Today, October 23, is Tyler’s 17th Birthday. In early August I asked him what he wanted for his birthday. (Early I know but I needed ideas so I could look for sales, duh.) The fun/kid/dreamer part of him wanted to have his Jeep lifted. For a split (and I mean, split) second I thought “Oh, that would be soo cool!” I could even picture him sitting in the driver’s seat of that jacked up little Jeep, looking so proud and grinning from ear to ear. And to be honest, the image I saw in my mind’s eye of him so happy, proud, excited, and feeling like he was on top of the world made me feel awesome. However, Momma Bear wasn’t too far away and I quickly put the kibosh on that idea. ERRRCH! The reality was, he just did not have enough driving experience to make me feel comfortable with him driving a little gray jeep with a wonky center of gravity. I could easily picture him taking a turn too sharp or too fast and flipping. Not a risk I was willing to take.
“Ok, so Tyler, that’s not gonna happen, what else do you want?” He replied with a smile “Soccer jerseys. Two, soccer jerseys.” Let me back up a bit for ya’ll. In the past 2 years or so Tyler has become a HUGE soccer fan. I believe it started with FIFA and the XBox. We could hear him in his room yelling, and screaming and after a few choice words he would come out of his room all mad and angry. Trey and I would say, “Tyler, why are you playing that game if it makes you so mad?” And he would say, “Because it’s fun.” Um? Ok? But the kid was hooked and was watching soccer on TV whenever he could. Me, I have no idea how soccer works. I know there is this dude named Palio, or Playto, or maybe it’s Pede? Pedro? I am almost sure it start’s with a “P”. But the players are mean to each other, and I don’t understand why they aren’t required to wear some sort of head protection, and the refs dangle fancy colored flags in their faces like matadors. And just when you think the game is over they add random minutes that I think they pick out of a hat or somebody’s stinky shoe. It’s crazy, I don’t understand it but he loved it. So anyway, those jersey’s sound reasonable right? Wrong! Those dang things were like $180. A PIECE! (His smile should have clued me in) “Dude, seriously? Do they come with video games? Gatorade coupons? Bobble heads?” He just laughed at me and the conversation just drifted in another direction.
The morning Tyler left for vacation he almost left his fishing rod and quickly ran back into the house to get it. As Jon was trying to put it in the car we quickly discovered that it didn’t come apart so Tyler couldn’t take it. In order to make the ferry ride and getting onto the island as easy as possible things had to be minimal and as compact. So a long fishing rod wouldn’t be the best, nor, the easiest thing to tote around when you need all the arm real estate you can get. Schulyer’s mom graciously offered her pink, glow-in-the-dark, sparkly, light up, bedazzled fishing rod to Tyler. Problem solved!! Now, I am not sure about you but I can flash through 99 scenarios in my head in 1.3 seconds. It’s a gift or mental illness, the jury is still out on that one. But I could just picture Tyler, 6 feet tall with his backwards Red Sox cap, swim trunks, casting a pink, flashing, fishing rod. But then I felt bad for him because if I would have known that fishing rods came apart I would have made sure he had one prior to this trip. Then I wanted to run to Bass Pro but that store was too far, so could I go to Wal-Mart to grab one? Would Wal-Mart even have one? But I knew they had to get on the road so that wouldn’t work. (keeping up with the thought process still?) But really what stopped my mental Nike’s in their tracks was honestly, I knew Tyler really wouldn’t care what kind of rod he used. Truly. The child would not care one bit. The fact that he was with his best friend having fun and hanging out at the beach, on a great vacation with people that he enjoyed being around. THOSE are the things that mattered and meant the most to him. Family and friends. Not what kind of fishing pole he had or even if he caught any fish. Just the fact that he was with people he cared about, he was with his best friend and they were all having a good time. I have a couple of pictures of Tyler sitting by the water and he just looks so peaceful and content. Just happy to watch the water go by and think about whatever. So, I pictured him casting that Swarovski encrusted fishing rod and having that same look of blissful peace and contentment. I gave him a big squeezie squeeze hug, told him I loved him and watched as he rode away.
I told Trey as we were going inside “I know one thing we can get for Tyler for his birthday. A new fold up fishing rod!” Woo Hoo. I am so sorry I was not able to get that new rod because in the hospital (and even now)I want that new rod for him SOOOO badly.
His birthday is today, Friday October 23 and TWentz will be 17. I don’t know what the day will be like, but I don’t want it to be overwhelmingly sad. I want to honor and remember him and want to make my heart happy because I know he would like that. So I invite you to do something that truly matters to your heart. Me? I am going to seek out some random acts of kindness tomorrow. What? I am not sure but I hope I will know when the opportunities present themselves. And you can bet I will be looking for those opportunity whenever I can. Picking up something somebody dropped, holding a door, buying a cup of coffee, buying an extra football game ticket for someone at the Godwin/Herm game tomorrow, complementing a random person on something you noticed about them…putting the new roll of toilet paper on the holder… cough cough (Trey) or, simply just a big ole’ honkin’ smile. Pay it forward, Pass it on.
Remember, it’s not about the pink fishing pole, but it’s the time you get to spend fishing, being with the ones that you love and also doing things that make your heart happy.
Happy Hearts and Happy Birthdays