Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Pieces of Me

 I've always been a deeply sentimental person.  It just seems to be part of my nature.  When I receive a gift that is personal it is something that I hold in extremely high regard.  

My Dad gave me a watch a few years ago that I will never part with.  The painting of Tyler by the ocean is an heirloom that I hope to pass through the generations.  I have a Christmas ornament which is really just a photograph of my Grandfather with cotton balls stuck on it to make a Santa beard.  These are some of the things that I cherish because they came from the heart of someone special to me.

I received such a gift today.  A few of my friends at work have listened to my ongoing saga about trying to find a small condo at Myrtle Beach.  This is something I have dreamed about for over a decade.  I've also talked endlessly about how much the beach means to me and how it puts me closer to Tyler because of the time we spent there.  Recently, we have found a little place close to the beach and we are so excited to be working through the process of finalizing it.

I was surprised when one of my friends, Kevin, told me that his wife had a house-warming gift for me.  Now we all seem to share great, biting, and sometimes cynical senses of humor so I wasn't sure exactly what to expect.  But his wife, Christy, is a very thoughtful and articulate person so I was intrigued at the thought.  Today Kevin pulled me to the side and said Christy was dropping off my gift.  I felt a little embarrassed, after all, they are a young couple just buying a new house of their own so surely they have better things to worry about than me and my silly beach condo.  But there she soon was, presenting me with my present.  

She explained that this was no ordinary shell, but that this was a shell she found over 10 years ago in Cape May.  She was just walking on the beach and couldn't believe she found this big, beautiful shell.  She has kept it every since and cherished having it.  She said that when she heard about Tyler's story, and our story of holding memories of our beach time with him, she wanted for me to have it.  

It is a beautiful shell, but it means so much more because it was a piece of her and Kevin.  It is a piece of her story that she wanted to become part of our story, and I can't think of anything cooler than that. This shell will have a very special place in our new home and will undoubtedly become a story we will share with others.  

This piece of her, and piece of my friend Kevin, is now a piece of our family.  It is a piece of our story. And as such, it is worth all the gold in the world.  

Be well and God bless.   Tom

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Don't Forget to Dream

 To my daughter,

My beautiful and stubborn Sam....you are so much like me.  As you move through your life you will find that our particular way of thinking makes the good times very good, and the bad times very difficult.  But you will also find that every joy and pain is worth the trip.  There is something I want to tell you today, and that is to never stop dreaming.  

When I was about 8 years old, I dreamt of playing for the Phillies.  I was a solid young baseball player and I just knew the Phillies would want me at second base. Within a couple of years I had become a good young bowler.  My dreams suddenly shifted to become a world famous professional bowler.  I imaged being on TV and becoming a legend in the sport.

While these dreams may have been true longshots, they were extremely important at that time.  I didn't have a ton of friends in school but those teammates I had outside of school were my family.  Because I was very small I had to endure some bullying at school but I knew in my heart that I was good at other things.  I was driven to make my dreams come true so I could show the world what I could really do.

Even though my early dreams didn't come true, I always found a new one.  You see, dreams should be big and seemingly impossible.  Dreams don't always happen, but they should be incredible if they come true. If they do come true, or even come close to coming true, they should change your life forever.

After my bowling dream, I lost sight of dreaming for a while.  One of the few things that made me happy was writing.  I found myself dreaming that my writings would become public, and actually help the people that read it.  Soon I had a blog with over 50,000 views, and then I had a magazine article, and then a national website article.  I also began getting feedback that my words were helping people.  Some people commented that my writing spoke for people in ways they were not able to do for themselves.  Hearing that touches me beyond words.

I wasn't done dreaming yet.  Over the last few years I wanted a little beach place to call my own.  I wanted a place where I could be at peace and reflect on the many ups and downs we experienced over the years.  It was a bog dream but I was persistent.

It appears that this dream is on the verge of coming true.  Nearly a year of financial management, hard work, and perseverance is very close to paying off.  Even at 51 years old I needed to dream.  I needed to have a goal bigger than the every day grind that had become my life.

So Samantha, I want you to always have a dream.  Make sure it is big and nearly impossible.  Make it bigger than anything else in the word around you.  Most importantly, make sure you enjoy the ride to get to your dream.  Even if the goal doesn't exactly happen, you will learn so much along the way.  

But one day, maybe if everything lines up just right, your dream will come true.  If it does, your life will become more fulfilling than you ever imagined possible.  Dare to dream.  Never lose sight of your dreams.  And never let anyone step on your dreams.  Be the brave person that I know you to be, and I promise you that dreams will come true.

Love.  Dad