“Ummm Heather, I wanted to tell you that Carson has been using swear words lately. Could you talk to Ryan?” My sister in law asks gently. Horrified I nod. Inside my mind is racing. “Scott doesn’t swear around the kids. Oh my god! It’s me! Ryan is swearing because of me!” I become determined to clean up my language. Children should hear loving words not those of a lifelong sailor… Later that night, Brenda goes home with her children leaving Uncle Kyle behind to play NHL on Ryan’s PlayStation. Scott, Ryan and Kyle have been doing this nightly for quite some time. Tonight though, I am upstairs tidying when I hear the ruckus of the boys winning and losing at the hockey game. Ryan, the constant winner, is giggling while Scott and Kyle pepper him with the most ungodly words known to man. The more he wins, the saltier the language becomes. I actually blushed.

Thankfully the cordless phone was able to capture the moment in my call to Brenda. I’m not sure what she said to Kyle but the games were tamer after that.

Ryan was lucky to have you as his uncle. From the moment he was born, you showered him with love. And for that he looked up to you. You have always been a safe place to land.

And when he needs you most, I see your dogged determination to find him. There is nothing you wouldn’t do, no one you won’t talk to, no stone you will leave unturned. You are one of his biggest champions.

I suppose that shouldn’t surprise me. All those years ago, when I came to visit with Ryan, we would go for hikes in Jasper. When I couldn’t carry his weight anymore, you took him from me. You held him to your chest and watched over him.

There is no end to the earth that you wouldn’t go for him then and most certainly not now.

Happy Birthday Kyle.