For whatever reason, on this particular night, the site popped up a window asking if I wanted to share the photos with an email address I hadn't seen in at least 8 years.
I was thrown off-guard.
I sat frozen as I stared at my baby brother's email address-- it had not been used in almost a decade.
I barely remembered the playful emails we would exchange during his teenage years.
I was hit in the gut.
I crumpled in a heap, tears unstoppable and spilling all over the keyboard.
He was my only brother-- much like a son to me-- since I was thirteen when he was born.
His birth brought grace from heaven to my teenage years that were full of angst and confusion.
As I wept, my mind remembered stories from our past.
I faded to the distant time when I was that teenager.
My sister and I helping mom decorate the nursery as her belly swelled.
The room was an explosion of baby items-- new crib, bedding, toys, wrapping paper, and boxes from baby showers.
We helped line the chair-railed walls with pale blue wallpaper marked with white pin-stripes.
When that baby came home from the hospital, I rocked and rocked him in the chunky brown rocker. I told Mom, I like the smell of babies.
His fawn-colored hair brushed my cheek as I swayed with that bundled babe on my chest-- engulfed by an intense foreign love that I would not discover again until I fell in love with my own babies.
That boy's hair changed from brown to blond as he grew.
And I remembered...
Singing Happy Birthday to blond-haired brother as he stood in a kitchen chair, his little body hovering over three lit candles atop his cake.
His small hands extending up to cover his dark-hershey eyes like my own, as he silently made a wish before puffing out tiny flames.
We cheered and clapped. His greatest fans.
Shadows of clouds swept gently across the ground that mild January day.
Blond-haired brother laughed and pedaled his red trike fast, round and round the driveway as my sister and I chased.
His little legs turned in circles. One foot inevitably sock-less in navy blue Keds. An Atlanta Braves hat loosely perched upon his 3-year old head.
Dad stepped out of the house and the boy asked, I ride in Mr. P's jeep?
Our neighbor and closest family friends, the Powells, owned a Jeep Wrangler and my brother loved taking rides in it around the neighborhood. A boy's dream.
We will see son, answered Dad.
|Tyler and his buddy Mr. P|
The highlight of that toddler's week was watching for the garbage truck to head down our street. He also adored maneuvering locomotives, his twain twacks, that scattered our dining room floor.
Another cherished event was when he was 6-years old-- Kevin and I were dating-- we drove that sweet boy to see the Rodeo at the Montgomery Amphitheater.
He clomped and shuffled in his leather cowboy boots, which were eventually handed down to my boys years later.
Etched in my mind...
His hand tightly squeezing mine as we dodged crowds of people.
Horses barrel racing, cowboys bull-riding.
Smacking popcorn, and shelling roasted peanuts.
Our noses infused with the pungent odor of livestock, which whisked
|Ty's boots made it through 2 of my boys-- just a few more scuffs added|
I also remember his Kindergarten Christmas program when he was 6-years old.
I was a college student and was left in charge of him and my little sister for a few days while Mom and Dad were out of town on a business trip.
I videotaped and snickered throughout the program as that adorable 6-year old played the part of Rudolph.
He was so embarrassed to wear a huge red nose.
Every time he moved during the performance, the giant foam ball fell off and rolled across the stage.
He quickly deduced that holding his hand over his nose the entire performance was the best way to keep it in place.
Long lazy summer days were spent at our neighbors' pond fishing with Dad. He also spent many days at the barn or horse shows with my mom and sis.
|Ty at about age 5 or 6-years old with a big one"|
He had a quiet strength and brilliance. He was loyal to friends and stood up against a kid that was bullying a smaller child on the playground one day in Kindergarten. His teacher later told my mom that Ty actually placed himself between the two kids and physically restrained the bully.
He was also very curious. Our den had a vaulted ceiling with bookshelves that went to the top. My mom had an old hat box as a decoration on one of the highest shelves. Ty's curiosity got the better of him one day and he climbed to the very tip-top to discover the hat box had absolutely. nothing. in. it.
As that little boy grew, twain twacks and trikes were replaced by a BB gun, 4wheeler, telescope, swords, and dart guns.
Maturity also brought a departure from his toddler years of being horrified of wizards (lizards); yet, he never gave up his strong disdain for any food item that included yunyons (onions).
He was my buddy-- even as he grew-- he was always enthusiastic about an opportunity to spend time with me.
I am forever grateful for so many precious memories.
Brother of my heart.
Read more of my brother's story here.