Friday, March 8, 2013

Tyler and Family

I had the chance to read some more of the wonderful mail I received and thought I'd share another story. This one is from a dad who lived on our street when Chris was young:
I was snow blowing the driveway the other day and could not get the thought out of my head, so many times when I would be clearing the driveway after a snowstorm and I would see Chris walking up the street in his orange/brown sweatshirt, grey sweatpants and his Eagle's hat. He would say "Hi is Tyler around?” Then Chris and Tyler and usually Tyler's step brothers would head off across the street to ride their sleds and play in the snow.

I will never be able to thank Chris enough for being there when I moved Tyler to Halfmoon. I had previously gotten divorced which was already a tough time for Tyler, he was seven. The summer I was getting remarried I decided to enroll Tyler in the Halfmoon summer camp so he could meet some local kids before starting his new school at SHEN.  Well, Tyler's first day home from summer camp he said "Hey dad guess what there's a kid at camp my age who lives on our street. His name is Chris Stewart". Wow, I thought, this is great!!!
Before you know it Chris and Tyler were becoming friends and Chris started coming over to the house. He would play with Tyler and if Tyler wasn't home he would play with any of our other boys who happen to be home. The kids called him "Big Stewart".
Well, the next big thing, school started and Tyler was nervous being in a new district. When the announcement came out as to what teacher the kids had, low and behold they both had Mr. Dzikas, another blessing. Tyler would start out in the same class as Chris, he would know somebody in his class before school started, a relief for Tyler and myself!!
So, not only did Chris ease Tyler's adjustment to moving to a new neighborhood, he also was there to ease the start of a new school, something we will never forget.
Over the years Chris and Tyler spent a lot of time together in the neighborhood. Chris was always welcome at our house (we always had extra food and snacks on hand) and to my Mother in-laws house (right behind us), the house with the pool.  It was tough to get Chris out of the pool at times, he was always asking what time it was because he had to me home at a certain time.  
Of course he would never leave at that time... so much that my Mother in-law put a big clock on the back of her house by the pool, which is still referred to as the "Chris Stewart clock".  I even remember Chris started showing up with a two way radio so you could call him home when you wanted him! He was a great kid who was always a pleasure to have over!!

We didn't see Chris as much after you moved out of the neighborhood and Tyler and Chris were getting older.  I know they still saw each other from time to time. This past fall we started going to the home SHEN football games, as we knew so many of the players and they were in their senior season.  We took our son Christopher (now 10) and my in-laws.  I remember my Christopher always telling my mother in-law "Look grandma look #69, that's Big Stewart!"  We were all proud to watch him play.
So, Regina, I would like you to know I will never be able to thank Chris enough for being there for Tyler!! He made a tough time much easier.  I truly believe Tyler now has a guardian angel watching over him.  I would also like your family to know that our family will never forget Chris "Big Stewart". God Bless.

PS I read your blog daily, keep up the good work!!
Well, to my old neighbors I say thank you for accepting my son into your home and enjoying his company.  Nothing makes me happier, especially now, than good memories.  I tried my hardest to get Chris to come home on time but knowing how much fun he was having playing with the boys, swimming, sledding, video gaming and sleeping over made it tough to drag him back. He liked being out more than in.  I always worried he was eating all your food but figured you'd toss him out if you couldn't afford him!  I couldn't control what I didn't see, including his appetite.  I'm glad he made a good friend to Tyler at a difficult time, I wasn't aware.  Thank you for the pictures and the note. I will treasure it!

Thank you for reading.


  1. I read your blog often. Christopher sounds like he was an amazing kid. Continued thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

  2. Just saw this... continuing on the theme from the past two days. I thought it was relevant -

    "Surrendering is not a weakness. At the contrary it is strength. The surrender stops living in boiling water and starts living in a secure place."

    ~ Shams Tabrizi

  3. Awww I love that the the grandma put a clock out there and called it "The Chris Stewart " awesome... What an amazing boy that obviously from A young age made such a Huge impact to all he met. He must be gleaming up above knowing how much he is loved by all, even by all of us that never personally got to met him . What a joy...
    God Bless xxx

  4. Oh, how we never truly know the impact that our lives have......

  5. Hi Regina,

    I hope Chris knows how special he was to so many... I really hope that he knew he made a difference.

    Parents, teachers, mentors.. Please tell these kids what an impact they may have on you or someone else. It just might make all the difference. Words can cut you down or build you up.


  6. Regina,

    Wow, what a nice letter. So nice of Tyler's dad to share this letter with you. It is amazing that our children live completely different lives we know very little about. It must be pleasing to know your son is what I like to call a "street angel" I like to hope my kids even though at times they tend to be devils in the house, that while they are out of the house I hope them to be street angels. No doubt Chris appeared to be an angel where ever he was. This is evident by all the positive you have recieved from everyone who knew him. Congrats to you and Mike for raising a fine young man, and even a terrific little boy!

    Having Tony as a teacher was a tremendous blessing. He is an excellent teacher and he teaches the kids using his knowlege and his sense of humor. He is a dear friend of our family and he is a great father of 2 boys of his own. I am so happy Tyler and Chris had such a great teacher in their lives, I am sure they had many more good teachers over the years.

    Thank you Regina for sharing these stories and the pictures too.

    God Bless, XO

    PS. Ok people please don't think I am a crazy lady...Regina, a thing I find comforting and soothing when I am sad or just in a mellow mood,or really just about any time.This does seem to have a relaxing affect...smell Happys feet when he is sleeping,(this smell is only there when they sleep) it is a sweet, earthy smell. It smells warm and it just calms the soul. The pads of your SLEEPING dogs feet is one of the nicest smells you will smell...really I am not kidding...try it, let me know if you liked the smell and how it made you feel...ok crazy lady signing out... :)

    1. Ok if I am not right about the sleeping dogs feet...why was my you are not a robot code...Labsme?...LOL

    2. Annie,

      You may think I'm crazy! I don't have a dog .. I have 2 cats. I tried testing out your theory on them .. Trust me it doesn't work!


    3. Sharon,

      Silly lady cats walk in litter boxes, dogs walk outside...hahaha. I have told so many people about this and most agree that it is a very cool smell... I must emphasize the DOG must be sleeping to get the right smell...LOL

  7. Hello Mrs. Stewart!

    I am so blessed by your blog and by the stories shared through it. Thank you for writing and continuing to share your son with us. I am a senior at Shenendehowa, but unfortunately I never had the pleasure of knowing Chris. It’s a big school so I guess one can’t expect to know everybody, but I’ve always been the kind of person who likes to at least know who people are. I am so, so thankful that you write and share these amazing stories about Chris’ incredible life. Had you not started this blog I never would have known what a caring, gentle, humorous, silly, wonderful person Chris was. It warms my heart to be able to get to know him through you. Even though I never met your son I can forever cherish his life through the beautiful words you compose and post. Thank you for giving me that.
    I read your blog every day. It’s funny, I kind of think of it as checking up on you. I also check Bailey’s Instagram daily, which has got some really sweet, loving pictures and captions (you should take a look, if you haven’t already) I am open to what you both have to share and willing to appreciate it, and Chris, in whatever small way that I can. Though I read daily, I’ve never commented. I guess I never felt I needed to. I read your words and kept them tenderly tucked in my heart. I usually feel that that’s the best contribution I can make. However, today I feel especially compelled to write to you and thank you for your blog as well as invite you to a very special event that’s taking place this Saturday at 7pm.

    I’m not sure if you’re aware, but this year Shen’s putting on the musical production Beauty and the Beast! We had a wonderful opening night last night and the remaining shows are tonight at 7 and tomorrow at 2pm and 7pm. The part of Belle was double-casted this year which means that two girls got the part and will split the four shows so each gets to perform as Belle twice. Those two lucky girls are me and the lovely Alex Rizzo. I’m not sure if you ever met her, but Alex was a friend of Chris’ and the reason why I am inviting you to the show. Actually one of the first stories I ever heard about Chris was when she shared a memory with me about a time when he and some friends planted hundreds of plastic forks in her front yard at 2 or 3 in the morning and sent her a text reading “you’ve been forked”. Hahaha that story really got me laughing. That’s such a goofy thing to do. In retaliation her and some other girls fat-caked his car. That story was my first impression of Chris, and let me tell you, it made a good one Fun-loving, friendly, and an all-around goof ball. Alex showed me how great he was just in one 5 minute story! She also showed me the lock picture of her phone which is the infamous picture of Chris Stewart eating the omelet that fell on the floor! Eww:P Anyway, last night I saw the musical program for the first time and noticed that Alex wrote this in her bio, “Alex would like to dedicate her performances to Christopher Stewart and Deanna Rivers. I love and miss you both, rest in peace.” I know it would mean the world to her if you could make it to her last performance, Saturday at 7pm. Here is a link to the event page on Facebook I know this is really last minute, but I hope you can make it. Either way just know that we, the Senior class of 2013, will never forget Christopher Stewart. He is a part of every single one of us and that, Mrs. Stewart, is a very good thing.

    Sending love and well wishes,
    Laura Johnson

    1. Laura,
      What an incredible young lady you are! And a great co-lead, to encourage Mrs. Stewart to attend the other leads performance is just so beautiful and humble. I know that which ever performance is attended at SHEN everyone is in for a treat. They allways put on fantastic show.
      Break a leg sweet unselfish girl, I see much success in your future, because of your kind heart!

      I am sorry I will miss it...please tell Joe(Lumiere)to break a leg for me too!

      XO, Annie

    2. Laura,

      Absolutely lovely.. So thoughtful and sweet of you.
      Best of luck and enjoy every minute!


    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Regina, as I read the letter from Tyler's dad I could visualize Chris doing all these things. I love that the grandmother had Chris' clock and that he was Big Stewart! It's wonderful living in a neigbhorhood where the kids can go off, be themselves and have a great time, and you know they are safe, and in Chris’ case, obviously so well loved.

    It's always wonderful to sit back and watch them flourish and touch lives, as Chris so obviously did without even knowing what he was doing. That is what made him so much more genuine and loving. And then to find out that while he was at Tyler’s house he was building a bond and a friendship that meant so much to Tyler and his dad. It's amazing when young kids make a difference without even knowing they are doing it.

    I had an instance with my son who became friends with a boy in our "then" neighborhood who had multiple disabilities, but was mainstreamed in school. He's the nicest young man, and was the nicest kid. He just needed someone to take a chance on him, which my son did. They got along great and my son being friends with him helped him break out of his shell. We have so many fun stories of their friendship. I remember when I got a call from his mother when they were both looking at heading into Junior High and she asked permission to call the school and ask that her son be put in the same hall as my son, so her son had the comfort of knowing my son would be there. Some kids are mean and she knew my son would be there for him, hands down. I will never forget that conversation and the bond that I saw develope throughout the years and they are still friends to this day, although they live in different states.

    I found out just last night that one of his other friends from that neighborhood and school just reconnected with him and he is coming over to our house to play scrabble on Monday! It's a fond memory they have from high school when Jeff was injured and recovering and there wasn't much else he could do besides watch t.v. Somehow scrabble came up and my husband, son and his friend started scrabble matches and it got loud and funny! It warmed my heart to hear that a 24 year old wants to come hang out with all of us at home and play scrabble. It makes me happy to know that those times are remembered today. My son was pretty animated when he was telling me about the visit this Monday!

    Both my kids stuck very close to home. The upside to that is I got to see their friendships and experience the way they were/are friends with others. It’s funny too, because their friends, while so different from them, polar opposites in some instances, are what are making them well rounded. Our house is the one people seem to come to and I have always liked that. Mostly because it meant my kids were home and I could supervise (especially when they were younger). Apparently it's still that way, now years later.

    I guess your blog today brought back some fond memories for me. As I read about Chris through Tyler's and your eyes I loved learning more about him, and I loved that you sent me back to remember some things that I had temporarily stored away.

    Thank you for sharing the beautiful letter from Tyler's dad.

    God bless...