My son, Tim, makes me happy. Today he turned 34. He has a beautiful, kind wife and a wonderful 9-month old son.
Tim achieved recognition before he was even born when the nurses saw that his hair was going to be white blonde. I remember the nurse went to get the other nurses to come see the white hair. It was as soft as baby duck down. Tim was a very upright baby; he didn’t cuddle much except with my mother. She liked to say, “He’s my boy.”
From a very early age, Tim loved baseball and has an incredible memory for sports facts and statistics. He was an avid collector of baseball cards. In fact, his only real reading for years was the sports page in the paper, Sports Illustrated, and the backs of baseball cards. His writing was mostly lists of players, line-ups, statistics, and his predictions about the World Series.
Tim’s tender side wasn’t widely known, but I knew that he grieved when his tadpole died, just before it was fully a frog. We buried it in the vegetable garden. I knew he was sad when his asthma made it impossible for us to keep Snowy, his guinea pig. One day, Snowy got loose in the house and ended up under my bed. I had to shut the door and wait for Tim to get home from school. He was the only one who could get Snowy to come out. He had a sweet relationship with Snowy – even when Snowy made his eyes water and his nose stuffy.
Perhaps Tim’s tender side wasn’t as visible because he also had a bit of a temper. It was a justifiable temper in reaction to difficulties in some family relationships, but I think he also got a bad rap sometimes. I didn’t realize until my older son went on a trip one summer that perhaps Tim was getting the blame for things that his brother may have provoked.
One hot, humid Virginia summer day, I was driving my four kids in our Chevy Celebrity station wagon. It was more than hot. The kids were tired from doing errands with me. Tim was sitting in the front seat with me. He really wanted a Slurpee. In an arbitrary moment of parental control, I said, “No.” Actually, I think that I was afraid that if I took all the kids to get a Slurpee, my husband would have been angry at the “waste” of money. Tim asked again, and protested when I said, “No.” We argued back and forth and then, in frustration, he kicked the windshield. The windshield had already been pitted by a rock a few weeks earlier. Tim happened to connect with the weak spot. The windshield was suddenly a spider web of cracked glass. He sucked in his breath. He was sure his life was over. I tried to assure him that the windshield was already cracked, but we were all afraid to go home to dad’s potential wrath.
So we went to see Grandma and Pappy. We had Grandma’s homemade cookies and Pepsi as we cooled off. I decided to call dad and prepare him for the state of the windshield. Thankfully, we all lived through that one. Happy Birthday, Tim.
I’ll share my favorite Tim story in tomorrow’s slice.