he began with a sleepy mumble.
"your nephew has arrived. his name is matthew tyler leighton."
turns out the near lethal combination of 2 bud lights at a golf tournament, chased by an all-nighter of wrinkled worry for my sun-stroked, early-bird-catches-the-worm, father-in-law, had quaintly fogged the order.
he was in fact, tyler. matthew. leighton.
and the world would never be the same.
like his grandpa, he was never a sleeper.
from his first breath, he has not wanted to miss a step, miss a beat.
i was auntie "etta" to the gerber-faced boy, with a symbiotic bond so tight, atomic experiences forced disposal of a certain sweater.
["i don't feel so good... bllaaarrrggghhhh...."]
nice, kid. nice. you know i don't have kids, right?
ah, his golden mullet, those golden hockey curls. his parents so slow to relinquish, but who could blame them? for never did tyler bend with inclination towards a hockey stick. and thank god. for to hide his light under a mask would be a penalty of incalculable minutes.
[yes, this canuck had to throw in a hockey metaphor.]
there have been MOMENTS.
there was a moment when i overheard tyler telling his mother that we MADE him get up REALLY EARLY when he was vacationing in l.a.. the same vacation i would roll over every morning and beg him for another half hour of sleep...
yup. that was a moment.
there was a moment when, SUDDENLY, he didn't like grape juice with his medication.
and after 2 hours of trying to get him to take it, i wasn't sure if i liked HIM all that much.
yup. that was a moment.
and there was a moment when he locked our bathroom door, from the inside, just because he could.
but my nephew is a STAR.
because this 3 year-old rising star would take my sparkles, dusting everyone who walked in his path, daring them not to be infatuated by his joie de vivre...
because he took a bunch of bullies and "mini-popped" them upside the head, winnipeg's singular sensation; superstar. with peace and love, he did not give in, but gave back with gift of song...
because every day, in the twelve days of christmas, in tiny, wrapped treasures, he'd ask, "are you going to a meeting, auntie hen?". giving me poke over push over prod. loving me until i could love myself again...
and on his 14th birthday, his light does not flicker. he already burns strong, firm and fierce.
on the night i took my 9 month chip, i came home to a quiet piece of cyber mail. not a shiny, loud facebook shriek, but soft and sincere.
the measure of a man in the making.
my dear tyler,
i hate camping, but i would get sand all up in my lady gaga heels [thatistillhavescarsfromwalking0.8milestothatIHOPinglendale] for you today. no matter what, i will always be your aunt. you have been sewn into my heart from the second i heard about you. and nothing, no person, no event, no single force of nature will ever rip you out.
it's no coincidence you covered "moves like jagger".
like mick, you dance sky-scrapingly tall. unique. free.
no-one can touch you.
don't let them.
but, better than mick, you are my rock star.
i love you,