Monday, February 21, 2022

Tyler's Sunday

We had a great time with Tyler yesterday.  After church we celebrated his birthday by taking him for some Mexican food.  He loved the food, but he was much more interested in interacting with his family.  It was so nice to see him so smiley and engaged with everyone.  Its easy to tell that Tyler currently feels very safe and comfortable with his life.

Its hard to wrap our brain around what life has brought us over the last 6 years.  We have experienced some dramatic losses and equally dramatic victories.  I'm proud to say that we have kept our head up and fought for the important things along the way.

One question always seems to come up around Tyler's birthday or other holidays, which is "what can we do for Tyler's birthday?.  After all, he doesn't truly need anything that isn't already provided for him.  He isn't a gamer, he isn't into using a phone, and he doesn't drive.  So what does he need?

A better world to live in.  That's the way that we can truly honor Tyler.  We can reach out to just ONE person and make their life a little better.  Maybe a person is going through a person tragedy and needs to hear some encouragement.  Maybe someone just needs a hug and to hear everything is ok.  Perhaps you have lost contact with someone and they would be overjoyed if you just dropped them a note to say you are thinking about them.  

This is how we honor Tyler.  It takes a lot of dedicated people to care of Tyler which is the most wonderful gift he could receive every day.  So take those gifts and pass one on to someone else.  

Be well and God bless.  Tom

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Birthday Memory #2

Its hard not to smile when I think about the many memories of Tyler visiting the beach.  I'm sure our enjoyment and relaxation of the shore is something that he sensed from a very early age.  I also believe that his love of the beach came from an organic source, something that we cannot fully understand.  In typical Tyler fashion, he was always thrilled to get there, but after about 4 days you could see his mood wain as he needed his routine to return.  Of course those trips weren't without their own set of challenges, but this week we are focusing on the good memories.

During the early years we took Tyler to Ocean City Maryland.  In those days he was very easy to travel with.  He was content to go anywhere and was happy to do just about anything.  We had a camcorder back then and used it to film him doing all sorts of nothing.  I remember sitting at the Dough Roller eating breakfast and showing off his first tooth popping through.  We filmed him sitting on my shoulders as we walked down the boardwalk, and sitting in his car seat on the beach one morning.

Once we discovered North Myrtle Beach some of his fun activities changed.  During this time he was in his pre-teen and teen years.  I remember him still loving the swimming pool and floating around making faces at himself.  He'd get out of the pool and sit blowing bubbles or using bubble guns for hours at a time, laughing hysterically at himself.  His other favorite pastime was sitting at the edge of the water with a small plastic shovel and flicking sand out into the water.  He would always have some crazy sunglasses on and slathered in sunscreen so he could enjoy the water's edge for as long as possible.

Perhaps my favorite time was around dusk when the sun was just setting and the evening was beginning to show its colors.  The water would feel even warmer as we would wade out into the waves.  Ty would just stand and gaze out into the vast openness.  I'd try to figure out what he could be thinking.  Whatever it was, he was at peace with it.  It was as though the ocean whispered comforting thoughts to him, and surrounded him with an embrace.  He'd point to the moon or just watch the waves rolling in.


Even if these experiences were temporary and changed over time, they provided memories of a gentile and soft Tyler that we rarely saw anywhere else. Thanks to our beautiful friend and artist, Tom Newnam, we even have a painting of Tyler standing the waves and pointing at his friend, the moon.  These are the memories that sustain us. 

Happy birthday Tyler.  We love you to the moon and back.


Monday, February 14, 2022

Tyler Turns 30

It's almost impossible to absorb the fact that Tyler will be turning 30 in a week.  Those 30 years have provided the most joy and challenge that anyone could imagine.  One thing that I do know is that I still love him today as much as I did when I first laid eyes on him.  

It would be easy to remember some of the struggles of the past 30 years, but instead, I will be doing a small series of posts talking about the good memories I've shared with him so far.  These will be the memories that I always gravitate to when I think about his infectious laugh and bold personality.

When Tyler was very small, I was only in my early 20's.  I still enjoyed bowling, playing softball, and watching sports.  Tyler seemed to enjoy watching sports too.  One particular thing we watched together was pro wresting.  Tyler was so small and light that I could pretend to wrestle with him on the floor, couch, or bed, and he would giggle and just go along with it.  While it may have looked like I was "rough-housing" with him, Ty was laughing all the way and asking me to do it more.  "Again!" he would say and would want gently rolled into a pin or bodyslammed against a stack of pillows.  Through all of the theatrics Tyler was supremely protected without question,

His favorite thing was if I laid down beside the couch he would scramble as fast as he could onto the couch and do a cannonball right on top of my chest.  I'd act like I was being crushed by a 300 pound giant and groan in pain.  He'd laugh and scramble right back onto the couch to bomb me again.  The swimming pool was the same story, he scrambled to the edge and flew into my arms without a care in the world.  If I close my eyes I can hear him imploring me to let him leap into my arms over and over again.

Back then we were just goofing and having fun, but it didn't take long to realize how this helped cement our bond like nothing else could have.  Tyler is all about trust, and our play was full of him trusting me to understand his body language and manipulate his movements.  He figured out that he could fly off the couch and I would be there to catch him just right and never let him fall.  He could go upside-down or spin in a circle and never worry about how soft he would land.  

And so it has always been with Tyler and me.  He learned to read my body language as much I learned to read his.  We often use physical contact to convey unspoken messages to one another, like a language we developed through time.  As he has abandoned much of his expressive language, these non-verbal queues are even more important.

So with this I wish my cannonballing little man a most joyous 30th birthday!

Be well and God bless.    Tom