Five Years

5 years later

A couple of weekends ago I was driving all three kids home from an over-night stay at their great grandpa’s with their cousins. They conked out about five minutes after getting on the freeway, exhaused from staying up late and suffering from excessive sugar hang overs.

I was somewhere between Cerritos and Buena Park on the 91 East when it hit me, hard, like a punch in the gut from late-80s Mike Tyson. Jax has been gone longer than he was here.

That’s fucked. Lonliness filled me with despair. For whatever reason, a quiet car has been a magnet of super shitty thoughts for me since Jax died. In that moment, all those feelings came rushing back. It only lasted for 10 minutes, but it left its mark. Then, as I do, I crammed those feelings way down deep. And now, here we are. Five years that I last rubbed my fingers through his hair, heard his voice, made him smile and gazed in to his gorgeous eyes.

Saturday, the day of the remembrance, was rough. It was the hardest remembrance for me emotionally since the first year. The lack of booze didn’t help. At least at the Angel games I can numb myself up some. Disney’s El Capitan Theater offered no such relief. I didn’t want to be in my own skin. Acting natural felt forced, and I had trouble relaxing and just being.

Kristina missed most of the movie as Phoenix, who was missing his nap time, didn’t want to sit quietly. She was having a hard time Saturday, too, and this didn’t help.

The movie experience itself was terrific. Jax would’ve loved this so much. El Capitan is beatiful and the preshow, which I can only describe as a 13-year-old’s idea of a fun day on acid, was pretty cool. And the movie, Cars 3, was a fitting end to the franchise. Garvey, who is slightly older than Jax, said it was the best movie in the trilogy. I think Jax might’ve agreed, especially with the emergence of namesake Jackson Storm. It was an apt way to honor our missed little boy.

After the movie we gathered in the lobby, trying to catch up and say hello to those that joined us. At one point I looked out to the front on Hollywood Blvd, and what do you know, a fire truck inched its way along traffic. That’s our boy for us. Much needed. A few minutes went by and I couldn’t hold my emotions in check any further. Hugs made my eyes swell and at some point I lost it, breaking out in a hard, loud, ugly cry. The climax of my awkwardness.

I’m pretty sure we held the El Capitan crew up from opening doors for the next show time, but they never asked us to leave and were very courteous. We headed back to the parking structure and began our voyage out of Los Angeles, stuck in 101 traffic. We ate lunch with friends at an Island’s in Long Beach and then went home.

Kristina crashed on the couch. She didn’t sleep well the night before, with the day looming. Gray pulled out his Cars toys to play with, so we raced together while he recreated the movie on our living room floor. At night, my mother-in-law picked up balloons and we wrote notes to Jax and released them.

Then Kristina and I headed back to the theaters to catch a 10:30 PM showing of Cars 3. We weren’t the only ones in the theater, but it was pretty bare. No baby to hold or kids to rush to the bathroom, so Kristina could an enjoy an uninterruped viewing. I tagged along mainly for security. I didn’t feel great about her going to the movies late by herself. When we walked out back to our cars after midnight, I asked her thoughts, and she said it was cute. And agreed Jax would’ve loved it.

Saturday is a reminder that none of this gets easier. Some days are just shitty. And it’s normal, even after a string of non-shitty days, no matter how many years after the fact.

Thank you to those that joined us Saturday and those that couldn’t, who continue to honor our missed little boy and support our family with love and kindness. Sometimes, because of my own shit, I’m not able to express it. But it does mean so, so much to us. We love you.

CHOC Walk 2017 – How to Register

REMINDER! The CHOC Walk is August 27 this year. 

Two goals with this post:

  • Remind everyone that the timeline for the CHOC Walk was pushed up by two months this year. Remember to register if you plan on joining. And if you can’t join us but would like to make a donation to team Iron Jax, you’re more than welcome to do that as well.
  • Assist those with the registration process. CHOC has decided to use another new platform this year, which means another new way to register. Hopefully the instructions below are easy enough to get you signed up and fundraising in a jiffy.

How to Register

1. Go to CHOC’s registration page here.

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2. Sign up for a new account by entering your name and email address and creating a password, or click the Sign Up with Facebook button.

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3. If you’re signing up as a Walker, click the bear on the left.

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4. Fill out your Account Information (name, address, fundraising goal, t-shirt size, etc.).

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5. To join team Iron Jax, enter “Iron Jax” at the very bottom where it asks for Team Name. From there, it should switch your options of create or join team to JUST join team. Then click Next.

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6. The next page confirms your information, and then click Continue.

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7. After choosing to add a donation under your name, you’ll be taken to the Complete Registration page. Sign your rights away and then Complete Registration.

Bam, you’re now signed up for team Iron Jax. If you have any questions, please let me know and I’ll do my best to help.

Thank you for joining us in this very meaningful experience for our family. Whether you’re Walking or Donating, it means more to us than you’ll ever know.

Thank you.

Jax Remembrance 2017 – Cars 3 at El Capitan Theatre

jaxremembrancegraphicWe’re finally able to share the details the Jax Remembrance. We will be watching Cars 3 on Saturday, June 24 at 10 a.m. at the legendary El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood.  Walt Disney Studios is reserving a bunch of seats for us at this show time. Tickets are $11 per person.

The past three years we’ve been fortunate enough to all gather at Angel Stadium and celebrate our sweet boy. This year, however, the Angels will be in Boston. But Disney (and maybe a higher power than The Mouse) scheduled Cars 3 to release the weekend of June 17, providing us a fantastic alternative to celebrate Jax and things he was passionate about. Which, no doubt, includes Cars.

Also, in the you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up category, Cars 3 features the debut of Jackson Storm, a rookie to the Piston Cup race scene, and beloved Lightning McQueen’s new rival. How cool is that?!?

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Jackson Storm

Please let us know by June 8 if you would like tickets.

Note about parking:  El Capitan will partially validate if you park at Hollywood and Highland. Bring your parking ticket with you to get validation, and then parking will cost you just $2 for up to 4 hours. 

Happy 9th Birthday, Jax

Jax turns 9 today. Last week I tossed grounders and pop-ups and threw batting practice to kids between 6 and 12 in our Little League for evaluations. It wasn’t lost on me when the 9-year-olds came up that Jax was missing.

On Wednesday night, as a Board member and Minors player agent of the league, I ran the draft for the 9 and 10-year-olds (and some 11s). It was at the house of the league’s president, who just happens to be the father of a boy in Jax’s first preschool class that he adored. One of the managers in the division is the mother of a player on Jax’s t-ball team.

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I haven’t been able to stop fantasizing about what Jax would look like physically, and what kind of baseball player he’d be. The few 9-year-olds that I recognized at evals looked so grown up, and different, really. If I didn’t know their names, I wouldn’t have recognized them. Would I recognize Jax if I crossed paths with him?

It’s been a hard week, emotionally. The longing for him, the missing him. I mean, it always is leading up to his birthday. But throw evals and the draft on top of that, and I’m really having a hard time this week. Jax should be out there, too. It isn’t fair to leave him out of it. It’s B.S.

Today we’ll drive out to the Los Angeles Natural History Museum and celebrate Jax at one of his favorite places, then meet up with family at Ruby’s in Orange at the train station for what should be a beautiful night. It’s our tradition for our boy, and the only way we know how to celebrate his birthday at this point.

And the fantasies return. What would Jax want for his 9th birthday? What would he play with? Would he like riding bikes and scooters? Create Nerf battles with his brother and sister? I have no idea what 9-year-old boys do. Lego?

But I’m confident he’d still love baseball. As my uncle Bob posted a comment in a past birthday post “it’s in our blood.”

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Happy Birthday, Jax. My love for you knows no limits. My heart aches beyond comprehension. And my soul longs to be with you again.

Love you,

Dad

OC Family Published My Story – Check It Out

UPDATE 1:58 PM 12/29/16: Direct link is up, which you can find HERE. 

UPDATE 3:25 PM 12/27/16: Apparently viewing the web version is not mobile friendly. But the good news is a direct link will be posted within the next week or so. Once I get that link I’ll update this post with it. 

Just a quick note for those not following me on Facebook or Instagram.

OC Family today published an essay I wrote for them for their January edition, which can be found throughout Orange County starting today, or online at ocfamily.com. I wrote about Jax, dealing with grief and our New Hope (to borrow the Star Wars idea – Phoenix). On the top right click on the January digital magazine, go to page 60 and you’ll find it.

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Just a reminder you can always follow me on Instagram @sethtearz or Facebook here.

CHOC Walk 2016 THIS SUNDAY – Team Iron Jax

***This is for Walkers and non-Walkers!!!

Just a reminder that team Iron Jax is participating in the 2016 CHOC Walk to help raise funds for Children’s Hospital of Orange County. THERE’S STILL TIME TO DONATE to the team! $1, $5, $7000 – give whatever you can/would like and help us honor Jax as we raise funds for a very special place. You can donate here.

I tried writing a post entitled Why We Support CHOC to explain the importance giving back in Jax’s honor is to us. It started like this:

Jaxson died at 9:26 p.m. at Children’s Hospital of Orange County on June 24, 2012. He wasn’t born a preemie or cured for cancer at the hospital, much like many of the participants for Sunday’s CHOC Walk 2013. For about three hours, the hospital staff did everything they could to save our boy. But it was after he left us that the CHOC staff’s grace, compassion and solace left an overwhelming mark on my wife and I. We lost our boy, but it was if they lost him with us.

The rest of it is deeply intimate and I decided against posting it. I tried to figure out a way to make it less intimate, but to me, it loses the impact. Just know that for us, it’s a very meaningful cause that honors Jax’s very special spirit.

FOR THE WALKERS ON SUNDAY

We’re meeting at the lockers at the left in front of the Disneyland entrance. It’s the same place we met last year. The event starts at 6:15, we’re meeting at 6, but I urge everyone to try to be there earlier. Traffic is going to succcccccckkkkkkkkkkk. Here’s a link to helpful information about that day (parking, strollers, wheelchairs, etc, THE PARKING TRAM DOES NOT RUN!).

Please wear your Iron Jax shirts with capes (or red if you don’t have one). IF YOU NEED A CAPE LET US KNOW SO WE CAN BRING IT. 

Thanks again to EVERYONE. We love you all, and we feel your love in return. And it means so much to us.

Visit my Iron Jax CHOC Walk page here.

 

Phoenix at Three Months

Time flies. Phoenix is three months old today, which was my longest relationship before I met my wife when I was 20. RANDOM SETH TEARZ FACTOID.

If Phoenix was at a new job, he’d be eligible for health benefits by now. With that, I figured now is a perfect time to get some unseen photos out to y’all and fill you on what we know, so far, about this kid.

We call him “P”

We thought Finn (or Phinn) was a cute nickname, and Gray loved it because of the Star Wars The Force Awakens reference. But I don’t think any of us call him Phinn. He’s pretty much P, baby, or baby boy in our house.

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Chubs

He’s chubby as all hell. Definitely the chubbiest baby we’ve had. Jax and Ellie had big cheeks, but Phoenix takes those big cheeks, and raises Jax and Ellie on the chest, abdomen and legs.

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Great eater

Along with the chubs theme, I suppose, is that he’s a great eater. Always has been. My wife breastfeeds, and it’s not that he’s eating a lot or anything (he’s eating appropriate amount of ounces each day), it’s just that he’s much quicker and more efficient than the other kids. Jax hated bottles. Phoenix, in our few test runs, has excelled. The twins took forever to eat. My wife duel breast-fed, so she was dealing with two tired kiddos, or them finding each other to play with and distract, but Phoenix, when awake, knocks it out in 20 minutes and is ready to move on with life.

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He loves his sibs

Phoenix is drawn to Gray and Ellie when he hears their voices. I’ll sometimes catch him smiling and flirting with them when they’re not paying attention to him. And vice versa, they’re super attached to him. A couple of weeks ago we went to Disneyland, and my wife and P stayed home. When Gray found out, he cried so hard, which isn’t like him at all. Normally he’d be like “Ok, well, peace out, I’m going to have a great day.” This time, he cried and cried like it tore at his soul that Phoenix wasn’t going to go with us. Ellie’s been playing a great mini mommy role, too, and has already changed a few pee diapers.

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He wants to sit up

Since he was two weeks old, Phoenix has displayed an unusually strong neck/head. Now, when he’s laid back in a way, he tries to sit up. He wants to be up and involved, and with that spare tire around him, he just doesn’t have the muscles yet! He also hates playing the roll over game. He doesn’t want to do it, and he’d rather just munch on his hands in frustration.

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He’ll be a yapper

Far and away, Phoenix is the most talkative baby we’ve had. And it’s not just making sounds. It’s legit conversations. The way he looks at me when we talk makes me feel like he’s having a deep connection with me. Maybe I’m just crazy. Last night I was hanging out with him, alone, and he was laying in the boppy pillow. I’d say hi and smile, he’d flash a huge grin back, and start cooing. After a bit, with nothing having changed, his bottom lip made a frown and quivered. His eyes got red. He started to do his complaining type voice/talking. He looked scared. Then his eyes watered. He was so sad! And I couldn’t figure out why. It’s like he was telling me about something that happened earlier in the day, or some deep down fear or pain he had. A few minutes later he was back to smiling and being goofy.

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We’re all having a blast watching his personality develop. Hopefully some of these descriptions and photos give you an idea of who this little guy is today.

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