Sunday, May 31, 2009

Snug as a bug in a rug

I used to always tuck Michael in real tight when he was younger.  I would tell him I was tucking him in, snug as a bug in a rug.  I would roll him towards me, tuck the covers under him.  Roll him away from me and tuck the covers under his other side real tight.  I would then tuck any extra under the bottom of his feet.
He would squirm out and ask me to do it again.  He would laugh and laugh, and his face would light up like a spring sunrise in Islamorada.  Warming the damp morning air.  Michael warmed my heart with every laugh, smile, and kind word.  He loved the fun things done over and over and over.  
I have a video of when I was tucking him in and watching it makes me so sad.  Sad like a heavy load that is placed on my chest 1 brick at a time.  That breathing become laborous, and tears race down my cheek searching for the ground.
When he passed away I didn't tuck him in.  I only hope that he can tuck me and Jenn in now; snug as a bug in a rug everynight.
Again Michael, Again.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Not Butter Teeth

Michael would brush his teeth.  I was never sure how well he did at it, so when he was younger I would have him breathe at me so I could smell his breath.  In my head I thought that if his mouth smelled strongly of toothpaste, then he brushed his teeth well.  If I couldn't smell the toothpaste breath, then he needed to re-brush his teeth.  
Unfortunately whenever he breathed on me, some spittle would get on me too.  I was never a fan of that part, but looking back, I miss it when he would let me test to see how well he brushed his teeth.

I also remember when he would never really spit out the toothpaste, a little spit would come out, but not much.  Not too long ago, I was brushing my teeth with him and I remember seeing him spit.  He did a great job of getting the toothpaste out of his mouth, that I high-fived him and praised him.  

There was a lot of little things that I thought were super important back then that I really let get to me.  Missing Michael, I wish for those times and don't feel I would have made as big of a deal out of it.  I didn't want him to be known as "Butter Teeth" or the kid with bad breath,  and he wasn't known as Butter Teeth or the kid with bad breath.  So in the end it all worked out.  I am sorry Michael for getting on your case about brushing your teeth and you can breath toothpaste spittle on me anytime. 

It seems I may have been mistake about the meaning of butter teeth, regardles I didn't want Michael to have yellow teeth.

Hair Care for Kids

Michael used to wash his own hair, however I am not sure how well he did it.  He would always get out of the shower with liquid hair (he never dried his head).  When I would go to dry his hair, it would be full of shampoo. 
Michael hated getting water in his eyes, so the only part of his hair that he ever got the soap out of was the back part.  He hated it when I helped him dry his hair, because sometimes I would have him go back in the shower and I would help wash the soap out of his hair.
He wasn't happy with me, but I really miss those nights when I would help him get all the shampoo out of his hair.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Cosmic Bowl

My buddy James, Melissa, and their two kids would go bowling every month or two.  Typically they would call me and see if we wanted to go.  Jenn was usually at an all night scrapbooking session.  We would go to Capital Lanes to go bowling for Cosmic Bowl.
Cosmic Bowling for those of you who don't know, includes a dark room, a disco ball, loud music, and dancing lights.  We would get one lane and would usually bowl about two games.  Michael and Taylor would use the bumper rails.  Michael would take his ball walk up to the line and drop it.  Five minutes later when the ball reached the pins, one or two would drop.  He never cared about scores because his real love was the music and the racing red lights.
When it wasn't his turn, he would be dancing on the wood floor and Taylor would copy him.  Michael loved cosmic bowl, he had such fun.  His face was full of smiles and it was a wonderful time.  I am glad James invited me because Michael was never out late and we would never have had that opportunity.  
I will miss Michael Hiding from the red laser lights on the wall and floor in the bowling alley when he pretended that the cosmic bowl was a battle field the last time we went.  He also loved getting a Sprite to drink, and Nacho's and Cheese for a snack.  He was always my biggest fan whenever I bowled a strike and was there to give a "high five" and some words of encouragement.  My favorite part was when he told me to look up at the screen each time to show me where I should bowl my next ball to pick up the spare.
Capital Lanes also had Laser Tag, Michael loved Laser tag.  We would always play a game of Laser Tag after we had finished bowling.  He would get so excited and loved to try and shoot anyone on the other team.  Like always he was happy to be there and would have been happy just dancing at the Capital Lanes and not playing bowling or laser tag.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Nature Trails

Michael and I used to love to walk down Nature trails.  He was scared of a lot of things, but his first experiences on Nature Trails were pleasant.  We would usually get two sprites and walk down a board walk nature trail at Fort Matanzas.
At Mission San Luis, we went down to the nature trail, he thought it would be bright, and that we would walk down a board walk.  When we started the trail, he said to me... "Where is the nature trail?"  He got scared as we went deeper in the woods.  I coaxed him on and we made it through the trail.  On other occassions, we would pretend that as we went deeper into the woods that we were going back in time.  We were spaniards from the blockhouse on a mission of the utmost importance.  He loved the walk, we would explore and make sure we were able to gather great intel.  Other times we would pretend as we walked down the woods, that we were stepping back into prehistoric times.  That we had to avoid the bad dinosaurs.  We always made it out ok, and after each nature walk, Michael was satisified that we had the best time ever.
Every time I walk down a trail, I will remember those times.  I will take a step back in time with Michael at my side on a mission to gather intel on enemy troops or try to avoid dinosaurs with him.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Life in Motion

Life is in motion, it never stops, at times we feel like the world slows down and we catch a glimpse of the world in slow motion.  The world keeps turning, millions of people continue in their lives, everything changes.
Michael was always in motion, he was always doing something.  I was never able to keep up with him.  My world and his world were spinning at different speeds.  Many times they synched up, and we were never far apart.
When Michael died my world stopped, I was in shock.  I didn't know what to do.  I don't know how to cope.  I guess I keep thinking that he is gone, that he will be back someday.  In a sense I guess that is true.  The world is turning and I have trouble focusing.  Everythings is in motion and this place is emptier for me and Jenn without him.  My world is spinning out of control on several different axes. 
You can't hang on to those you love, you can't keep them forever.  They change - you change, you can only hold on to the memories and build new experiences and memories.  There is no stop motion where you can reposition or move back the pieces.  I have always looked in the past, then I met Michael and Jenn and I began looking foward in the future.  I don't think I spent enough time in the present.  I do have the memories, but feel cheated because I can no longer look forward to the future and see the three of us.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mamma's Boy

Michael for all the guy things he was in to, was a momma's boy.  He loved to cuddle and love to share snacks with her.  They would get treats and shop together, they would get drinks (coke for Jenn and a sprite for Michael).  If Jenn and I were laying down in bed, he would come in with a big grin and work his way in between us.  A few days before he died, he was "snuggling" with mommy and asked if I wanted to join.  "The bed is not big enough for the three of us" I replied..  
They were great together, two peas in a pod.  Michael, the lover of green army men, and Jenn the lover of "The Real House Wives of some city"...

I miss hearing them play Uno in the other room and then Jenn coming out to tell me she won X times in a row.
I miss Michael squeezing up between us.
Mommy's Boy and all, he had a great look on life;  He loved the comfort of mommy, and only she could comfort him.  He was tough and loved to wrestle.  What more could you ask for....

Friday, May 22, 2009

Michael 3:26

Not a Bible verse, but I saw the video my wife made for the memorial service.  She picked the perfect song.  Goodnight My Beautiful Goodbye by Josh Kelley.  I don't want to say Good Night or Goodbye.  I can't believe Jenn picked the perfect pictures for the slide show/movie.  If you were to condense your life into 3:26 seconds, what song what you pick?  What pictures would you put on the slideshow?  
If you don't know the answer to the above question, take some time from your day and think about it.  A time of 3:26 in words would be around 400 words...  Do you know 400 words that would sum up your life?  I don't know the answers to these questions.  I do know the following things...
1) Michael left us too early
2) Michael taught me how to love
3) Michael had the best mom ever in Jenn
4) Life isn't fair
5) I don't know how to go on
6) Michael was a happy kid
7) Michael had a great heart and genuinely cared about others
8) I hope one day to have 1/10 of the genuineness he had
9) The past tense sucks

It's hard to say goodbye
When I'm holding out my hands
Holding out my hands for love
That opened my eyes
Filled with tears that never dry
For you the angels cry
Goodnight, goodnight, my sweet love you're
Goodnight, goodnight, the stars up above
will be bright
Despite a love bound and broken from the start
Goodnight, my beautiful goodbye
It's hard to comprehend
Our beginning is the end
Of a love that never had
A chance to dance with you
So I choose to take this pain
And wish for more to say than
Goodnight, goodnight, my sweet love you're
Goodnight, goodnight, the stars up above
will be bright
Despite a love bound and broken from
the start
Goodnight, my beautiful goodbye
Oh sweet angel of mine
Gone to sail through the night
In m heart you'll always be
I hope that you'll remember me wherever you are
Goodnight, goodnight, my sweet love you're
Goodnight, goodnight, stare up above will
be bright
Despite a love bound and broken from the start
Goodbye, Goodnight
Oh, Goodnight, goodnight, my sweet love
you're beautiful
Goodnight, goodnight, the stars up above
will be bright
Despite a love bound and broken from the start
Goodnight, my beautiful goodbye

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fort Matanzas

A couple of years ago, I went on a week long summer vacation to Crescent Beach, FL.  Michael was just starting to get involved in history and we had the opportunity to go to a couple of forts and to an Alligator Farm.  

Fort Matanzas - This was a small forte less than a mile from the house we were staying at.  You get to ride a short ferry across the river to get to the fort.  The fort is small, but real neat.  I think we went to the fort every day of the week that we were there.  It is a small park and a quick ferry trip, but we loved it.  It was at this vacation that he started to get heavy into military history.  We went to Fort Matanzas 5 times that week.  And we walked down the nature trail (boardwalk through the woods).  He loved to get a sprite for each of us as we started our journey down the trail.  When walking a nature trail we loved to pretend that we had gone back in time, that we were in the times of the Spanish armada and the British were at war.  We would gingerly slink down the boardwalk listening for any signs of the enemy.  Each visit Michael would say he would take the tour to the top of the roof on the blockhouse, but he just couldn't manage to do it.  I love those memories.  Watching the wind rush through his hair and his eyes squint so as to see through the surf and wind to our ultimate destination, Fort Matanzas.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Michael loved to go to the park.  I took him to the park in sets, sometimes we would go every other weekend, then we would hit a dry patch.  When we were at the park we played a few different games....
1) Afterburner - he loved to have me push him on the swing... I would push him high and hard, but not too hard and would say "Afterburner".  Pretending he was a plane, I would love to push him and say Afterburner.
2) Don't Come Back - This was his all time favorite.  As I would push him, I would tell him to get out of here and don't come back.... when he swung back toward me I would say... "I said get out of ere and don't come back", this used to crack him up.  He would always say "I am back"..... It was so great.  Who knew that continually pushing a swing and making up a game would be so fun.
3) Chase - He loved playing chase all the time, he loved to be chased and loved to barely get away.  I would usually grab a leg while he was on the playset.  He always managed to break free and "win".  The good guys always won in his book
4) Star Wars/ Good Guy/ Bad Guy - As he got older he loved to race from one playset to another pretending that we were on the same team.  We always managed to escape, get reinforcements, and live to fight another day.  Michael had a vivid imagination that he got from his mother, I will always remember our trips to the park, too bad we didn't take more trips.   
2) Tekesta Park - Great for quick trips to the park, excellent for pretend Star Wars
3) Winthrop Park - Great playground, excellent to play "Daddy is the Troll who wants to get me"

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Air Fest 2009

Today and Sunday is the airfest for Tallahassee (  While small compared to military air shows, it looks like great fun.  You can even fly in some of the planes and helicopters for a price.  Michael would have loved going to this airshow and would have thought it was the best thing in the world.  I am not sure if he would have gone up in a plane or helicopter this time.  Maybe I would have talked him into a trip in a B-52 if it was available.  His eyes would have lit up seeing the planes and the RC planes too.  I would have video taped as much as I could.  He would have wanted me to videotape the planes on the tarmac, or he would have brought his flip cam.
We missed the airshow last year at Tyndell, we couldn't fit it into our schedule.  I tried to find another airshow this year and had several ideas, unfortunately he passed before those air shows.  With tears dripping down my face I can only think of how he would have reacted at Air Fest 2009 and wish he was still here with us.  It would have been great if all three of us would have gone.  Now I sit here thinking of what might have been and am left with the memories of the times we played with planes, star wars and lego space ships in aerial battles of "yesterday".

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Michael and I always raced.  We loved counting down a multitude of things from TV, to weekdays, to games.  He was very competive and I almost always let him win.  I remember we would race to the car every morning.  He would love to get a head start and beat me to the car.  Sometimes I would cheat and get a head start, but he always booked it to the car and I usually let it end up in a tie.  I always wanted him to continue trying, no matter what the obstacle.  I always started with a countdown from three before we started to race.

As a small toddler, I used the sit him in my lap and do a countdown.  We would pretend we were on the space shuttle and I would start shaking him softly as we got closer to zero.  When we reached zero, I would blast us off, by falling backwards from a sitting position.  We would get into a position like atronauts and shake and turn him.  He loved dodging the meteors and his all time favorite was when we tipped over into a crash landing on a planet.

Now I have a countdown of a different kind.  I don't have a set number and I dont know how long the countdown will be.  But when the countdown hits zero, we will be able to play again.  Until then, I am here without him for many years.  There is no way I can cheat this countdown, it is the countdown of life.  This is the longest countdown of my life.  My rocket ship has come crashing down to Earth and there is devastation on the landscape called my heart.  A nuclear bomb has exploded and the crater is enormous.

Until my countdown reaches zero, I will have to continue to play on without Michael.  To pilot my ship waiting for my copilot to return.  When playing I loved to restart the countdown and Michael used to always say "again Stu, again, do it again".  I find myself saying I wish I had a redo.  You will never know how precious life is until you lose someone.  That is a lesson I wish no one had to learn.  Life goes on, and things will get easier, but until then I am piloting my ship without the worlds best copilot and watching time countdown.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

Today was Mother's day.  It was the first without Michael.  A typical mother's day usually consisted of me purchasing items a week or two out.  Then getting two cards, one from me and one from Michael.  Finally, the night before Michael and I would go out and get some flowers and hide them in the garage or the middle bedroom.  I would explain to Michael what Mother's Day was about and he would say "I know Stu".  
The next morning we would wake up Jenn and give her some breakfast in bed (cereal or whatnot). We would have a mother's day McD's lunch, and possibly bring home dinner to the house.

This Mother's Day was none of that.  I signed Jenn's card with Michael and my name, and didn't give a gift or flowers this year.  How do you celebrate Mother's Day after your son is gone?  Jenn is a wonderful mother, who showed Michael so much love and they had such a special bond.  Her life revolved around him and only she could pick him up and comfort him when he was sick or sad or needed his mom.  It was great to see him cuddling up next to her in the bed sometimes, he really loved that.  

Michael is gone now physically, but his spirit will never leave us.  He was free and had the most amazing heart.  He showed me how to love and become a better person.  He had an amazing bond with his mommy, Jenn that can never be broken.   

Mother's Day Jenn, Michael will always be with you. 

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The British are Coming - Act 1 Scene 2

Michael loved museums, he loved history, he loved learning new things.  I loved taking him and watching him as he saw history right before his eyes.  A few years ago, we went to the Mary Brogan Museum just about every weekend or two.  If we were bored, we would just run to the museum for a bit.  
His first visit to Mission San Luis when we talked to the characters, we met a character actor of a spanish solider in the block house.  The actor said that the british or pirates were on their way to destroy the village, he was playing in character of the time.  Michael did not understand at first and became a little frustrated.

Solider:  The british are on their way to destroy the village, they have indian allies and are getting close.  We will have to burn the village before they get here.
Michael: Why don't you call for help?
Solider: That would take weeks to send a messenger.
Michael: Just use your cell phone.
Solider: Cell Phone?  What is this Cell Phone.
Michael: You know, you use it when you want to talk to someone.
Solider:  We sent a message via a courier (sp), we don't think they made it.
Michael:  A cell phone is technology, use your technology.
Solider: We have technology, I have a musket right here.  I have never heard of a cell phone.
Michael: Technology, you know xbox, that is technology.
Solider: xbox?  We have a box over there, is that what you mean.
Me:  Michael the year is 1540, it is not present day.
Michael:  It is 2008, I have an xbox, you have a cell phone.  We have technology to call for help.
Solider:  It is 1540, we must get ready to burn the fort down.
Michael: Look over there at that red box, it says "pull in case of fire".  That is technology, this is 2008.
Solider:  I see no red box.
Michael: (Walks to the box) and points it out matter of factly.
Me: Michael, he is pretending this is 1540 and that we have gone back in time.
Michael: Ohh (A smile creeping across his face), why don't you use your guns to defeat the british? (Always believing the good guys would win).

Michael learned a lot that trip, he had always liked museums.  However, after that encounter, he wanted to talk more to the characters even if he was shy at times with them.  He realized that his love of history and his love of imagination could morph into a magical moment especially at living history exhibits.  He loved watching any reenactments.  

At Mission San Luis, his favorite area was the block house, nature trail, and the great council house.  I believe we made about 7-10 trips to Mission San Luis, what a wonderful time to see how he reacted being around living history.  I don't know if I can ever go back to a museum, the wonder and excitement are gone.  The magic is missing.  They had a story telling April 11th, it would have been fun to go to another story telling by Rainbow Eagle.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

April 9, 2009

It's the day my life ended.  

It's the day I heard terror in my wife's voice.

It's the day I heard my son had passed out at school.

It's the day that my wife and I were met at the hospital by the ER director, a chaplin, and some victim advocates from the sheriff's office.

It's the day I dropped my son off at school in the morning like any other day.

It's the day I will never hear my son's voice out loud, except in videos and my memory.

It's the day my son passed away.

I miss him dearly, tremendously, my heart is heavy and it aches whenever I think about it.

Michael was 9 going on 10 on July 1, 2009;  but he never made it.