Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘Shawn’

21 Years Ago

Tomorrow, October 5th is my son’s birthday. He will turn 21. But I remember with clarity where I was on this day – 21 years ago.

Today is not much different from that day many years ago.  Cool and crisp – but sunny.  We were living in Fortuna, California, where Greg was pastor of Rohnerville Assembly of God church.  My mother was visiting in preparation for the baby.  He was due on the 2nd – but still had not come.  I was HUGE and very anxious.  In the middle of the night on this day – I felt some lower abdomen tightening and went to sit in the recliner in our family room.  I remember this well – because I would watch the clock on our VCR and time the tightening.

By morning, nothing had happened so I said to Greg, “let’s take a walk”.  It was such a nice morning – crisp and cool, summer was reluctant to leave and was giving us some beautiful long sunny days before waving goodbye.  I was aware that there was an apple festival in our little town – and thought it might be fun for 4-year-old Ashlee to go and have a hay ride.

When we got there it was lunch time – because nothing was happening with me (as far as labor was concerned) I didn’t see any problem eating lunch.  And eat we did – they had chili dogs and I HAD ONE!

Greg found where they were giving people hay rides and decided to go with Ashlee.  They hopped on and quickly out of sight.  My mother and I were left to roam around and look at several booths.  I remember there was a building we went inside to look at some things – and it was then that I felt something.  It was not painful – just different.  It was not an emergency – but it’s funny how you go into emergency mode.  With Greg and Ashlee gone – we weren’t sure what to do.  After what seemed like hours – they returned.  We left Ashlee with one of the teenagers from the church so she could continue to have fun – and the rest of us went home to see if this would be the real thing.

The little hospital was right down the road from where we lived – so going home was better and more comfortable until we knew for sure.  I remember we tried to rest that afternoon.  But it was more and more apparent that this baby was COMING!  We decided that my mom would drop us off at the hospital – keep the car and go get Ashlee.  She was new in our town – and had quite a time finding the place where the festival was – and then back home again.

I had a 5 hour labor with Ashlee – four years earlier.  And would you believe – this labor with Shawn was also 5 hours long?  It was just as intense – and completely natural both times, although Shawn was significantly bigger.  But SO worth it!!

I will never forget my first moments with Shawn Tyler.  Everyone had left, I was in a private room – holding him.  I kept humming the Brahms Lullaby to him.  And there was a very special bonding that took place in those moments.  I knew at the time it was something I would remember all of my life – and someday tell him about.

Happy birthday to my sweet, sensitive, funny and crazy talented son.  You are very loved.

Shawn and me at Ashlee’s wedding in 2009

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20 Years Ago

20 years tomorrow, bring back many memories for me.  Our younger child, Shawn Tyler was born, October 5th, 1991.

Like those of you with children, either young – or grown, you can’t even hardly remember what your life looked like without them in your life.  We are no different.  To us – it feels like both Ashlee, now 24 and Shawn – have been with us forever.

But they weren’t.  We lived a whole lifetime before we knew them.  Hard to imagine it now.

20 years ago we were living in Fortuna, CA where my husband Greg was lead (and only) pastor at a very small church.  We lived next door in the church owned parsonage with our 4-year-old daughter, Ashlee.

Both my children are gifts – I did not have the easiest time becoming pregnant – and with Shawn it took 18 months to conceive.

I remember walking around a park nearby to our home and praying for another child. The memory is so clear in my mind – even all these years later.

The Lord said, “yes” and some months later I discovered that I was expecting again.  I took the home pregnancy test – it turned light blue and Greg’s first response was this:  “It’s NOT blue enough”!  Can you imagine?  But indeed it WAS.  And I WAS!

Both my pregnancies and deliveries were pretty text-book – I did get to walk around more with Shawn – was in a much more progressive hospital this time around – even though we were in a very small town in northern California.

But Shawn was much bigger than Ashlee’s little 7′-10″ – He was 8′-13 1/2″ and a few inches longer than Ashlee too.

He was late – where Ashlee was right on time.  And Shawn has been late for everything since that day – Laid back and peaceful.  He has not changed much since he was a child.

I remember holding him after he was born and humming the “Brahms Lullaby”  to him.  It was a true “bonding moment” that stands frozen in time – in my memory.

Fearful and carefully guarded as a child – he has grown up to be a great listener and warm and compassionate with others.  He has an easy peaceful and laid back spirit, makes friends easily and is fun to be around – bringing energy to an entire room.

We knew that Shawn was musical from the time he was a little boy – had incredible pitch even as a child – and adapted well to many instruments – leaning toward the drums and guitar while still quite young.  He was also a very good student and athlete – playing both baseball and basketball for several teams – but in the end when he had to make a choice – music won out.

He played lead drums in his church for several years – and now has made a move to Burbank, CA to attend Musician’s Institute in Hollywood – a dream of his – for years now.  He is down there living the dream and we couldn’t be happier for him or think of anyone who deserves it more.

Shawn was a normal child and teenager – but always had that invisible “X-Factor” growing up.  He made normal mistakes while growing – but learned some valuable lessons about himself, others and the grace of God.

And so I remember with fondness – our almost 20 years with an incredible human being – who is out on his own to follow his dream.

I love you Shawn – Happy Birthday tomorrow to my sweet son 🙂

All my love,

Mom

Launching The Kid

Today I put my husband and son on a plane bound for California – the place of dreams for my 19-year-old son – as far back as he and I can remember.  I remember 10 years ago while on a family vacation – we were in L.A. and driving by the U.C.L.A. campus in Hollywood – and Shawn saying – ‘I’m living here someday’.  And although he will be attending Musician’s Institute in Hollywood and not U.C.L.A. – it feels the same to him – he will be living his dream of “someday”.  And we have all learned that today – “someday” has arrived.

I have many memories of my son as I think of him trying to navigate in strange surroundings and remember that he was the child who did NOT like anything strange and unfamiliar.  He would hang back – ponder and take his time on everything – even as a young child.  One time when he was three and staying the afternoon with my parents  – they couldn’t find him – he was playing “hide-n-seek” and took it seriously being very still and quiet – even when they called and called him.  They freaked out and called the police because they were sure he had run away or something terrible had happened to him.  I came back from my errand and they told me “not to panic” but they couldn’t find Shawn!  Because I know my son – I was confident it just was NOT in his nature to run off and knew he must be hiding.  As soon as he heard my voice – he came out – and was bewildered that there were police there – not understanding what all the fuss was about!

He has been a shy, timid and thoughtful child his whole life – growing into a kind and generous human being with a great sense of humor.  He has what Greg and I have always called “the X-Factor” – charm, good looks and talent.  He has also made and kept many friends – one in particular, since he has been three years old.  This is the mark of an excellent person – one who keeps friends,  his promises and cares deeply about others.  But he has never been one to venture too far from home.  Oh he’s gone on the occasional trip with friends and even some missions trips with church – and one memorable trip to help with the relief effort in Haiti this last December – but he always came back home.  There was always the safety of knowing where he came from and felt our arms of love and protection over the years.

As his talent grew and made way for him – we saw him blossom – and God use him in incredible ways with his music – and particularly his drumming.  We’ve been proud of him, self-taught like his Dad and I’ve been proud to have been his singing and piano teacher for a time in his earlier life because I believe it gave him the foundation to teach himself guitar as well and develop as a song writer and worship leader.

Leaving home for bigger horizons was just a matter of time – and we have known this day would come for about two years now.  But God as been preparing all of our hearts and so beautifully blessed him financially and with a wonderful support system of friends and family.

But still – like any parent I ask myself these questions:

Did I do enough?

Was I a good enough example – with all my flaws and failures?

Did I prepare him enough?

Will he cling to Jesus in his darkest and loneliest days so far from home?

Will his faith sustain him?

Will he remember all the things we tried to teach him?

Were we good enough role models?

Did we love him enough?

Did we live what we believed?

If you are like me – you probably wonder the same thing as your children grow up and begin to step into the world and have their own lives.  As they begin to launch.  I’m thankful that God makes up for any lack that I may have – and He understands that I am flawed and human.  I also know beyond all question that Shawn was given to me to raise – and not someone else.  God knew that I was exactly what Shawn needed me – flaws, mistakes, shortcomings and all.  And because I know that to be true – and that He loves Shawn even more than I do –  I can rest and know that all is well.

And so the journey continues – our son who was a special gift on loan to us – is off to pursue and live his dream.  And we release and bless him to be everything that he can be – to be a blessing to others and follow God’s voice in his life.

Launching complete.

When was the last time you wondered if you had done enough?  Have you ever felt inadequate?

God Bless

Preparing for Absence

Greg and I are on the verge of launching our baby out into the world.  The count down has begun – he leaves for California next month.

And while we have really been “Empty Nesters”  for a while – you know what I mean – daughter Ashlee moved out 3 years ago – and from the moment Shawn had a driver’s license (on his 16th birthday) – we didn’t see much of him after that.  People think I’m kidding when I say that Shawn eats and sleeps here – sometimes.  It’s absolutely true.  It is still going to be an adjustment around here.

We have plans after Shawn leaves next month.  We are going to go into his room with gloves on and several garbage bags and begin the grueling process of fumigation and bringing normal back into chaos – the room of a teenage boy.

My car that Shawn has taken possession of the last 3 years – will once again be MINE!  A little worse for wear – but still paid for and MINE!  Did I mention that the car is MINE?  Just in case you are confused in that matter – I know that I have been.  Oh you know what I mean – you have a conversation with your teenager and you end up leaving the room muttering someone non-coherent like, “I’m right – I KNOW I am” as you feel all reality slipping from your fragile grasp.  So when I say I was confused – I really mean it.

We plan to clean the inside and outside of MY car – and fumigate it – so that it does NOT smell like a boy’s locker room.  My CD’s will finally be right where I left them – there will be no sticky stuff in the cup holder and on the seats – there will not be wrappers and other junk in MY car.  It will be left in pristine condition – just as I always have left it – BEFORE my son got his license and decided to take ownership.

We will have quiet at night when we turn in.  No more yelling or calling Shawn on the phone to get him to TURN DOWN the TV that we can hear in our bedroom.  No more late night cooking food and smelling it wafting upstairs where we are trying to sleep.  No more late showers and running water FOREVER next to our bedroom.  No more talking on the phone in the middle of the night – or hopping up the stairs and slamming doors (because he always forgets) – to wake us up.  None of that – just peaceful, blissful quiet.

Yes – we are preparing for absence – just as much as Shawn is anxious to be out on his own.  We worry just a little about how he will pay his bills – and survive out there – but we also realize that it is a part of his growing up – to be out on his own and figure it out.

I hope we have prepared him.  He is very grounded and mature for almost 20 – and most of all – he is a loving, kind and generous person – full of talent, laughter and fun – has many friends and has always landed on his feet – through rough times and setbacks.  I’m proud of him and can’t wait to see what God has next for him – as he discovers his own place in this world.  God has equipped him with a love for music and a talent that is his special gift – I’m excited to see how God will use that in him.

And so as we prepare – with a little over a month to go – we know we are also ready.

And there’s always iChat and Skype, right?

God Bless

Jesus? Is That You?

Yesterday I was sitting in front of my computer in my office – which is also my music studio, and I began to hear a very strange vibration.  I could not determine the source of the weird sound and began to look around for an outside source that would cause this.  My son Shawn was sitting directly behind me at my piano, with earphones in his ears, with his Macbook in front of him – doing some music project for his class at Green River – or updating a music audition – SOMETHING – I’m not exactly sure what.  Anyway, he was there when the strange noise began.  So naturally I turned in my chair and demanded, “Shawn – are you making that noise?”  I had to tap him on the shoulder to get him to recognize me – and he slowly removed one earphone and said, “Does it sound like a metronome?”  It did not.

Oddly enough, the day before while teaching a voice student, my digital piano started to make a loud “squeally” sound – much like feedback when using a microphone and I had to turn it off and power it back on again.  Same thing.  It was weird.  We never did find out why it was acting that way.

So when I could not find the reason for the strange vibration at my desk – it became very distressing.  I looked around my office trying to find the “source” and I’m sure looked like a mad woman as I stared up at the ceiling, looked at the walls – walked to the file cabinets and just “listened”.  With a crazed look I was determined to find it.

The utility room is on the other side of my office/studio and I asked Shawn if it might be the washing machine – he said, “Probably”.  Well.  I guess that settled it – except it didn’t, you know what I mean?  Was I going crazy?  “Is this how it’s going to happen”, I thought “little by little  – reality will start to slip away – not in a big way – but in the small things that you can’t EVER figure out?”

Greg was upstairs completely unaware of my drama down below.  I finally called him down to “listen” with me.  I figured if he couldn’t solve this terrible problem – it couldn’t be solved.  As “Husband” and “Father” of the home – it has always been his responsibility to find and conquer ‘bad odors’ – ‘unidentified noises’ and ‘dirty dishes’.  I was quite comfortable to rest and wait, knowing the answer must soon be on its way.  He came down – listened for a moment and then smiled.  He said, “I know what it is” and reached up to the wall above my computer to a metal wall plaque that says, “Jesus”.  It was loose and banging the wall with the vibration of the washing machine – causing a very odd sound which could not be pinpointed.

Greg said, “I think Jesus is trying to get your attention” – and then walked smugly away.  Snicker, snicker.  Very funny.  At least I think it’s funny.  Maybe He is!  What a great reminder.  Can we hear him above all the “white noise” of everyday life?  Does He have to shake it up a bit in order for us to stop and really listen?

Just something to thing about.

Jesus?  Is that you?  You have my attention.  I’m listening…

God Bless

Adventures with Mrs. Frantic (Alias: Mrs. Grumpy)

My upper and lower wisdom teeth, just extracted.

Image via Wikipedia

This Saturday our 19-year-old son is having his impacted wisdom teeth removed.  And because I’m a glutton for punishment and have unresolved memories of the past – I’m going with him.  I say this because when my husband and I were newlyweds and still attending Northwest University (the former Northwest College) Greg had his impacted wisdom teeth out – all four of them.   Now just WHY he didn’t have them out before college OR before we were married – is a mystery to me – along with other mysteries of the universe.  *sigh*

I remember it well – even though it was some 28 years ago.  Greg was done with all his finals for that semester and scheduled his appointment accordingly.  However, I still had two finals to take.  We thought – no problem – I can just study while I wait for him to have the procedure done.  We arrived early in the day and as soon as we got there – Greg was whisked away behind closed doors of the Oral Surgeon‘s office in Bellevue – just a few miles from where we lived.

Because the teeth (all four of them) were impacted – they had to put him under with a general anesthetic.  The actual procedure was pretty short – but the recovery was long.

It seemed like I was in that waiting room for a long time.  The longer it took the more I couldn’t concentrate anymore – and was feeling a little anxious.  After what seemed like hours – I finally heard someone from behind closed doors – ‘hiccuping‘ – VERY LOUDLY.  I remember thinking, ‘how rude’.  But it persisted – and a nurse finally came out and asked me to come back.

I followed the loud ‘hiccuping’ sounds to a recovery room – and there was my husband – sitting up and being VERY LOUD!  If you know Greg – he is a very soft-spoken, kind and gentle man – does NOT like to draw attention to himself AT ALL and would rather die than to be obnoxious IN PUBLIC.  And yet – here he was – my inebriated husband – like he had a ‘snoot-full’. And VERY pleased with himself!

Well, because I had NEVER seen my husband drunk – much less TAKE A DRINK – it was really quite amusing and horrifying at the same time!  I became quite frantic – as a nurse and myself tried to help Greg out to the car – now pulled around to a side door.  They had given him a little bag to hold in case – well YOU KNOW – and he used it – often – while walking to the car – and after getting in.

I must admit – it put me in a state of panic.  The medical staff didn’t even bat an eye – perfectly normal they told me.  Really? What’s normal – a drunk husband holding a bag on his lap?  What a sick world.

So I’m now ‘driving’ in my state of frantic/panic.  I somehow managed to get on the freeway – don’t know how and then forgot how to get home.  I should mention that we were house-sitting that week for a missionary lady in another part of Kirkland where we were living at the time.  I had never driven there before – Greg always drove.  I had NO IDEA how to get ‘home’.  So naturally I sailed right by the right exit.  As I did – Greg looked up from his drunken stupor – with his head in the bag and like the ‘ghost of Christmas future‘ – just pointed out the window as the exit quickly disappeared from sight.

Well I finally found a place to turn around and somehow got us home.  He was pretty bad for the next 24 hours or so – couldn’t hold down anything – it was bad.  I had to have my mother come ‘sit’ with him – so I could go take a couple of finals.  I have no memory of taking them – and one I barely passed. Lesson learned.

When we could take the vomiting and over-all ‘green’ completion NO more – I called the doctor – who at first thought that Greg may have picked up a flu bug.  But the more it persisted they started digging into family history – and discovered that Greg was allergic to the anesthetic given him – as he had a persistent battle when he was a child with motion sickness.  This explained everything to the doctor and to us too – we were really worried.  But as the medication ran through his body and wore off – he was fine.

So here I am again.  28 years later.  I’m not sure why I’m the one elected to go with our son this Saturday to do this all over again. I’m sure waiting in the waiting room while our son is whisked off behind closed doors is going to feel a little like deja’ vu.  And when he comes out of it – am I going to hear the same thing before I see him – like father – like son?  I am going to be the designated driver – because if he is going to be a drunk like his father after having the anesthetic – then I should be there.   Someone has to.  And I have a little experience with this.  Sure hope I can find my way home. 🙂

God Bless

Room At The Top Of The Stair

This is very touching – a song written by folk legend, John McCutcheon for his eldest son when he had just graduated from high school.  I encourage you to watch it – especially if you have a son like we do.

Our son is about to graduation – one week from tomorrow and I can relate so much to this song.  The last part is especially humorous to those of you who have adult sons!

Enjoy!

There’s a room in our house at the top of the stair
It was empty at first, but we knew you’d be there
The dog got excited the day that you came
Guess he thought you smelled weird and I thought the same
The cries and the changing came every night
Changing me too ‘til I thought that I might
Just stand in the doorway for hours and stare
In that room at the top of the stair

There’s a room in our house at the top of the stair
It was all yours for years, then you had to share
Your calm world was burst by this loud little kid
Who mimicked and learned everything that you did
The games and adventures, the books and the plays
The hours of fantasy went on for days
And I watched in amazement, this most unlikely pair
In that room at the top of the stair

There’s a room in our house at the top of the stair
It was empty one night, we called everywhere
All those demons and danger that lurk in your heart
Slipped in the door and tore us apart
Till we found you at last in another boy’s home
Safe and asleep and forgetting to phone
And I lie awake lost in a pure grateful prayer
In that room at the top of the stair

There’s a room in our house at the top of the stairs
Now the door is shut tight
And the stereo blares
And you mother is worried about your young ears
No one has seen your carpet in years
And the hole in the wall that you made with your first
When the anger of aging was too hard to resist
The long light of love cast its shadow in there
In that room at the top of the stair

There’s a room in our house at the top of the stairs
Now the bed has clean sheets
And the floors are all bare
An acceptable place when folks come to stay
Your brother and you, boxed and move you away
To a duplex apartment just across town
I sit on the bed and as the memories rain down
There’s a whole in my heart, and it’ll always be there
In that room at the top of the stair (X2)

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