Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I feel like I hit the lottery!

I started using Christopher's laptop in place of mine recently because it works better and is newer.  Seeing his sit on his desk seemed a shame to me because he was on it all the time. I found it depressing that it sat there cold and unattended so I swiped it in place of my old dinosaur.  It felt good to see it used again and at the same time keep him close.

Sorting through his documents, I felt like I hit the lottery last night when I came across some of the essays he wrote for school.  Many of the papers I read were new to me even though some of them dated back two, three, four years.  I never got involved in Christopher's high school homework unless he needed help.  He knew I was available to him and there were times we worked on projects together but he was really self-sufficient and did his own thing. He wrote and turned in essays and term papers that I didn't know about.  Lucky me to find these documents now!  I thought I'd share one here.  I didn't touch it; this is it just as he gave it to his teacher.  I have no idea what grade he got, hopefully a good one!

I found it interesting that yesterday I was saying I wished I had more time to teach him. Today I'm feeling that much more confident that he was on a great path and even though he was a bit of a knucklehead on any given day, he had a great head on his shoulders with a clear focus and a kind heart.  He spoke right out to all of us!  Here's his essay entitled "Your World" from a little over a year ago:

 Chris Stewart


            My world was brought to life on January 9th, 1995, in a gigantic hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas.  The first thing I did when I entered this world, or as my parents tell me, was blow bubbles in the doctors face, I’m sure my parents were proud of me.  I didn’t live in Little Rock for too long, my family and I moved to New York before I was one year old and I’ve lived here ever sense.  Once arriving at Albany Airport for the first time in Upstate New York, and breathing in the suburban air, I’m sure I knew I’d like it here much better than in Arkansas, even though I wasn’t even one year old.  As I was growing up, I began to notice one thing I really started to grow a passion for, and that was football.

            I remember being about five or six years of age sitting in my living room with my Dad watching the NFL every Sunday, it was what I looked forward to each week.  Once I turned six years old, I remember my Dad telling me on my birthday that I would be able to start playing flag football once the Fall season came around, I’ll never forget the feeling I had that day.  Year after year my Dad would bring me to my Jr. Plainsmen games on Saturdays or Sundays.  Flag football was fun and all, but once I was old enough to play tackle football, you could say I was more than excited.  Growing up always watching players in the NFL knock each other around always motivated me to be the best, and one day maybe even play there.  I’ve always been a Philadelphia Eagles fan, and my dream was to play as a Tight End for them and to be number 88, my lucky number.  Some of my best friends that I’ve known for my whole life I met through football.  It may only be a sport, but it can also build many friendships.  My entire bedroom is devoted to my high school football career, I have huge posters, framed pictures, trophies, plaques, and many different awards for my contributions to my team.  Football has been a big part of my life, but it is definitely not all I care about.

            In my “perfect world”, the only thing I see is my friends and family, they mean the world to me.  My amazing parents have raised me in a way which I plan on doing with my own kids one day.  They were never too strict with me, but making the right decisions and never being afraid to ask for help on something were two big things they always emphasized towards me.  Having parents who are always there for you is one thing I think most teenage kids don’t realize or respect.  Always hearing stories at school about kids “cursing out” their parents upsets me because none of them really understand how lucky they are having someone to feed them and take care of them.  Also, having the right friends who care about you and want to see you successful in life only makes things easier.  One good thing about high school is being able to see all your friends almost every day, you can usually rely on them to help you out if you’ve been having a bad day.  The biggest help a guy like me could ask for would have to be having the best girlfriend any guy could ask for too.  Anyone would agree with me when I say that having that one special person in your life only makes each day you live just a little bit more meaningful.  Sometimes there is just something that’s bugging you and you don’t feel comfortable talking to anyone other than your boyfriend/girlfriend, it’s a real bonus that most people take advantage of.  I’m glad to say I found one extremely special girl that I am proud to call mine, and I know she will always be there for me whenever I need to get something off my chest, having people like this is one good change that our world has taken on in the last couple of decades.

            So far I have touched on many of the good things in our world today, but nothing is ever perfect.  As I stated earlier, the thing that bugs me the most with kids of this generation is the way they treat their parents.  People in high schools, especially teachers who listen to kids conversations, can vouch for me when I say that not many kids really respect everything they have.  Some of the things I hear said in my school really bugs me, I’m sure all the kid’s parents ever want from them is a simple “thanks you” or an “I love you” before they go to bed, it’s not too much to ask from someone.  Kids these days also disrespect others by using their “cool” racial slurs and slang words.  I’m not sure if it’s like this everywhere but I have definitely noticed a lot of actions like this occurring in my town.

            My current town I live in, Clifton Park, New York, maybe has a few unfavorable qualities to some people, but it is actually a great area to live in.  There are more than enough ways to entertain yourself around here, for example, there are lots of restaurants to eat at, movie theatres to go to, and plenty of places to shop.  Something I believe more than enough people do around here is attend our high school football games every Friday night during the fall season.  Having the support of not just our school, but the whole community is something not a lot of high school football players can say about where they live.  This year, our team made it all the way to Kingston, New York for the state semi-final game, where unfortunately we lost 16-6.  One thing I learned from this loss was that even though we didn’t win we still had the support of all our fans, who clapped for what seemed like an hour even after we walked off the field with our heads all drooped to the ground.  The main idea of this story is to show that even if you don’t know it, there will always be people there for you to pat you on the back and give you a boost of confidence when you need it.

            Our world we live in now, and that we lived in many years ago as I grew up, has changed a significant amount for the better.  People haven’t always been there for others, which makes living just that much harder, it’s always nice to know you have someone’s shoulder to cry on if you get in a bad situation.  Having friends and family who care about you is the main thing someone can ask for though, it makes the world a better place to live in.  The world I see through my eyes every day is slowly but surely getting better.  You will always have friends and family to turn to when you have a problem, and as long as the NFL doesn’t stop, I think I will be one happy camper.  I know what I see as my “perfect” world, but the real question is, what do you see?

I find Chris's insight refreshing.  He answers some of my questions. I asked Bailey the other day what Chris thought of me.  I figured me must have had vent sessions with her about his parents!  That would be normal for a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.  They let off steam to each other when they feel pressure.  Bailey said he loved me and that he thought I was cool.  She also told me he knew how to get me to say "yes" to things - but I was already aware of that!  I didn't hold him back very often.

Still, it's nice reading his words (I can hear his voice as I do!) and hearing his thoughts laid out on paper.  God gave me a really great gift today in stumbling onto these documents! They're like new treasures.  I'm so happy to have them.  I'll share more at a later date. Hope you liked his essay.

Thank you for reading.


  1. What a terrific autobiography. It is perfectly complimented by the beaming smile in his photos.
    I'm SO happy for you, that you found this. You gave him a very happy life and taught him to love and appreciate his friends and family.

  2. Regina, what a beautiful testament to the way Chris was raised. A fine young man who was respectful, kind, loving, compassionate and sweet. He was wise beyond his years yet young and hopeful. I am so happy that you found his thoughts, his words...what a gift. Chris' perspective on his peers is, sadly, an honest account of what he heard all too often. Having worked in many schools(currently at Shen)during my 25 year tenure, he was spot on.

    Of course he loved you! How couldn't he - you ARE cool! What a gift and blessing for you and for others with whom these words will be shared. This touched me beyond comprehension. A young man simply writing an assignment, most likely not knowing how powerful and touching his words would be....
    Thank you and God Bless.

  3. Hearing the way he talks about Bailey just breaks my heart. God Bless you Chris. Mrs. Stewart, I'm so happy you found all of these. I don't share my papers with my mom either. I'm a bit like Chris in that sense. I can see how comforting this must be, however.

    This brought tears to my eyes. I'm speechless for now.

  4. Regina,
    WOW! AMAZING!! First let me say, I give him an "A+"!! For a teenage boy to have insight like he did, is truly a testament on his upbringing by his parents! I love how he touched on his love for Bailey and the community and his family and friends. He sure was right when he said that the whole community supported the team, now the whole community is supporting you, because of the amazing young man you raised. Thank you so much for sharing this treasure of an essay! If I recall from your past writings you at one time did makeup for fox23 news anchors, I am not an anchor, but my makeup is now completely destroyed after reading that...I could use a touch up or a complete do over! you make housecalls to Dunkin Donuts where I am sitting before work???? :)

  5. Hi Regina,

    Wow! You should be so proud! His essay proves what a great kid he was and very mature. I think many kids his age do not have that insight. I think his parents and his sport taught him many of these lessons! It must feel so good to know he felt that way! Glad you were able to see this, it gives you a good insight to what he was thinking and what kind of kid he was! Sometimes it takes children a very long time to get to the point he was speaking about! What an amazing child. Good for you!

  6. Good morning Regina. As I so often do, I read your blog early and closed it until I had time to reply. When I was scrolling through my facebook this morning looking for the link to your blog to reply I came across this quote (which is similar to what I have been known to say time and again) **It's funny, really... while we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about... —Angela Schwindt**

    I think it is fitting that I ran across this quote before I got to your link again, so I could reply. So of course I had to share!

    As I read Chris' essay, I couldn't help but feel that I already knew so much of this about him. It was so well written and so profound, and while reading it I couldn't help but feel that I knew so much of this about him from all I have learned from you. It's endearing that he learned so much and loved so much and knew how to express it, especially in a paper he was handing in! Bravery and honesty alone must have gotten him an A+ on that essay.

    I love that through his beautiful eyes and heart he saw the world changing. **Chris I'm going to hold on to that!** For a 17 year old boy to stop and notice the makings of the world around him, that speaks volumes. Through his busy schedule and his busy social life, he had the ability to realize what was going on around him, and take it all in, enough to write something so profound and touching. How many 17 year olds (especially boys) can you say even notice 1/2 of what is going on around them?

    Chris' ability to stop, and listen, and notice that this generation of kids (maybe not all of them obviously) really do not respect everything they have, was evident that Chris learned a well taught lesson at home, thanks to his upbringing he was able to recognize that and speak so honestly about it.

    I'm so glad that you were able to find this essay, among other things, and share it with us. It really just solidifies all you have been sharing with us about Chris, in one short essay, in his own words. It was so moving and powerful and I just had to say good job Chris after I read it. My odometer changed again today, ending in 69 as I parked my car and I said out loud "Good morning Chris, excellent essay!" I love my odometer sightings that give me a chance to stop what I'm doing and acknowledge Chris. He truly was an awesome boy.

    What another treasure you found to share, thank you.

    God bless...

    1. I totally agree Justine!
      Hope you're feeling better!

  7. Good Morning Regina,

    That is one very special young man! I am almost speechless.
    His insight and appreciation for the important things in life is something that in a perfect world you wish for your child but would never expect.
    Regina... You and your husband did an amazing job.. Not only were you excellent role models and teachers.. But you were even liked, loved and respected. A very difficult task! I didn't know who amazes me more... You or Chris?

    Thank you or sharing this beautiful and insightful letter.. It really made my day!

  8. Regina,

    You indeed DID hit the lottery!!!!! Just an amazing gift for you and Mike too!!! I got a warm and fuzzy just reading HIS words!!! He was a good student and he must have gotten his writing ability from his mom, because he can write too! I love how he covered everything, family, friends, community, Bailey <3 and of course the NFL. He was very in tuned with his surroundings, and mature beyond his years...It has been a treat to read his work in this essay and in his college essay. We get to hear his voice and it just confirms what you have shared with us without actually saying it or being braggy (which, come on you have every right to be!!!)...So let us brag for you and tell you what we think...You raised an amazing young man, kind, respectful, smart, talented, good dancer, loving, hard worker and just plain AWESOME!!!!

    :) SO happy to read this warms my heart!!

    God Bless, XO

  9. Good Morning Regina!
    What a wonder essay and just another example of who Chris truly was. I am so happy you have his laptop which has provided you with his inner thoughts and feelings. He definitely was a "glass half full " guy! I am sure Bailey also has enjoyed reading his thoughts and knowing how much she meant to him as well. What a wonderful boy your Chris was and is!!

    May God Bless You and Yours

  10. Regina - first I must say that there have been several blogs that have made me cry and this is one of them. What a great essay written by a young man. Most young men and/or boys are not at this level when they are 17! Congratulations on raising a well rounded man.

    I find it interesting that a main part of Chris's essay is wanting a better world and the way to try to get this is by having friends and family that care and will always be there for you. In addition he felt that his community was getting there little by little. I can honestly say for all that has happened since this tragedy has occurred YOU and CHRIS has brought this community together and we are stronger then ever. I believe that you are fulling his wishes!

    Congratulations and great job on raising a sweet, respectful, thoughtful and genius man!

  11. Regina,

    That is a great essay. It just proves how much Chris valued you as a parent. Most of things he wrote about kids not respecting their parents is very true. I see it when I am out and about. Chris was a great writer he must of gotten that from you. Thank you for sharing!


  12. So beautiful! What a treasure for you to find.
    Thank you for sharing it!

  13. Wonderful essay! Such a positive attitude when it is so often "cool" for teens to hate on everything. Once, when discussing a loved one that had passed on at a younger age, I was told that this loved one had already accomplished more good on earth than most people do in a long life, so God rewarded her by calling her home. Chris's outlook on life is amazing. And his love and respect for his family, Bailey, and his friends & teammates is honorable. Back-up that hard don't want to lose it!!!

  14. regina
    i may not.comment a lot but i do read this blog every time you write. you are an inspiration. you should be soooo proud of yourself you raised a fine young man!!! i am so glad you found this paper! i can see where he gets his talent of writing from. chris would be so proud of you for everything you are doing to keep his memory alive.


  15. Hi Regina,

    Awwww that was such a great essay. I'm so glad you found it and shared it with us. What a treasure! Chris is an amazing young man. I think you're pretty cool too.


  16. Jackpot! My neighbor was friends with Chris and said he was always so kind and encouraging, everybody's cheerleader and motivator. But really, my whole picture of him has been painted by you. I have always assumed he was a special kid, not just because of the initial outpouring of grief, love and support, but because it has continued for the last few months with the same level of enthusiasm and intensity. It's wonderful to read about Chris in his own words, to have him paint his own picture of himself. How awesome is it that his picture matches yours and everyone elses! He really did have his life together in a good way with good perspective. I hope you can hold onto the good from this discovery- that you are a great Mom and that he loved and respected you more than most. I look forward to reading more from him! I wish you a blessed day, Regina. Thank you for sharing. -Anne

  17. Reg,
    I am sincerely happy you found these treasures from Chris. He truly was a great kid - you had something to do with that! Thank you for sharing,
    Sue V.

  18. Regina, certainly hit the jackpot with this treasure. All we've learned about Chris from you these past few montsh and he confirms he knew it about himself and was just hiding it from you! He truly was a gem and was wise beyond his years. His insightfulness is amazing and his writing reminds me of you! As others have said it was so nice to hear Chris speak in his own words. We all knew you were an awesome mom and you did a great job raising a fine young man. Well, your son knew it too and how lucky he was to get the parents he did. What a gift you have been given in finding Chris' writings. I love how he talks about his love for football and sharing it with his dad! His love for playing football, his dream to play professionally and his NFL team, the Eagles...that's my Connor's team too! Everything...the job you and Mike did raising him...his love for Bailey! I was especially moved by his insight of his peers! How many kids his age fail to get it like he does! What an awesome job you and Mike did! You raised one heck of a kid!

    Thank you so much for sharing this personal journal of Chris' with us!
    hugs and peace

  19. Regina,
    What a wonderful find. He had such a great insight. He is correct alot of teens do not have respect for their parents. They expect everything and want to give nothing. I am very lucky that I have children that respect me. I am always being told their friends love me and think I am great. My kids also tell me they love me everyday and more than once. Chris was a very lucky young man to have great parents, family, friends and a wonderful girlfriend. He let everyone know it. I am so very happy for you that you found these wonderful treasures. Thank you for sharing and God bless.

  20. Regina,
    First, I like to tell you I read your blog on a daily basis & if I miss a day or more I tell my husband, I need to have my quite time to read my "Chris Stewart Blog". I found pleasure in reading your blog and I think it helps me to deal with a tragic accident that my husband was in on 9/27/2012. He was a innocent driver going down route 9 in Malta when he was struck by another vechile and sustained many injuries that required multiple surgieries. He's still recovering and it will take alot of therapy and dedication to get too his best physical shape possible. It's so amazing how something tragic makes you look at life in a different light and make you (us) to be more conscious of anothers feelings & how you can reach out to help another person or family.
    In reading Chris essay & all your other capttions about your son Chris. I know Chris was a incredible person, friend, boyfriend to Bailey and teammate and A WONDERFUL SON! The young man he turned out to be was because of you & your family values. You see we create these values in our home and hope we instill them in our children. But when people speak about Chris "they say how polite he was & always there with a guiding hand to others" then you stumble across a essay that he wrote and you read his words from his heart, now that's a pretty incredible young man cause most young men his age would not put all there emotions on paper. Chris did, cause he believed in what he wrote. Thank you again Regina, I truly enjoy your captures.
    Ann Marie B. Spa, NY

  21. Regina- I logged back on tonight because I just saw the picture of you all with the O.C.C. motorcycle. I've know about that for a little while. My husband is the GSM for CBS 6, but since they are sponsoring the event, I'm not allowed to enter to win. :-( But it is really beautiful and I am sure it will bring in a lot of money in honor of Chris and Deanna! I'll be sharing the post to promote the event. Good night. -Anne

  22. I'm so happy for you Regina! What a treasure you've found! This blog is so powerful. Even though I don't respond regularly, I read every day and am equally affected by your words, stories, and everyone's responses. The support and positive energy this has created is truly amazing. I'm very happy for you too that writing this blog has helped you heal and find peace. I wish that for you every day and was so happy that you don't feel the need to write every day. Admittedly, I miss reading your stories daily but am more pleased with the fact that you will write when you feel compelled, and these last few blog posts are a great result. I echo the sentiment of so many others - Chris is an amazing person and a true gift to the world. It is great to know that his special personality lives on with the same intensity it did before. You have a lovely family and one to be emulated! I look forward to reading more about you, Chris and all the good that can exist in the world. Also, you have awesome photos!! They are so expressive and really show what happy times were occurring when they were taken. Peace to you Regina.

  23. AMAZING ! How lucky for you to have found that. Chris was an awesome young man thanks to you and your husband. My son shares Chris' favorite number of 88. Whenever it comes time to pick jerseys for his sports teams he has to have 88 and if he can't have that number he goes for any number with and 8 in it. Please know that everytime my son takes the feild or court wearing an 8 in some form I will be thinking of and saying a prayer for Chris.
    God Bless

  24. What an amazing, insightful, mature young man Chris was... You should be so proud of him, as I know you were.. Thank you for sharing this. It is a breath of fresh air to read this..I too often hear the way kids talk about their parents and always wondered what my kids said about me.. thinking how sad those parents who have given up so many things and done so much for their kids to have them speak badly about them like that.


  25. One word...PRECIOUS <3
    I felt like I heard Chris's voice for ths first time. Thank you for that opportunity.

  26. Wow - that essay was definitely a gift. So optimistic! We could all learn a little bit by reading this about seeing the best in people and in our community. I've said this before but your son was a very special person. Thank you for sharing this wonderful treasure.

  27. Many times we say "He/She would have loved this" or "He/She would have wanted it this way" about our lost loved ones. Reading Chris's writing made me think how truly happy he must be to see his community come together to support his parents, his girlfriend and his friends. That is part of his legacy - bringing people together to support each other and lean on each other.
    I can't imagine how thrilling it must be for you to have found his writings. It must feel like letters from heaven for you. God Bless You!

  28. What a treat to read for everyone! Chris writes about how important respect and gratitude are to him in his essay. He also comments on how so many teenagers at school are disrespectful to their parents and how they don't realize how lucky they are to have them. In my opinion, we are living in a world right now where I feel that the majority of our younger generation feel "entitled". Judging from what I just read, Chris didn't feel that way at all. He truly appreciated you and the rest of his family, his friends at school, his girlfriend and even his community. Just another reason to be proud of what an amazing Mom you are and what a wonderful son you raised. God Bless You.