Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever. ~Author Unknown
Sometimes we sit back and wonder, ‘Who does Kyle favor more?’. It has been the topic of many conversations over the years. Not because it really truly matters, but out of sheer curiosity. At times, Kyle is like a mirror image of one of us and other times we see blended traits. I guess there are two sides to the coin when making a comparison, the physical and the behavioral characteristics.
Let me start with Kyle’s dad, Ryan, my brother. Seems like the best place to start, especially since Ryan’s half the reason Kyle exists in the first place. When Kyle was first born and when he aged into a really little tyke, he looked like a spitting image of Ryan as a child! Comparing images of the two, they were certainly similar, almost twins. Naturally the resemblance helps with the blond hair and blue eyes, but the shape of his face and his smile were all his dad’s, even down to his teeth. As for the rest of him, he was a mix between my dad and my sister. Kyle always had a thick neck and legs and a stocky frame, unlike Ryan, who always had long skinny legs and a frame to match.
Kyle not only shows some of Ryan’s physical characteristics, but Ryan’s behavioral demeanor really seeps out of Kyle’s pores. I guess I’m talking about sugar! Yes Ryan loved sugar! He would put so much on his cereal it basically was a paste of sugar milk. Gross! Every time I watch Men In Black and the “Edger” alien asks for sugar water, I totally think of Ryan. Ryan could have hung out with the alien and Kyle could have easily joined that group. Both, Kyle and his dad alike, have been caught dipping their fingers in the raw sugar to sample. Like they forgot what it tasted like! And let’s not forget the container of chocolate milk mix. Both boys had a sampling of that contents a time or two. Ironically, each one having a sweet tooth did draw them into candy. Neither one really ate much candy, but the pair had an affinity for pastries, cakes and treats. The only difference is Ryan could eat. I mean put away food like he never ate before.
Once when Ryan and I were in high school, we came home and started watching TV. Naturally, after a long day of draining the brain, we were both starving. Now I will admit, I used to have a huge appetite, being able to consume large amounts of food and out eat everyone I knew, except Ryan. Ryan went to the kitchen to grab a bunch of bananas. Not two or three in this bunch, there was at least eight or nine bananas there. Without blinking an eye, he sat and peeled one banana and ingested it in three or four bites, then proceeded to the next. Once he got through four bananas, I couldn’t help but stare in amazement. Ryan looked at me and sincerely asked, “What?” In complete disbelief over this consumption of food, I said, “I really want a banana but I’m afraid to grab for one, for fear of loosing my hand.” He laughed and simply said, “I’m hungry!” Obviously! He continued on a steady ingestion course until he polished off about six bananas before slowing down. Amazing! And his waistline never went above 29 inches, until he hit his twenties then it went to 30 inches.
Ryan didn’t eat horribly, but he was never concerned with healthy choices. When he would stop at McDonald’s, he would not only pick up one double Big Mac, but he would eat two or three! Kyle doesn’t have an appetite like that, the food similarities end with the sugar and the love of fruit and meat. But Ryan was never a picky eater. I can’t really say the same for Kyle, even though he does pretty good about giving different food choices a try.
Kyle has always had an infatuation with wheels, cars, the sounds of an engine and big equipment. Always! There are a few simple stories I’d like to share to truly put this into perspective. First, I’d like to point out that some traits are taught and some are environmental. Ryan passed away when Kyle was three months old, therefore, I can only believe that there is a gene somewhere inside Kyle supplied directly from Ryan, or Ryan is in heaven encouraging and guiding the young man. Either way, it’s pretty funny.
While attending Seton Hill University for my second degree, I had to babysit Kyle. This was not a new concept, if the family was working and I had to watch my beloved little man, I would take him to school with me. Getting pretty creative when attending classes, I would pass Kyle along to my friends who had free time, until I was able to pick up my responsibility. Being the only one to stand to loose if I missed a class, I never did, not to mention I was paying for my own education. It worked out brilliantly! In fact, one spring semester during finals week, I happened to be toting around my favorite little man. My friend Sarah was kind enough to watch him on campus while I fulfilled my final exam requirements. At the time, Seton Hill was building the Athletic Center so there were plenty of big trucks moving dirt and material. Sarah walked him around the campus and stopped to let him watch the construction sight. She said he loved it! Unbeknownst to her, we already knew that Kyle loved trucks and equipment, but it was still cute and amazing at the same time. His infatuation with the large equipment and the noises put a smile on Sarah’s face, as well as mine.
On a side note, for all those who say they can’t tend to a child while attending school and having other responsibilities hasn’t really tried. I am not the only one who has made this happen. With the grace of God and support of family and friends, anything is possible if wanted enough. To this day I still appreciate the efforts of my friends and professors!
Sometimes when Kyle and I would drive past a construction sight, he would intently stare in amazement at the life size Tonka trucks. Then, without missing a beat he would begin to make engine noises, revving and shifting. He almost looked like he was imagining himself in the vehicle moving the earth. In fact, he continues to do that to this day!
Once when mom and I were at a funeral and there was an elderly person sitting in a wheelchair minding their own business. Kyle, being two or three years old, walked over to the wheelchair, sat down, and started to move the wheels. It looked like Kyle was going to shoot the person into the casket! The poor victim of a push and run, had no idea what was going on because Kyle was obstructed by the back of the wheelchair due to his lack of vertical length. Who would think they needed to be protected at a funeral while hanging out in a wheelchair? Apparently, Kyle should have come with a warning. As soon as it happened, I whisked up the perpetrator and saved us all from a potential embarrassing situation that would have surely won America’s Funniest Videos.
The comparisons don’t stop there. Even though Kyle is now eleven, we’ve had years to see the similarities. Believe it or not, Kyle loved to help out with house chores and work. He was a hard worker and enjoyed it, well that is until a few years ago when he was influenced differently. That was also the about the same time he discovered video games and found laziness. Kyle loved to vacuum, dust, help with the dishes and stack firewood. I mean it! He would cry if he couldn’t help anyone who was doing chores. We would put him to work, which not only helped him physically but helped to build his character and work ethic. Plus Kyle is part of the family and everyone pitches in around the house. We always have, and continue to do so.
My brother was such a hard worker. When he was nine he started working in my parents sawmill during the summers. Yes, nine-years-old and he worked! Throughout his short life, he worked and worked hard, never complaining and never missing a beat. Eventually, when he became a machinist he would function as a part-time mechanic on the weekend for extra cash. Not because he was greedy, he was the farthest thing, but because he needed the moola. I completely respect that! No one paved his way and he never took the easy road.
Granted Kyle’s work ethic and motivation are not quite comparable now-a-days, but we still continue to push him along, for his own sake. He is eleven and knows how to do laundry, cook, clean, grocery shop and yard work. I believe that’s a good starting point and a great foundation.
While I’m on the topic of good character, Ryan was a kind and honest person. He was sincere and not malicious in any way. Proudly, these are characteristics I have seen from Kyle and they were certainly passed down from father to son. Ryan would help anyone out, whether it was for a specific skill needed that Ryan possessed, or it was just the assistance of his brawn. If someone needed help moving or work done on their car, Ryan was always the first in line to lend a helping hand. He certainly took care of my car for years, changing the oil, replacing my breaks, cutting my drums and rotors and the list goes on and on. He would never take a penny from me. He just wanted to help.
On another side note, Ryan was a bean pole yet he was a very strong lanky guy. One would have never have guessed he was as strong as he was, but I can personally verify it!
Even through Kyle always has a determination to get out of doing work, he is a good hearted individual. He never wants to see anyone upset or in pain. His heart bleeds for those around him, especially the ones he loves. Just to redeem Kyle a bit, when help is truly needed, Kyle is there to assist, well maybe to bark orders, but I guess that’s his way.
It wouldn’t be a true comparison if Lego’s weren’t addressed! Nothing captures Kyle’s attention more, than the mention of that word. LEGO’s! Even to this day he is still obsessed. (Lego Obsessive or Driven, Happy Lego Birthday Kyle – 11 Years Old!, Are Professions Born or Taught Part 3, Seattle – Twilight Pilgrimage Part 4 and the list goes on) Ryan had Lego’s but didn’t really take such a liking to them as Kyle. Although Ryan liked to work with his hands. He would build in other ways and tear apart to investigate the inner workings of objects, much like Kyle’s curiosity.
Sometime in elementary school, Ryan decided to take apart a little black and white TV we had. He was curious to see how it worked and how the innards were put together. Did you know, you should unplug electronics before dissecting them? Lesson learned on Ryan’s part. We knew Ryan was up to no good because all of a sudden the breaker switched over and killed the juice to part of the house. The part that included Ryan’s bedroom, Kyle’s current bedroom. Just like Kyle, always curious to see the guts, the inner workings of objects and devices. Although I’ll give Kyle credit, he would never have made such an error. Kyle would have thought the process through before attacking it and simply unplugged the television set to be safe.
Then, let’s not forget about Ryan’s first truck. It could have been called a piece of art or just plain junk. First of all it was a beater, that goes without saying, but he customized it. I’m not talking about putting it up on blocks or adding a spoiler. Nope! Ryan decided he wanted to modify it so no one could really drive it. He reworked the wiring so the horn was not a horn but controlled something else, same goes for the windshield wipers etc. In addition to the internal parts being modified, he did manage to custom create his own exhaust pipe. He welded it to snake up past the door and remain vertical with a flap on top. Yes it looked like a big truck’s exhaust! He thought that was funny and creative. You know what? I’ll give him that!
Kyle loves to build. More-than-not he likes structure and everything the way they its suppose to be, not a lot of free interpretation. Ryan and Kyle similar in the arena of talented mechanical building, yet Kyle is more structured like my sister, which I’ll get to that comparison next. Kyle is a building machine and structural visionary, like Ryan, just in a different way.
Kyle’s still growing so only time will tell if Ryan’s genes will ultimately take over, physically and characteristically. He is certainly a part of his dad, no question. There are so many other characteristics and stories to call out, maybe another blog post! Next up, Nicole! To be continued…