Have you ever felt a day bottom out on you? Like in a car when you are cruising along just fine and then BLAM there is a pothole. Yeah my niece just hit me hard. Last year on May 23rd my favorite nephew was struck and killed by an inattentive driver (also illegal immigrant, no license and no insurance. yay.) He has the distinct honor of being the very first vehicle fatality of the New Year. He was just on his motorcycle heading home from work when he was hit. He lasted for a good 5 hours before his body just couldn't take it anymore. He was 20.
I helped raise that little bugger and I loved him like a son. In fact until my wife and I had our own kids he and his sister WERE our children too.Just the good kind. The ones you can spoil and then give back.
I can still remember those 2 giggling through the night because they were sleeping the night in our closet (big ol closet with no doors on it). I always considered Andy to be my favorite nephew. I told him so as well, which confused him at one point until he remembered I have a whole 'nother side of the family. One of the best and oft told stories of lil' drew (there's a comic strip title if I have ever heard one.) is the day he was the bug on the windshield. He was 4 or so and Andrew and Stef were in my backyard in Wichita. What they were doing I cant quite recall but I know I was at the other side of the yard holding onto and petting my big ol lug of a mutt Paco. Paco was part Chow, part Shepard, Part Lab and part horse. Paco loved the kids SO much. He would even let them pet him while he ate and not even get mad when they took the food bowl away. He would just give them that “I wasn’t done?” look. Anyway, Andy made a noise. He laughed. Paco's ears shot straight up and his mouth opened in a doggy grin as he broke my grip and bounded over to his buddy Andy. By the time he reached Drew he was going almost full tilt and he showed no intentions of stopping. Paco plowed straight into Andy and kept going. We all stood there with our jaws agape as we watched this nut-brown dog loping around the circumference of the yard with this small boy plastered to his barrel chest. You really couldn’t see Andy's head. Just these arms and legs flapping about as Paco took the corners like his tail was on fire. Finally Paco stopped and I mean he just stopped dead in his tracks and off went Andy rolling and tumbling ass over teakettle. Finally Andrew stopped too and just lay there on his back too stunned to move. "PLAYTIME" thinks Paco and leaps into the air to land on the little boy and just starts licking his head and face like a lollypop. Squeaky (my sis) made it over to Andrew and helped him get up, brushing the dirt, grass and slobber off of him as moms are want to do. Paco is watching them like “1 more time? Is it my turn?” “Are you OK?” Squeaky asked. Andy just says “Paco knock me down.” And that my friends is one of my favorite stories. I miss them both. I was just recently starting to feel a bit guilty with myself for taking away the attention I was giving them and giving it to my children. I had even made a resolution to start doing more with him when this tragedy happened. He had just gotten married 2 weeks before this and he has a son (from a girlfriend) who was 4 at the time. His son looks just like him at that age. Anyway here I was having a pretty good day, itching to get away from work when a text comes across my phone. "You know you miss Andy when you see a piece of cardboard flying in the wind and yell "Look at it go!" and then tear up." Ouch. Pothole.