Ty woke on the wrong side of the bed one day last week. It was rough. He was mad at the world and declared he was dropping out of school. He is in first grade and generally likes it. To say it was a bad morning would be an understatement. I emailed his teacher a fair warning because I know my son well. He could legitimately be telling his friends goodbye at school because in his mind it was his last day. She laughed when she read it because she only sees the well behaved version of Ty and has a difficult time imagining his little hot head exploding all over the place first thing in the morning.
The next day he went to school without mentioning the previous day's declaration and when I picked him up, emerged from the building waving a paper and smiling from ear to ear. He had earned a shout out from his teacher for being a good friend to everyone. He has coveted the treasured shout out all year and the teacher is very selective about using them so there was a strong likelihood he may not have ever been the recipient. This was special. As I was commenting on his ability to be a good friend to everyone, he very seriously stated, "it's a good thing I didn't drop out." Honestly.
The night we were called to the hospital to say goodbye to Jen, I ended up with a tension headache that made me pretty sick. It was a long hard night of restless sleep. Once the headache lifted, I was unable to rest so I turned on the West Wing. About three in the morning, Ty wandered into my room. The episode I was watching had the White House trying to restore the first lady's image so they invited Sesame Street to air a segment with her. Ty happened to stumble into my room when Big Bird was on the screen. He looked at me in disbelief and questioned, "you watch kid shows in the dark?" I tried to convince him it was my show but Big Bird was visiting for just a minute and invited him to crawl into bed with me. He curled up next to me and asked again about Big Bird. I assured him there would be no further kid's characters so he could just go back to sleep. I kid you not, the very next scene featured Elmo! Ty is absolutely convinced I stay up all night watching kid shows without him! I considered emaling his teacher a disclaimer but decided it might be more fun to let her wonder.
This week Ty's school hosted a Super Hero themed celebration leading up to a festival for St. Baldrick's in honor of a little girl our school lost to childhood cancer a few years ago. Ty was pumped to be a super hero at school on Friday. I asked for a photo because the costumes are not worn nearly as often as they once were and I see those days slipping away. He insisted I had to wear my cape too. Ironically, it was Jen who bought that cape for me and I was wearing it when I got the call she was gone.
Tonight at her memorial, Ty wanted everyone to know Jen liked to have light saber duals with him. He wasn't brave enough to stand up and tell everyone but I assured him everyone who knew Jen, knew that about her. Jen loved my kids and especially appreciated stories about Ty. All of them are wrestling with this loss. Jen was one of a kind and very special to all who had the privilege of knowing her.