Dear Smoosher... Checking in.

Dear Smoosher,

Since  you left us 6 years ago this morning, let me catch you up on some of the latest goings-on down here in lame earth land.  We miss you every day.  That's not new.  But a lot has happened over the past year since my last check-in, so let me catch you up.

You son = Hilarious.  He's reading your Harry Potter books. He loved first grade.  That little brick school at the end of our block?  Edison School?  One of the adorable reasons we chose this lovely house?  That's his school now!  We walk him down in the morning and pick him up in the afternoon and he loves it.  He's attending summer rec there.  They're taking a trip to the pool today.  Yes - that fabulous town pool with the splash pool with fountains.  You really did pick a wonderful place for us to live.  We all love it here.

Our house is so full of life and love.  Edie, as you probably know from watching, runs the whole show.  Baxter has asked several times if you know Edie and I am convinced that you do.  I know that you, like me, are sitting with your arms crossed, shaking your head in disbelief at her shenanigans thinking, "That must be PJs genetics... cause it ain't mine!"  But, you also know, I'm sure, that Baxter LOVES his sister.  He adores her.  They are so close.  They always check in to see where the other is and what the other is doing.  Even when they are wrestling or fighting, I feel like they secretly adore every minute of it.  And when she is really naughty?  Like, standing on the dining room table screaming "Get My Dolly!"  (fo' reals)... Baxter laughs so hard we have to send him out of the room so as to not encourage her.

PJ's wonderful family all lives very close by, and those Gallaghers sure know how to make lots of cute babies!  So, Baxter now has Cousin Kylee in NH as well as Cousins Tommy and Colin (his age) and baby cousins Maggie, Annie, Maura and brand new baby Lilly... and another new one expected any day now!  It makes for crazy kid-a-rific get togethers.  Baxter is in heaven with the entire scene.  I used to think he got lost in the shuffle - when he was 3-4 years old.  But now?  He totally mixes it up with all of them, and bosses them around a bit, too.  This past weekend, they all came over for PJ's birthday.  You would LOVE his family, Mike.  Truly.  His sisters Meg and Shannon would be like your bestest girlfriends.  They are sweet and so funny.  So, all the gents sat out on our front porch, drinking, laughing, listening to music.  Pop (PJ's dad) always says how much he loves our front porch.  It's so welcoming and relaxing.  It makes me smile whenever they are all here... just chillin.  The house really is a home.

Comedysportz... Oh baby!  So, TIMM-AY is back!!  From Japan!  I know, right?  At rehearsal last night, I turned to Kebbeh and said, "It's like he left a boy and returned ... a MAN."  He has a wife and kids...!  Crazy!   This year, we had some amazing auditions.  So amazing that we brought in a class of like... 9? 10?  really freaking funny improvisers.  The shows are so consistently solid.  We've expanded programming, too.  We do Friday night shows the last Fridays of the month.  We do kids shows now... and "blue" shows - don't worry, they are billed as "ComedySportz does NOT present... the blue show."  Funny, right?  I think Don-Don came up with that.  Speaking of which... 

Freaking CHICAGO is stealing our funnies... Lydon, Dritsas, and Stockdale are all heading to the windy city.  What the eff is up with that?  Dondon is the new Executive Director.  He's got this shiznit in the bag.  Jadico will still be artistic director (even though I think he and Dritsas have totally broken up since Drits is leaving him - and their cozy south philly bungalo - for Chi-town.).  You would really dig Jadico's direction.  He's no nonsense.  Trust me.  I had some really shitty moments in my last show.  Example:  Hemming and Hawing while guessing in 5 things.  I know, right?  What was I thinking?  How long have I been doing this?  13 F&cking years?  Well, Jadico called that shit OUT.  And the production is so tight now.  Theater looks very nice. OCD does wonders for show production, you know?  

What else?  Mary Carpenter wrote an amazing one woman show based on the grief she experienced when several important people in her life died in a very short amount of time.  You being one of them.  She is performing it at the DC Capital Fringe as I write - and is getting wonderful reviews.  It would make you very proud. Kelly and Karen?  Are like ... traveling the country with their crazy show!  Also to great reviews.

Next - you know how Liz and Scott live in Germany now?  Well, Liz works for this global company that does corporate trainings and she asked if I knew anyone who could train managers in the use of status, emotions, and relationships through improv.  Naturally I immediately thought of Bobbi.  She and Liz got in touch and I think they are signing a contract soon for Bobbi to do some trainings in NYC. She emailed to let me know and to thank me... and... I burst into tears.  It just felt good.  I know you always wanted us to have a connection and... it just sucks that it all happens long after you've left... But I felt your warm smile when I read her thank you email.  I think that's why I cried.

Other news: Your friend Stu is a best selling author!  I got his book for Baxter to read. It's got great reviews! Michelle Kelemen is traveling the world with Hillary Clinton.  We hear her almost every morning on Morning Edition. Bax is consistently impressed that you are her friend. Thomas Fowler.... Where to begin?  He's in like EVERY national ad campaign for every car, computer, and insurance company around.  When he comes to town... I hear he now treats other people to food and beverage.  That's how successful he is.

On the homefront: Two working parents with jobby jobs and two small kids is a LOT.  We try to have date nights regularly, but occasionally it hits us that we haven't had an adult conversation in days...  Fortunately, once we've got the sitter and get out of the house, we're like "Ahh!  You!  Yes!  I DO really like you!"  I figure as long as we feel that way when we're alone, we are good to go, right? 

You know, without having had the time without-kids BEFORE we got hitched, Peej and I don't have the ability to get all nostalgic for a simpler time.  Life's always been a little nuts for us.  In fact, I often realize there are stories from our pasts that we have YET to share with each other ... simply because we're rarely alone together.  In a weird way, it's like dating... for years and years.  And, as always, PJ continues to be so supportive of and sensitive to my past with you.  I think since Edie is now the age Bax was when you passed away, he as a profound sense of what it might've have been like for Bax and me in those late months of 2006.  He is such a wonderful and empathetic person, I think he struggles when he thinks about what that loss must have meant - both for me and for Bax. 

I'm sure I'm forgetting things, but, I'll check in again soon.  According to Baxter, I don't even need to write any of this because you're here all the time.  His latest theory is that the moment you died, your spirit entered a newborn baby.  I explained that this is called reincarnation.  Together he and I figured out that if this theory is right, then we just have to find a baby born at around 11 am on July 18, 2006 - and maybe it's you.  When I told him that this baby would now be a 6 year old child and that maybe it's one of his friends at summer camp... I think his head exploded.  I'll let you know what comes of that.  Of course, if Baxter is right, and if you are now here in the form of his little friend Jimmy or Billy, feel free to send a sign, ok?  Nothing too creepy.  Just something light and fun... like a note that says "Dear Baxter's Mom.  It's me, Mike."  

... or don't.  That might creep me out.  Just... smile or something.

Love, Smoosher