Journey to Thailand | Day Two 4.28.2017 | Taylor Thompson

When you are sitting on a plane for what feels like hours on end, time becomes a very predominant feature of your experience. You begin to wonder: how much longer? How long have I already been here? Why am I not in First Class?! But at a certain point, these questions begin to go deeper. They become what is time? Who created it? Why does everyone follow it? This line of thinking continues into who created everything we do? Things like science, arithmetic, language, design. The list goes on. And on. And on. And on. For me, the answer goes back to one of my favorite quotes from Steve Jobs: Everything around you that we call life was made up by people no smarter than you… you can change it. You can influence it. You can build your own things that other people can use. You can poke life. You can improve it. You can make your mark upon it. You can make it better. Don’t settle. Think differently. Challenge the status quo. Do big. Not small. Because doing something big takes the same amount of time as doing something small. So why not do something...

Journey to Thailand | Day One 4.27.2017 | Taylor Thompson

Several months before the love of my life, my beautiful bride, passed, I began to write love letters. The normal CaringBridge approach of talking about the disease, her cancer, just didn’t seem right to me. After Maureen’s passing, I continued to write, because our love did not end on the day of her passing. She may not be present physically, but her love is fully present. We are still connected. Over the last several months, I have been privileged to share words of love that come from the hearts of our three children, Taylor (18), Kyla (15) and Katelyn (13). As we “celebrated” what would have been Maureen’s 53rd birthday yesterday, Taylor, our eldest, was in the air. Flying Etihad Airways. To Thailand for a Global Village Build with Habitat for Humanity in Udon Thani. Today, I share his words. His voice. His love. I love you son. Mommy loves you. God’s speed… Day One | 27 April 2017 Day one. Today was all about emotion. Excitement. Worry. Sadness. Anger. Happiness. A sense of belonging. Emotions that did not happen in one particular order, but that occurred intermittently throughout the day. Occurrences that affected my mood. That affected how I saw and moved though the world at that particular moment. I realized just how beautiful and wonderful emotions are. But also how destructive, distracting, and debilitating they can be if you allow the negative ones to consume you. Sitting here on the plane from Dallas to Abu Dhabi has allowed me to think a lot. I’ve thought about what I think the future might hold. About the past twelve...

The Day I Became a Mom

Post Co-Published on Mom’s Next Move A Site by J.C. Conklin & Monica Samuels Monica Samuels is a fellow St. Andrew’s parent, with a son in 9th grade, like my daughter, Kyla. As I explore taking my writing from the blog page to book form, Monica has been not just a good friend but a sage advisor, having written her own book, Comeback Moms, with J.C. Conklin. On October 21, 2014, I became a mom. No, it wasn’t a modern medical miracle. Science had not cracked the code on a man giving birth. Heck, we guys couldn’t handle childbirth in any case. No, on October 21, 2014, I had been asked to handle something else. After a courageous on-and-off 11 year battle with breast cancer, the love of my life, my Maureen, my bride of almost 25 years, passed from this world to the next. We went to sleep on the night of Monday, October 20th holding hands. We squeezed hands again around 4am when the nurses came in to take my sweetie’s vitals. Squeezing hands was our quiet way of saying, “I love you,” without using words. Around 5:30am or so, I had stirred a bit in my cot on my side of Maureen’s hospital bed. I looked out the window on 7 North at Seton Hospital in Austin, Texas. The sun hadn’t come up yet. The stars were twinkling, as were the lights at 26 Doors across the street, the shopping center that my favorite coffee and gelato shop, Teo’s, calls home. I felt a certain warmth and a quiet voice in my head that said, “go back...

The Gift of Love | Katelyn Thompson

On the way into St. Andrew’s Episcopal School this morning, I was already a little wistful thinking about the fact that this was Taylor’s “last” time to be at Lessons and Carols. Maureen and I have loved this service since he first sang “Mary Had a Baby” as a 1st grader. Now, he is a senior; Kyla is a freshman; and Katelyn is a 6th grader. As we drove, Katelyn wanted to read to me her Christmas present from English class. I’m glad she did, because it is the perfect expression of the love I always feel during this most wonderful celebration of what Christmas is all about, love. Dear Dad, The love that you and mom have provided me is more important than any Christmas gift that you can buy at a store. The time that you have taken to take care of us and watch us grow up is so breathtaking. You have been by our side throughout all of our lives. You have loved me when times got tough, and taught me how to love. The Gift of the Magi is a perfect story during Christmas time, because these two characters Jim and Della are sacrificing the prized possessions because of their love for each other. They are selling their possessions in the sacrament of love. Love in a family is a major part of having a well grounded happy family. I picked three things that represent the gift of our family. A gift to me is something that I will treasure forever, like all of the memories I have cherished with mom. My favorite memory...

The Love of My Life | “Can You Imagine?”

“Can you imagine what it’s like seeing life from the other side?” For those that have followed my writing for a while, you know Teo’s Gelato on 38th in Austin is a special place for me. Last Wednesday, I was sitting at Teo’s, after dropping my youngest, Katelyn, off at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School for another day of 6th grade. However, what unfolded over the next few hours was definitely not routine. For that matter, what has unfolded over the last few days is beyond imagination, but when “your heart is open wide, you’ll believe it.” And, for the last hour, I have been having a conversation with Nicholas here at Stouthaus Coffee Pub on Lamar… yes, I spend a lot of time in coffee shops! Nicholas was here with his son, Finley. Finley is only 5 months old, and as I looked over at him, I remembered “wheeling” Taylor around the University of Texas School of Law when he was this age. It was my third year of law school. It was late 1999. Taylor had been born earlier that year, at the end of January. Fortunately, Nicholas and Finley decided to move over to the couch at Stouthaus, and Nicholas and I started an unexpected, yet powerful conversation. Quite frankly, this blog post on “Can You Imagine?” would not be complete but for the many nuggets of thinking that Nicholas unleashed in my mind. This is the power of authenticity and vulnerability. It is why I like to talk with people so much. I’m lucky Nicholas was of a similar spirt this morning. One of these nuggets...

St. Andrew’s Senior Homily | Taylor Thompson

It is one thing for me to tell the story of the love of my life, Maureen. It is quite another when your children tell their stories of their love for their mom. On October 21, 2016, our son, Taylor Thompson, told the story of his love for his mom in a moving homily at the same Upper School chapel at St. Andrew’s where he held Maureen’s celebration of life 2 years earlier. Taylor is currently a senior at St. Andrew’s. He has been a Crusader since 1st grade. I remember walking into his 1st grade classroom with Maureen 12 years ago. It is amazing to think he will “walk out” in just a few months, graduate, and head to college. Watching him at the podium at his beloved school, telling his story of love, was a truly touching moment for me, his father. I had stood at that podium 2 years ago, “bookmarking,” in Taylor’s words the beginning of our journey forward without my beloved wife, their beloved mother. That Friday afternoon I sat with his sisters, Kyla and Katelyn, in the front row. These words from Taylor’s Facebook post about his homily frame his tribute better than any: Last Friday, October 21st, marked the beginning of “Year Three” since my mom’s passing. The first two years were about her. They were about remembering and honoring. They were about telling her story and creating her legacy. The first couple days of the third year have been different. They have been about creating our legacy. They have been about four people and their ability to change the world. Thank...