Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Fun Short Story

I have a lot of great memories in the time that I have spent with Tyler.  Tyler has times of being very vibrant and jovial.  When he laughs from deep in the pit of his stomach you can’t help but to laugh along with him.  He also has these amazing times when you watch people respond to him in uncharacteristic ways, almost as though for just a moment they experience a collective understanding that is honest and compassionate.  Just a few days ago I recalled one such time.

Some years ago, my wife and I had taken Tyler to Ocean City Maryland for a handful of days of “relaxation” (most parents of special needs children understand that the term relaxation is one to use loosely).  One evening after dinner it was particularly beautiful.  We drove down to the boardwalk and walked around the lower third where most of the shops, rides, and junk food resides.  Personally I’ve always enjoyed the evening walks on the boardwalk.  There is a peace that I could always find in that time where the beach is clear and yet the sun is glowing across the sand and the water, and the boardwalk is buzzing with families.  And you hit that temperature where it is still warm but the sun is allowing the breeze to set in.  Tyler always seemed to enjoy the same atmosphere, especially the people watching aspect. 

So once we were finished with the boardwalk and ready to load up the car I decided it was just too nice out to waste so I suggested I would wheel Tyler (in his wheelchair/stroller) back to the hotel which was the entire 2.5 mile length of the boardwalk.  I felt like it would be nice walk just us two guys.  By this time as we started slowly heading back, there were a line of people sitting on the concrete retaining wall that lines the boardwalk on the beach side to protect it during storm surf.  Tyler became keenly aware of these folks and started smiling, waiving, and saying “HI!”.  Admittedly I assumed he would get a friendly smirk or a polite waive.  To my surprise the first gentlemen he came upon yelled “HEY BUDDY!” and leaned out with his hand extended to give him five.  The next person saw this and did exactly the same.  And the next.  And the next.  And so on.  And literally it became a receiving line where people up ahead were wondering what the heck the stir was about and would catch on in time to be his next high five.  Even people that I would think did not appear to be the smiling and high five type would suddenly prove me wrong and get in on the act.  Finally as we moved further along, the crowd became thinner and it was soon just he and I once again. 

For the last couple miles I could not have explained what I had just seen.  I couldn’t help but have my eyes clouded by tears thinking about how just his smile and sincere enthusiasm brought out the smiles and enthusiasm in those strangers.  I also thought about the fact that perhaps I need to give people more credit for being compassionate toward someone reaching out their hand to them.  But most of all I was just thankful, even after all we had been through, to have one of the most memorable moments as a father.  In my mind I will always be able to revisit that time, and I can still hear the ocean sounds, I can still feel the bumps of the boardwalk as we walked, and I can still feel the sun and the breeze in our face.  And best of all I will always remember how his smile made my whole world smile that day.

Be well and Good Luck.  Tom

Click for Comments!

  1. Well described. I can picture the line of high-fivers from your words. Keep writing! The blogosphere is inundated with mommy bloggers. It's wonderful to hear from a dad and to read about Tyler.

    1. Thank you for your comments and support Chandra! I hope this is a source of inspiration for those needing it.


Thanks for your comment! It will be added once it is reviewed. Have a nice day!