Toys for Tots, it’s called. From me, to a Marine, to you.

When I bought these toys, I imag­ined you would play with them.

Thousands of hours, I spent, with my Legos. Houses, cars, trucks, air­planes, heli­copters, cranes, robots; and even, in a spate of furi­ous bewil­der­ment, a 9mm automatic.

After that, after the gun I made with my Legos, I never played with them again. Something was tainted. Something was too dark.

So many hours more, spent on other dreams that would never see fulfillment.

Without Legos, Yoshi, and with­out you.

So, if I may, I will speak for both of us, and hope that the boy or girl who finds these toys under the tree will go on to enjoy them, for many years. These toys I would have given you, these toys that I can­not live with any longer in the closet in my study, the room that would have been yours.

My hope has not died, dear son. But here, in this time and place, it’s been put on hold. Again. As so many other things have been.

I almost knew you. I almost held you. Tonight, you are — I hope — loved as you deserve to be, with a fam­ily that treats you as you always needed.

Merry Christmas, Yoshi. Always know you have always been loved.

And don’t worry too much about mak­ing the col­ors or shapes match with the Legos. It really doesn’t mat­ter, in the end, as long as what you build ends up work­ing out.

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