I know I'm supposed to be writing letters to you, your brother, and your sister, but today's letter is just for you. You see, you share something special with Mom and Dad. Something that your sister won't remember and your brother can't relate to. You see, you remember Louisiana.
That might seem so trivial to you by the time you read this, but to us, that's big. Moving (to PA especially) was never something that your dad and I had in mind when we imagined our future together.
Because we had a great life in Louisiana together, you, your dad and me.
We had a lovely little house. It was small, but it was ours. You had a special room, hand painted by your Nana.
And a huge yard with trees to climb and room to run around to your heart's delight.
You see that stone patio? Your dad and I laid those one weekend, one by one.
You, of course, thrived in Louisiana. You were and still are, friendly, outgoing, loud, and a little bit on the wild side.
You became a big brother in Louisiana.
And a damn good one, at that.
You celebrated Mardi Gras and multiple birthdays and holidays surrounded by people who love and think the world of you.
You spent many days torturing your cousin Kiara (Uncle Travis would be so proud!) and tearing apart your Granny's house.
But change is the only real constant, isn't it? And one of your best qualities is your ability to adapt and your sense of adventure. I'll never forget, on the interstate in Kentucky, after a long day of driving to our new home, you told me....
"Mom, this is just like an episode of Dora! We have a map and we're going on an adventure!"
Forever fearless, forever looking at the bright side. You were my saving grace that first week in Pennsylvania. You see, we thought we were prepared for this new life, but of course what's an adventure without a couple of twists thrown in?
(These two pictures were taken on our very first day after arriving in middle of nowhere Pennsylvania. You thought you could climb to the top of that stone fireplace.)
Your Dad and I were just about finished unloading the moving truck (by ourselves!) our second day there when somehow a HUGE dresser your dad was moving slipped off the ramp and fell on top of him, basically breaking his nose and doing some major bloody damage to his face.
It could have been a lot worse. And I knew it. That dresser weighed a whole lot more than your Dad. It could have killed him. (Your dad is probably reading this, rolling his eyes, thinking I'm being dramatic. No, honey. I saw it happen. You. Got. LUCKY.)
In that moment of holding a bloody towel to your dad's face, hyperventilating, it began to hit me that we were really, for the first time, on our own. No Nana, no Granny, no PawPaw to rush in and save the day. No friends around the corner. No babysitters. No one. We were it. And bloody noses and broken dressers aside, it was now up to us to build a new life for you and your sister.
That night it began to snow. (In October!) You curled up in my lap in front of those big windows of that little chalet and watched big flakes silently fall from the sky. You were counting the snowflakes. I was counting my blessings.
In that moment, I realized what home really was. It wasn't Louisiana or a modest little ranch or a dot on a map in central Pennsylvania. It was you. Your sister. Your dad.
And that's what makes you so special. You remember Louisiana and our old life.
But you also helped me embrace this new one.