About Cheerio

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In general I am a cheery and energetic person. But I am enshrouded in a cloak of iron. That cloak is the weight of greiving my son, whom I've lost to adoption.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Their Big Red Mailbox

We live in a valley between to very old mountains.

Our home is situated on the south side of one mountain. It is not a very high mountain, but it is still a great workout to hike to spots that offer a scenic view.

One of those scenic views overlooks the river, and bridges. One is a stone railroad bridge that was built early 1900’s, but it still functions with several working tracks even.

On the way to our house you would follow the river along a main road. Once you turn off the road onto our street, our house is only ½ mile up. Although it dead ends at the top of the mountain, there is still a fair amount of traffic coming and going.

We are still kind of new in this neighborhood. It is only our third winter here. This summer several other houses were sold, and we are trying to get acquainted with our neighbors. Many of the houses that were sold (including ours) are very old, somewhat neglected, and in need of repair.

One such home is the beautiful 2 story brick house at the intersection of our street and the main road. I think it was sold soon after we moved in here. You couldn’t help but notice activity going on, because it sits right there at the stop sign as you wait to turn onto the main road. And again, you can’t miss it as you slow down to turn off the main road onto the street.

I would excitedly watch the old house take on a whole new look as the transformation began. I would drive slowly by and watch as they dragged out old plaster, debris, and carpet. I don’t think they gutted it, but they removed a lot.

I was happy as they replaced the windows, and was celebrating as they put in new doors and a fresh coat of paint on the porch. Dignity was being restored to this tired old house. I was almost envious to see it coming along so nicely at such a quick pace, as we struggled to make just one improvement at a time. It seemed like theirs was all fixed up and beautiful in no time.

When winter came and the daylight hours decreased, with all the lights on I could easily see inside as I drove by. There are a lot of windows, and no curtains were hung at that time. I could see the painting, the new cabinets, and the work being done on the inside as well as the outside.

In the spring they cleaned up the yard and trimmed some of the shrubs.

I’m not too crazy about their landscaping efforts. They just put down landscape cloth with mulch on top. There were few large rocks placed here and there in their fresh mulch bed (can’t really call it a flower bed, as they forgot to plant flowers). With a house like that, I envision a flowerbed alive with color and beauty along the foundation.

Other than the landscaping, they’ve done a wonderful job. I’ve enjoyed watching the phases.

One day early in June I was turning off the main road and, as usual, glanced over at the brick house. Something different caught my eye.

Just outside the gate of the wrought iron fence, was a boy. He was checking the mail and happened to look up as I was driving by. We made brief eye contact and I could tell he was watching as I drove by in my dark green Toyota Tacoma.

I don’t remember having seen him before. With him standing there, it seemed he was a teen maybe 13 or 14. Seeing him instantly caused me to think of my own son.

Mentally I made comparisons between this boy and my own. Who is taller? Which one is bigger? This boy seemed a little thicker, as of the last picture, my son was skinny. I wondered if my son goes out to check the mail too. How often? What color is their mailbox?

Every day I drive by their Big Red Mailbox at the end of my street. Almost secretly I hope to see the boy. I think it’s because he is a trigger for me. Not that I needed any more triggers in my life than I already have which cause me to think about my son. After all, I don’t think a day has gone by without me thinking of him. But somehow, seeing this boy gives some flesh and life to a ghost of a dream that I hold onto.

I noticed a for sale sign in their front yard last week. Although I don’t even know him, it makes my heart a little sad to think of this boy leaving. Maybe it is sad to me because he will be gone without me ever getting a chance to know anything about him. I don’t even know his name. I will never know this kid down the street. But when I drive by their Big Red Mailbox; I have feelings of hopefulness and wishing.

There is the definite sense of longing to someday know the mystery boy in my life. No I’m not referring to the kid who lives down the street, but to the mystery boy in my own life and in my heart, my son. Sigh … I desperately long for the day when I will see him face to face. I wait for a day when I can look into dark brown eyes, which are a mirror image of my own.

I, close my eyes to imagine what it will sound like just to hear his voice. That longing, that hope, that dream, all of that is what is going on inside of me each time I see their Big Red Mailbox.
Big Red Mailbox


  1. Like I said to you the other day Sweetpea, 4 years will go by in the blink of an eye, and I promised that too. And, as anyone who knows me knows, I always keep my promises. Until then, let the Red mail box remind you of the passage of time as you pass.


  2. Ah, Cheerio, I so understand the boy and the mailbox and what they mean to you.
    Again your words are so good at bringing out the emotions, the feelings so many of us hold inside of us.
    Someday, that boy you see will be your own. And someday it will be the amazing words you write here that will let him know just how much you have always loved him and just how much he has always been a part of your thoughts, your life.

  3. For me it doesn't matter if the child I see is anything like my son.
    It could be a nearly teenaged or a tiny baby girl with a dark complexion,(the complete opposite of my son) they all make me think of my son.
    More than that they make me think of the boy he could have been to me, the way my life COULD have been.
    I know its way harder for you because you don't know if maybe that boy could actually be your son or not.
    The thing that has me thinking about the son I placed more than anything are these 'name' cups at the store I work at. The birthfather and I actually named our son something different than that adoptive parents. We knew that what they were going to change it to, but we wanted to give a name anyways. That name is on one of the 'name' cups at the store I work at. Its an unsual name, the birthfather called it 'old-fashioned' yet it's on a few dozen cups.
    It's so happenstance the things that come along to remind us birthmoms of what we don't have.
    Sometimes I like those reminders, sometimes I fear them.