Today marks another birthday. Another birthday that should have been – but will be missed. My sweet Tyler, who has been in Heaven for thirteen years, would have been twenty-seven. Yes, a grown man with, no doubt, a family and home of his own, but we still would have made a big deal of his birthday…because we always do. And Satan would love for me to focus not only on the birthdays I have missed but also on all that just seems wrong – and sad – without Tyler; however, I am choosing to still celebrate this day. To celebrate each and every one of the 13 birthdays we did have. To celebrate Tyler. And to celebrate this day when I was so blessed to become Tyler’s mom.
Just for the sake of celebrating….here are 27 random but joy-filled reasons to celebrate.
1 – Tyler’s sense of humor. He loved to laugh and, even more, loved to make others laugh.
2 – He was happy in his own skin. Not arrogant but genuinely happy.
3 – Tyler’s love for children. He loved working with and around little ones – especially preschoolers. They laughed easily at his jokes – and he liked to make them laugh.
4 – We had such fun working together in the children’s program together. He was my puppet guy:)
5 – He loved to look nice and dress well. He took pride in clothes and tried to take care of them. Like the time he washed every single pair of his shoes – church shoes, boots, slippers, all of them – in the washing machine. And then tumbled dried them all.
6 – He did great impersonations. Really. Especially of Elvis.
7 – His red hair. He once filled out a description of himself, in second grade, as having blue eyes and orange hair:) His teacher asked if he meant red hair. Oh no, to him it was orange and he was proud of it. (It really was kinda orange.)
8 – He was a loyal brother.
9 – He had no problem using the “I’m the youngest and oh so innocent” card when absolutely necessary.
10 – He called his oldest sister RaRa. (Only cute to us – but still cute).
11 – We shared a love for chocolate milkshakes.
12 – And for ridiculous country music songs. Trips back and forth to Children’s Hospital often included rolling the windows down and singing loudly. Too loudly. And maybe not exactly on key. But those trips were so much better that way.
13 – Tyler’s passion – even in elementary school – was cooking. He loved to be in the kitchen and especially loved baking. His cinnamon rolls are still legendary – and required at every Christmas in our house.
14 – He also love to set the table and considered his napkin folding skills to be a talent.
15 – Tyler was a loyal friend. His best friend never wavered or changed. I’m sure they would still be the best of friends now.
16 – He had a lot of friends. (But, of course, one best of friends).
17 – Watching him play baseball in the backyard with his brother and friends. Even with a leg cast to the top of his thigh. (He broke his leg the first night we took his training wheels off.) He would not be held back.
18 – He played his piano recital with that crazy leg cast, too. He refused to be carried to the piano but, instead, drug himself – and his cast – up the church steps.
19 – He (eventually) loved to swim. Swim lessons, however, were not his thing. Just trust me.
20 – Tyler’s dream was to run a church camp. He wanted his best of friend to be the evangelist – and Tyler was going to cook and run the kitchen.
21 – He loved camp! His first concern, after he got sick, was if he would be able to go to church camp.
22 – He could not. BUT he did go to Camp Friendship – camp for kids with cancer. It was beyond amazing and truly a gift from God. Unbeknownst to us, Tyler was in his last days. He had (very) low energy and strength. I cried when we dropped him off because I was sure he would not be able to do anything. He cried when we picked him up because he had done everything – actually felt like a kid! – and didn’t want to go home.
23 – Tyler rode a horse at that camp. From a wheelchair to sitting up and riding in a saddle by himself.
24 – Tyler wanted to write a book while he was sick. He had already chosen the title: My Fat Foot. Go figure.
25 – Tyler was beyond brave while he fought his cancer. He was, and still is, an example and inspiration for facing whatever life has in store. For persevering and for trusting God even in the hardest days.
26 – He asked me not to cry. I have not always been able to follow through with that – but I try. And I have gotten much better. God has been so faithful to me!!
27 – More than anything and more than everything, Tyler accepted Christ a little over a year before he died. He was a Christian. He knew it – and was not ashamed of it. We all knew it. And because of that, I know with all certainty that I will see Tyler again. We will be reunited in Heaven one day and will have all eternity to “make up” for these missed birthdays and all the other days that I miss him so dearly. And there are so many.
Happy birthday sweet buddy!! I miss you!!