This here is my guy...my Tyler Bean, Bubba-Louie, Tex Longhorn (that's his cowboy name. Mine's Sunny Sundown, his sister Ella is Betty Bullwhip). He's the light of my life. And I screwed up BIG TIME. In early December Tyler let on that his preschool class was working on a BIG SURPRISE. A secret's pretty tough to keep when you're 4 years old. When something this BIG is happening in your life it's hard to keep it under your hat.
From the hints my little guy dropped, we were able to discern that his class was putting on a Christmas play - the story of the Nativity. Words cannot express just how much we (Tyler's folks, me) were ALL looking forward to attending the Christmas Surprise. It was to be held on the last day of school before winter break. Tyler let on that he was a shepherd, he would have a cane, his friend Brian would be a King, and that there would be sheep. They wouldn't be REAL sheep, but they would say baaaaa. And all along, I PROMISED Tyler I'd be there. I couldn't wait. It was almost as if my own holiday depended on it, rested on seeing my little Grandson in this precious Christmas display. I scheduled my work week accordingly...I was ready.
As dumb luck would have it, on the day of his Christmas surprise it snowed like the dickens. The schools in our area called a snow day - no school. The Christmas Surprise would be rescheduled for sometime after break. Long story short, on my first day back to work (after being off for 12 glorious days) my daughter phoned mid-morning to let me know that the Surprise would be held at the school that afternoon. Stupid me. With work piled up around me I said I wouldn't be able to make it. How could I possibly take time off now after being off for such a long stretch over the holidays? BIG MISTAKE. While that once-in-a-lifetime event was happening, I was sitting in my cublicle at work.
My daughter had a meeting to attend today so I offered to give Tyler a lift to school at noon. I figured I could use my lunch hour. It was the highlight of my day and I couldn't wait to see him. As usual, when I walked in the door to his house he was thrilled to see me (and me him, of course). "Ra Ra," he said (that's what he calls me), "I couldn't wait to see you! I love you Ra Ra!" I gave him hugs and kisses and shared his sentiments. Got him in the car and we were on our way. During the ride to his school I asked him how his Christmas Surprise went. He replied, "It was a Christmas play RaRa. I didn't see you there." I told him that I was working, that I couldn't make it. What a lame excuse. I asked him if he was looking for me. He replied back, "I looked for you the whole time."
Wow. Bad decision. I should have learned from the past, when I had to miss the rare event here or there with my own kids. But to have missed something this important, for it to be that important to Tyler that I be there, and for me to have put work first.
I can't turn back the clock on this, can't do it over. But you can bet I won't make that mistake again.
The flipside of the story is that, in an effort to recover for my blunder, I asked Tyler (along the way to his school) if I could make it up to him by taking him out for a donut and chocolate milk. He said he'd like that, and was quiet for a minute and suggested that we could do donuts "right now RaRa." I said, "Tyler, you have school and I need to get back to the library." He said, "No RaRa, I mean we could do donuts in the car. Just like Daddy did we went to look for a tree on that snowy night. The boy scouts weren't there when we wanted to buy a tree and Daddy did donuts in the parking lot."
Priceless moment? You bet.
p.s. I've also included, in today's post pics, Tyler's 2009 Christmas card.