Tyler

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Man-Bat

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

A few weeks ago, I spent nearly a week with my nephews. Micah and Tyler are 11 and 10 now (someone hold me), and have an entire world of interests and passions and hobbies completely separate from what anyone is telling them to love.

One of the things they’re into is superheroes. And when I saw them, they told me that Batman has an enemy called Man-Bat, to which I said, “You are lying,” and left it at that.

But the other night, I thought, “What if they were telling the truth?” So I googled Man-Bat.

You guys, Man-Bat has a wife named FRANCINE LANGSTROM, and their two kids are Becky and Aaron.

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Don’t doubt your nephews. They always know.

Let’s all quit our jobs and move to a commune with our favorite people

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Last week, I took several days off of work to be with these guys:

This week, I’m back in the office.

And I’m having a really hard time with it.

A beautiful maybe

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

“Is it okay for me to jump?” he yelled.

I watched him pump his legs back and forth, swinging higher and higher until he was holding steady at a significant height. He and his brother had formed their own sort of Olympic game, gaining momentum and then jumping from their swings to see who could fly the furthest and “stick the landing.” Up until now, he’d been playing it safe, never risking too much, choosing to jump only from a reasonable altitude.

But now, I could see him wanting to push the boundaries, to go even higher, to let go even when it might feel crazy – and he wanted me to tell him if it was okay.

I watched him, wild eyed and wild haired, 7-years old and still so innocent. School has brought some exposure to the real world, with all of its ugliness and injustice – but mostly, he is unmarked. The thought of anything bad happening to him wrings my heart down the middle like a dishrag.

“I don’t know, buddy. How do you feel about it?”

He kept pumping his legs; he hadn’t lost any height. He looked at his brother swinging next to him, and then back at me. “Is this too high?”

I thought back to that feeling, swinging high, waiting for the perfect moment to leap. How do you ever know when the time is right? And how do you explain that feeling to someone else – all of the little confirmations that lead to the confident risk? I realized that I couldn’t answer the question for him.

“If you feel like you can jump from that high, then you probably can.”

His face flashed fear, courage, and a beautiful maybe. And with one more pump, he let go of the chains and sailed through the air, landing solidly on both feet, fists in the air.

I’ve never seen a smile so big.

Nephew report

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Brought to you by my brother’s Twitter stream, since we haven’t talked on the phone in ages (probably because his 30th birthday was February 22 and I STILL haven’t sent him a gift, because I am a terrible sister, and if he wants to disown me, he has due cause, even though JEREMY I PROMISE I’M SENDING YOU SOMETHING):

Tyler (4-years old) wants to change his name to “Laser.”

Micah (6-years old) prayed, “Dear Jesus, please help us find Waldo.”

The Red Ribbon!

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Yesterday, I got some fantastic news.

Tyler got the Red Ribbon at preschool!

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I can’t really remember what that means, except that only one kid gets it at the end of every day.  It has to do with some sort of virtue, I think – like sharing, or listening, or helping, or being kind.  And the Red Ribbon is a very big deal.  It’s an honor.

This was Tyler’s first time getting the Red Ribbon.  He was so excited and proud.  And this auntie’s heart is bursting.

I can’t wait to see him in Kansas for his 4th birthday at the end of the month – especially to watch him ride his tricycle with his short little legs.  (SQUEEEEEEE he is so cute!!!!)

– – – – – – – –

I don’t quite know how to segue between a preschooler and an R-rated movie – but has anyone else seen “Atonement”?  I watched it over the weekend, and cannot stop thinking about it.  A raw and brutal story set to the percussive rhythm of typewriter keys, it has left me speechless.

You must see it – that is, if you’re okay with some very sexual scenes and graphic violence.  Which… apparently, I am.

I dare you to try to convince me to see “Star Trek,” you nerd Joey.

If this is true…

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

… then Tyler is the poster-child for marital success.

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Little victories

Friday, December 21st, 2007

Today, my mom and I took Micah and Tyler to Union Station in downtown Kansas City to see their favorite thing: TRAINS! After looking at the huge, elaborate model train display, and walking across the Link to Crown Center to color in the Crayola Store, and then back to eat a greasy lunch in the diner, it was time for the main event: to ride the kid-size train around the huge Christmas tree.

Micah abruptly decided that he did not want to ride the train, leaving little Tyler with a choice. “Do you want to ride the train, even though Micah isn’t going?”

“Yeah!” he said, with his sweet little smile.

But as soon as he climbed into the caboose, his attitude shifted slightly. Without his big brother by his side, he realized that it was a little bit scarier than he thought.

His eyes were wide, and a little bit frightened. I stepped inside the track and walked beside him as the train went around the tree one, two, three, four times. He didn’t say much, didn’t express much, except for the times that we passed Grandmom and Micah – then he would wave enthusiastically.

Finally, the train stopped, and we freaked out on Tyler’s behalf. “Tyler, you were so brave! You rode the train all by yourself! You’re such a big boy!”

And indeed. He sure was proud of himself.

In a similar, albeit less-cute way, I’m experiencing a small victory of my own. As many of you know, I left Seattle in September with the intention of moving to Nashville because I want to write songs. Now, to be perfectly honest, I didn’t have much to base this decision on; I only started writing in 2005, and it’s not like I was an instant hit-maker. Mostly, I was writing only scraps of songs, and they were largely very lame.

Still, I knew that this is something that I wanted to pursue. Somewhere deep down, I believed that I might be capable of being a good writer. So in a very bold, gutsy, “sell the farm” kind of way, I decided to transplant myself to the very place where my favorite songs were coming from. Time will tell if any musical good will come of this.

As I have traveled hither and thither this fall, I have written a lot of songs. Most of them aren’t worth sharing. But this past Saturday, on a plane from Boston to Charlotte, I cranked out a song that I can honestly say is good. It’s GOOD. I really think so. As my own worst critic, I am so encouraged to know that I am capable of writing something that isn’t entirely a sorry excuse.

And regardless of anyone else’s approval or accolades, I know in my heart that I am making a good decision in moving to Nashville.

The sad truth about scabby knees

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

I arrived back in Kansas City last night to find my nephews, Micah and Tyler, spending the night at my parent’s. SLEEPOVER! I know that I say this all the time, but there is nothing that brings me more joy than spending time with those little nuggets.

Late in the evening, Tyler, who is 2 1/2, stubbed his toe. His face was this heartbreaking mix of shock and pain, because can you imagine? Stubbing your toe for the first time? And the unbelievable amount of agony that occurs? He was traumatized.

To curtail the tears and take his mind off of his aching toe, I quickly lied down on the floor with him and said, “Tyler, wanna see MY owie?” I rolled up my jeans to show him my bruised and scabbed knee. He, being the sweetest child alive, quickly said, “Don’t worry, I will kiss it.”

Now, picture this. He and I are lying side-by-side on the living room floor, my pant leg is rolled up past my knee – and my mom walks over, manhandles my calf, and bends it back over my body toward Tyler’s waiting lips. I am resistantly folded in half, because no, I’m sorry, my body does not willingly bend that way. I cry out in discomfort, but Tyler is eager to kiss my knee, so Mom pushes harder. I yowl, she pushes, he waits with his little lips puckered, and the human angle becomes smaller and smaller and smaller.

Finally, his lips connect with my knee.

And he declares, “Hmmm, it’s kind of furry.”