For Tyler and Melinda (and Jason, too)
I've thought about posting quite a bit lately. But over the last couple of months, as I've made the transition from The Old Life to The New Life, I've been holding my thoughts back, keeping most of them inside my head for myself, because it's so hard to come to terms with some of them. I still partially think maybe we'll just wake up tomorrow and be back in Raleigh, in our tiny cozy little apartment with the great playground outside, and I'll be playing with James and Tyler and we'll call up Christina and Gwen and have a fun playdate and then we can go to the farmer's market to pick up dinner and Ben will come home and it will be our Old Life again.
(The Biggest Pumpkin at the farmer's market, October 2008. It weighed 867 pounds or something like that. )
Part of me wishes that would happen. But of course I mostly realize that it would all be different anyway, that that's just part of life that you can't help. Gwen moved. Christina had her baby. Tyler started walking and babbling. And we've changed too. I know James wouldn't want to give up all the time he's gotten to spend here with adults who adore him. (Grandma, for example. Aunt Sandra. "Grandma" Rachel. Amber. Even Kenny!)
But it's still all hard. Yesterday I was talking on the phone with Tyler's mom Melinda and realized that I had never given her the link to this blog...so I gave it to her right then. Apparently, she read a bunch of it last night, and I hope she keeps reading (hi Melinda!) and maybe even starts her own blog up so we can keep track of each other's lives so easily--one of the reasons I love blogging.
Anyway. I went back and looked at some old posts, and I was shocked to see that Tyler didn't really feature in a lot of them. He was such a huge part of our lives in Raleigh, but it's hard to get a sense of that from this blog. I think part of it was my reluctance to include someone else's child in a blog they had no control over, and part because I wanted to keep family members happy with lots of James stories and pictures.
But just so you know...he was like a brother to James. He is by far the person James asks about the most, because even though Olivia and Alisa were some of James' best friends, Tyler was always with US, was a part of our unit, traveled in our car and ate our meals and the whole package deal, and I know that I can't hardly believe how quickly that ended, so how can a 2-year-old understand it?
As I've been coming to terms with this move we made, one of the saddest things for me is thinking about how close we were to Tyler, and how he won't even remember us. I've taken care of a lot of kids in my life. A lot of cute, smart, fun kids that I really cared about. But somehow our relationship with Tyler was special, because he and James had such a bond. And I wish I could somehow preserve that, but I know tiny kids don't remember that stuff. So the best I can do is remember it for them.
(Remember the library, boys? We went there A LOT.)
Tyler, I will always remember you. I will remember how when you first came to us you were still a teeny newborn of a guy, and it seemed like you were always sleeping, and James was fascinated with you and wanted to touch your tiny little fingers and toes, and you would stare at him like he knew the answer to life's mysteries.
I remember how even though newborns really do sleep all the time, you would still respectfully manage to watch us do any number of weird things to amuse you. You were so calm and relaxed and snuggly. It was so much fun for me to feel so competent, that I could take care of both you and James at once, and you loved to be put into a sling and just relaxed into it and we went everywhere like that and we all loved it.
I remember as you got bigger, you just kept staring at James, and he just kept wanting to touch you. He loved to show you things, like, Look, Tyler, see this? This is a BOOK! This is a CARROT! This is SAND! And you ate it up, you watched him, you waited to see what he would show you next.
I remember when you got bigger and you started sitting on the floor with him, newly able to use your muscles to hold your own self up. Sometimes you'd be startled by how fast or loud James was. But mostly you just wanted to touch HIM, now, and he still wanted to give you everything he could. And you laughed and laughed and he laughed and laughed and we all laughed at each other and at the funny things we thought of to make each other laugh.
You got bigger and you could crawl after him, so he started crawling after you, too, and you both thought it was so funny that our house was full of babies laughing at each other. But of course there was also the problem that now you wanted to touch everything and you could, so James wasn't quite so sure he wanted you to have all his toys!
You started eating foods that your mama lovingly made for you and brought to us, frozen sweet potato and carrot and peas and such, and you loved sitting in James' old high chair and eating WITH us. I remember you gulping and smacking with such satisfaction, like, See me? I'm big like you now. And you'd still always watch James to see how he did it too. (Meanwhile, James watched you and tried to figure out what the heck you were eating, since he was eating carrot STICKS and apple SLICES and we called your food "apples" when it didn't look remotely like apples to him.)
I remember how James gave you his very own special nickname for you, that we all ended up using (Ty-Ty!). I remember taking you to play at the kids' museum, how much fun you had crawling around after James, how fast you could go, how I even had to run after you once because you were trying to escape me, how you both loved to splash in the water. I remember how you and James together got mesmerized by the fish at the science museum. I remember the countless times you tried to eat sand at our playground. I remember how I used to wedge you and James together in the (one-seater) stroller and how you would put an arm around him or he'd put one around you and off we'd go. It always took me a little bit by surprise, how much you two would snuggle, because I was expecting hair-pulls and face-smacks and yelling and what I got instead was two sweet precious boys ready for an adventure together. That was our life with you.
I will always remember.
(And yes, I did just start to tear up. A little. Or maybe more than a little.)