A couple years ago, I had gotten a hold of some old windows. I was very big into my art at the time, and I knew that I could create something beautiful with them. Sometimes, the item gives me the imagination to create or a situation directs me to use the item. In this case, the situation pulled the window into my project.
For the past couple of years, my son has struggled with school and dealing with his peers. I came up with the great idea to take one of the large windows and chalk paint it, then write encouraging letters from our friends and family. I had a plan in mind, but I spray painted the glass bright blue. That’s when I realized that I had accidentally screwed up my original plan. I also didn’t get as many letters as I hoped and the letters I did get weren’t the greatest. This halted the project. I felt guilty for never finishing it and giving it to him during a time that he needed it.
A few weeks ago, the idea came back to me when learning about his father’s incarceration. I knew this would be a hard and difficult thing to learn about a parent. It has made my son a little bit more emotional than usual as well. So, I started Project: Window of Opportunity. This time my plan for the window began to unfold. I decided to leave the blue painted glass. On the other side, I would paint the wood sides white and then distress them. After thoroughly cleaning the glass, I painted gold letters using stenciles. It spelled, “Dear Tyler”.
I began texting and talking to friends and family. I posted on my Facebook for other friends to send in theirs. Some customer-family friends hand wrote or emailed them to me. Daycare teachers got involved and wrote me theirs. The letters were pouring in, and I felt so grateful and blessed. We are truly lucky to have this much support.
After collecting so many letters from our friends and family, I took a .45mm black marker and wrote each note and letter by hand. I don’t have the greatest handwriting, but it was the best way I knew how to transfer them all. I even wore plastic gloves so I wouldn’t put my fingerprints all over it as I wrote along.
In the process, I had to hide the window at my job, so that my son wouldn’t find it. I definitely didn’t want him to know what I was up to. So, for about 2-3 days a week I would come into work an hour and a half early. I would use that time to write some of the letters. There was one week I didn’t work on it, because I was waiting for about 4 more notes from people. Some notes were slow coming than others, but that’s because of their busy lives and/or their desire to write a letter fully focused and from the heart.
Underneath the Dear Tyler stenciles was my letter. It took up all of the bottom middle space, but I am also his biggest fan!
You are now officially 9 years old, getting close to that two digit mark. You were so cute this morning, looking in the mirror, “I think I grew, my arms look longer!” Lol. You have grown so much outwardly and internally. I am so proud of your strength and drive that you have developed this year. You amaze me constantly! But when I see that boy in the mirror, I actually see a baby who blessed my life on this very day 9 years ago. I know in my heart I would of never became the person I am today if you had never came into my life. Everything changed when God blessed me on April 8, 2008 at 10:05pm with my 7lb 2oz. 20.5 inch long angel. I’ll never forget the feeling of pure joy (and exhaustion) after that 15hr labor finally came to an end, and I finally got to meet my Tyler Jason. Truth is, you saved my life in more ways than you’ll ever know. Through this journey, I wonder at times if you taught me more than I’ve taught you. You taught me strength, patience, compassion, bravery, what true unconditional love is and so much more. I laugh more than I’ve ever had, I experience more joy than I’ve ever had, I have more reasons to be proud, and it’s all because of you. You are my biggest achievement, and my reason of life. I am saddened that the little boy is starting to go away, but excited to watch you grow up to be such an amazing little man and person. Your smile and spirit is infectious, your heart is pure and sweet, and your personality is passionate, humorous and joyful. I literally thank god every day that you are in my life. You are incredibly special to me! You are my best friend, and the most perfect son! Just keep being amazing, surprising me and continuing to be that spectacular little man that everyone loves & is happy to know! I love you so much my big and pooky bear!
As the gaps were closing in, I was getting more and more excited. I couldn’t wait for him to see it! This wasn’t just for him to look at for one day as he goes through this one difficult event, but for events of life. It is a physical reminder in large for him to come back to for encouragement, support, and love whenever he needs it. This is a reminder that he is worthy, amazing and touches other people’s lives. I want him to keep this for life, so that he never forgets who he is and never forgets who are in his corner. When he feels like he’s failing, there are quotes to prove that he’s not. Whenever life is knocking him down, there are words from his support to pick him back up.
My favorite quote: ‘Hence and hence forth, two roads emerged and I took the road less traveled’. And that has made all of the difference.”
- Mr. Miles
‘You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction that you choose.’ – Dr. Suess
Remember Tyler, you are your own person and the paths ahead of you are your choices alone.”
- Ms. Jennifer
You are so important to so many people. You fill our lives with laughter and love. Don’t ever forget how many people are rooting for you no matter what you choose.”
- Aunt Darah & Remy
I finally finished it enough to bring it home. I anticipated this day, but not ever really sure what his reaction would be to it. When, we pulled into the driveway. I asked him to open up the trunk. He looked reluctant, but proceeded to do so. He slowly pulled it up to open. With his hands in the air still latching to the trunk door, he stood in awe.
He was stunned by the brightness of the blue, the gleaming gold of his name and the many tiny writings to him. He was trying to figure it out and it’s concept. Once he got closer to read some of the notes, I began explaining it’s purpose and the history behind it. He replied, “I’m in shock. I feel like happy crying”….That was the response I wanted.
Once I carefully brought it inside our home, we read each and every little note. I wanted this love and every word to sink in. This was something special for him to hold onto for the rest of his life if we’re careful. I want these to be his mantra for life. He needs something to advocate his value and how amazing, capable and special he really is. After lots of help from our peers and some dedicated time in the mornings, it was put together from the hearts of all involved just for him. I just hope that he continues to hold it dear to his heart with the love that was built to make it for him.