried yourself in childhood innocence for the rest of the ride home.
• How you and your dad would trade endless baseball statistics and scuttlebutt via text.
• How texting with you almost always went like this:
me: [blah blah blah blah blah]
• When you found out I was in a sorority in college, Delta Gamma, and you couldn’t stop making the DG sign with your arm.
• the day, when you were just 3 or so, you made up “Mr. Bouha” – the imaginary person who tickled you while you rode in the jog stroller.
• How I could make you laugh…your love for the ridiculous, all your life.
• How incredibly brilliant you were. Complex math, physics – a cake walk.
• How, after years of being pretty small, you were SO excited when you were finally taller than me, and then Sarah. You were thrilled to think you might bypass Dad. The length of your shins told us you’d probably hit 6 feet before all was said and done.
• The arc of your nose, so like your Uncle John’s.
• How you ALWAYS had holes in the heels of your socks – almost instantly.
• How you were the only 1st grader hauling around Harry Potter books (that you were reading on your own).
• How much you loved Sarah. A lot, a lot, a lot.