Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Considering Regret

The day after Tyler died, Michelle texted me at work to see if I wanted to go with her that evening to get pedicures.  (Talk about sentences I never thought I would type.)  She knew we both had a gift card given to us by the Dickens 2014 cast, and she knew that she had to do something to get out of her house, so pedicures it was.  On the way home, I started to voice a regret about something I wished I'd done differently, the details of which I can no longer recall.  Michelle stopped me mid-sentence to explain, basically, that nope.  We would not be playing the "I wish I'd've..." game.  She told me she had discussed it with my parents, and together they had decided that no one was allowed to regret any of the choices they had made.  And so, this is not a story of regret.

But it is a story of truth.

And here's the truth.

When we moved out of Skye and Michelle's house (a.k.a. our old house), I didn't like having Tyler at the new house.  Prior to our one-big-happy-family period of cohabitation, Michelle had always come to my house to watch Dylan.  When I moved out, this once again became the plan.  On the first school day in the new house, Michelle brought Tyler and Ryder over as always, and when I returned home I could see little evidences of such.  Hand-prints on the new glass.  Draperies that had been tugged on.  Furniture that had been pushed.  No big deal stuff, but when everything is brand new, one tends to notice these tiny things.  And so, about 3 days in to the new arrangement, I contacted Michelle.

"So Kirk and I were thinking..." I started, not quite knowing how to tell Michelle that I was having a hard time with her babies in my big-kid house... "that it would probably be a lot easier for you to not have to haul the babies over to our house.  I can probably just start bringing Dylan there."

Also true, but not as altruistic as I made myself out to sound.  And so, unless the whole family was over, Tyler didn't spend much time in our new house.  For a few brief moments, I really did feel the regret Michelle had outlawed.  Nearly all my pictures and memories of Tyler are in the old house, and that made me a bit sad.  Until I really thought about it.

My concerns about having Tyler in my house were certainly not unfounded.  Once she found a pencil in the piano room and left some beautiful graphite artwork all over the ivories.  And then, of course, there was the time she slashed my favorite chair with a pair of scissors.  I still remember Kirk texting me before I got home so I would have some time to come to grips with the situation before he had to face me.  Michelle offered to fix or replace the chair, but as the destruction happened near the beginning of Dickens, I just hadn't gotten around to repairing it.  And so we realized that despite Tyler being gone, and despite my best efforts to keep her adventures on her home turf, Tyler had managed to leave a legacy in our new house.

After Kirk's first attempt to go back to work (he only made it 4 hours before coming home), he walked through the door and said, "I don't want to fix the chair."  I nodded in agreement.  "Me either," I admitted.  And so I devised a plan to stitch it up with purple ribbon and let it stand as a reminder to us that Tyler was here.  Not just on earth.  And not just in our hearts.  But Tyler was literally here.  In this very living room.  Full of spit and vinegar and with a pair of scissors in her capable hands.

I look forward to explaining to new guests a chair covered in contrasting purple thread.  To having my own Into the Woods moment, sadly sans Sondheim underscoring, when I explain, "Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful princess..."

I also look forward to the reminder that while I need not regret, it doesn't mean I can't change.  To the reminder, as my home becomes the occasional playground of nephews Ryder and John and to babies yet to be, that there is certainly more to life than stuff.  That chairs can be repaired, but that nothing can replace a missed opportunity to make a memory.

And I am grateful that instead of regrets, I have a Tyler chair.