“I love you, Mommy.”
Gavin says that to me several times a day, out of the blue. It is one of my most favorite things. This morning he asked, “Do you know why I always say ‘I love you?’”
“Because I am gonna love you forever.” And just like that, my broken bleeding heart burst with happiness.
Today was a snow day. We got bundled up and headed outside so Gavin could play while I shoveled. I watched him as he stood with his mouth open, hoping to catch some snowflakes. I watched him lay on the snow and look up into the sky in undisturbed silence for several minutes. Everything is so quiet under the peaceful insulation of the snow. It is almost as if the beauty itself has more clarity – at least I think so – and I believe Gavin was feeling that very same phenomenon. I tried to leave him alone to enjoy the illusion of solitude in the soft and peaceful surroundings of our yard (with the exception of my scraping shovel that he scolded me for a few times).
Later I took Gavin to see his very first movie in the movie theater - Frozen. I know, he is pretty old for it to be his first, but he also never expressed any interest and he just can’t sit still for long. For a movie that I thought was overall “Meh,” I was so impressed because he really took it all in and enjoyed every minute. I know a lot of people really loved it, so maybe I just wasn't feeling it because I was in a bit of a cloud overall that day. Regardless, he was such a good boy.
At the concession stand, we bought a box of candy as a tribute to Ty, and I was so surprised when Gavin changed his mind after buying a box of peanut butter M&M’s (his favorite) and instead pointed to the box of Starburst in the window (Ty’s favorite) and asked me if he could trade. Those moments keep me smiling, because they remind me that I don’t have to keep looking so hard for my angel – he shows me he is with us all the time.
|Ty at his first and only movie - Despicable Me 3D|
In this video, Gavin is pretending to be a turkey hunter. This is something Ty never got to do. My experience of Gavin at 4 years old is so entirely different than what I experienced with Ty, for so many obvious reasons. One of which includes his very different personality, of course, but watching Gavin with a feather in his hat, crouching around my house hunting turkeys for Thanksgiving with a pretend bow and arrow has me thinking “What would four-year-old Ty have been like if he never had such physical limitations? If he attended preschool the way Gavin does and took home all the exciting things he learned like Gavin does.”
Ty was limited to the couch. He watched Max and Ruby incessantly. Gavin watches TV, but with much less interest because he has the ability to go off and get lost in his Lego wars for hours on end. Oh how I wish things were different for Ty. Even if he wasn’t going to beat the cancer in the end, I wish he was able to be a normal kid before relapse. When lamenting over this – which I do every day since that is my main focus here at the foundation – my greatest blessing is knowing it bothered me more than it seemed to bother him. He smiled so easily despite the unfairness of it all.
So while I am so brokenhearted over all the normal childhood activities that Ty missed out on, I am equally brokenhearted over the time I lost with Gavin from the time he was about 16 months old (when Ty was diagnosed) until just about now… when I am finally starting to reemerge as a completely different (but still pretty rad) person. And I am finally capable of being the Mom I want to be for him. I am able to enjoy him. To make memories with my G-man. During our long drives, I used to joke with Ty and say, “It’s you and me against the world, right Ty?” Now I share that same joke with Gavin and it warms my heart. Healing happens.