Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Good Memories

Good Evening,

This blog deals with some really tough subjects.  And while it's important to talk about the hard stuff, I also would like to talk about the good things.  Tyler has given me some of the most wonderful memories of my life.  I would like to share a few that stand out to me which represent the relationship he and I have had over the years:

1. A morning on the beach.  During one vacation very early in Tyler's life (he might have been about one) Tyler and I woke up before my wife.  I decided to take him down to the beach and take a few pictures and some video tape of him.  He was happy to look around, feel the ocean breeze, and hang out with Dad.  Its very symbolic of our relationship because he could always be comfortable and content, so long as we were together.

2. Jumping in the pool.  We have home video of Tyler standing at the edge of a pool, jumping into my arms.  He is laughing, jumping in over and over again.  Each time he jumps into my arms, he squeezed my neck with a big hug.  It is very symbolic of the trust we had built with each other.  He knew I would always be there to catch him.  He also showed me his appreciation for being there to catch him.

3.  Up on my shoulders.  Tyler spent much of his early years up on my shoulders.  I even did an 8-mile walk for diabetes with him up on his perch.  He enjoyed the enhanced vantage point, and I liked that he was safe, controlled, and happy.  He would often wrap his arms around my head to hug me, or stretch way down to get face-to-face with me so he could express himself to me.  He never tired of being up there.  

4.  Belly laughing.  Sometimes things strike Tyler funny.  It is usually associated with a sudden loud noise.  I always tried to make him laugh by doing loud or crazy things.  The funniest thing in the world was when I would do something to catch his funny bone.  He can laugh so hard that you wonder when he will ever take a breath.  As he is laughing he points at me and says "Daddy" as though he is saying that Daddy did something that made him crack up.  It is absolutely real and unfiltered joy coming straight from his very soul, and is the very definition of JOY.

5.  Walks.  The thing I enjoyed the most, and miss the most about him is our long walks together.  In all of our years together we never held a conversation, but we always knew how we felt.  We walked different trails.  We walked during all seasons.  Tyler never knew where he was going, but he always had his chest out and his voice happy and loud.  He walked to my right, and used his left hand to gently brush against me just to verify that I was there.  He walked very fast, but never wished to leave me behind.  Best of all, once or twice per walk, he would give me the sign language sign for "I love you".  

6.  Wrestling.  Tyler was born while I was barely in my 20's.  I still liked video games and wrestling.  One of his favorite past times was to wrestle his dad.  There was Tyler, barely able to walk, wanting me to body slam him on the couch or bed.  I could get him to imitate Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, or Van Vader before he could say 5 words.  He squealed with joy when I pretended to suplex him, or body slam him, or pin him to the mat.  He won most of our matches, and even learned to say "two...three!".  I never complained about how fast he counted.  And while it seemed an innocent and dopey activity, he had learned that he could trust me to never hurt him.  At that time he learned human contact was a healthy thing.  And that being goofy is fun.

All of these things prove that while I took my role as Dad very seriously, there is always time to laugh.  There is an appropriate time to be silly and not take life too seriously.  Its such a blessing to look back on these memories and smile and laugh as I type.  It's also important to remember that while there are struggles, there is also tremendous love and joy.

Be well and God bless.   Tom