The Ryan Briere Foundation

About Ryan

A Beautiful Blessing

ryan and brotherOn the morning of Wednesday February 6, 2008, the Chicago area was experiencing a very heavy snowfall. By day’s end, several inches had fallen. While it seemed everyone around us was taking shelter in the safety of their homes, and the city was shutting down, our hearts were warm with celebration. Ryan Alexandre was born that day, and he completed our family.

By the time Ryan was 6 months old, he was able crawl up the stairs. At just 9 months, he was walking and we were chasing him around the house. Ryan loved running from room-to-room. Wherever he was, he was just a bundle of energy as he explored everything in his sight.

An Effervescent Child

Very quickly, Ryan displayed a great awareness of the world and the people around him. He enjoyed making people laugh. In fact, his big belly laugh was so contagious you couldn’t help but join in. Anyone that knew Ryan knew that he could light up a room with his smile and energy. Ryan was a child filled with love, curiosity, and some fierce determination. This determination drove his thirst for independence. Ryan’s independence was a quality that sometimes made parenting a challenge, but that smile and that belly laugh made it impossible to stay mad at him for long.

Making new friends was easy for Ryan. When greeting people, he often took a running start and gave a big bear hug. At daycare, he always welcomed new kids to the class by showing them around, and making them feel comfortable. He knew all of the teachers at his school and which class each of them taught.

Mommy’s Caring Boy

mommy and ryanRyan had a way about him that could melt your heart, even if you didn’t know him. If ever anyone around him was feeling sad or frustrated, Ryan would fix it instantly. If I was feeling sad or upset, Ryan would come over to hug or kiss me and say, “It’s all good, don’t be sad”. Then, he would immediately follow up with, “So… are you happy now?” Regardless of how I truly felt, at that moment, I couldn’t help but answer, “Yes, Ryan. I’m happy now”.




Dad’s Little Man

ryan strollerMy favorite part of each afternoon during the week was when I got to pick Ryan up from school. This was not only our “alone time”, but also the first time I’d get to see him for the day. I would always stop to peek in his classroom window before going in, so I could watch him without him knowing. Without fail, I would always get noticed by one of his classmates. Typically, Ryan would run to me when I opened the classroom door. But, if I was coming in during story time or puzzle time, he would look at me and ask to stay until the story or the puzzle was over. Patiently, I would sit down and wait until the story or his puzzle was done. After we walked out of the room, Ryan always wanted to race up to the front of the building. “You go this way, and I go that way, and I’ll meet you at the front,” he would say without fail. I could barely hear the sound of his steps over the playful laughter. Then, it was more hugs to the people who worked up front. He would ask for a sticker, but eventually just helped himself if it took too long. On the car ride home, he would be quiet for a while, just asking for music (and for me to stop whistling). It wouldn’t be long before the following dialogue would once again take place:

    Ryan: “Are we home?”
    Me: “Not yet.”
    Ryan “Yeah, we are.”

    I would watch Ryan in my rearview mirror and we would both grin at each other. His look and his big smile said it all; our game had started.

    Ryan: “Are we home?”
    Me: “Yes, we are”
    Ryan: ”No, we’re not”

    Ryan: “Are we home?”
    Me: ”No, we’re not.”
    Ryan: “Yeah, we are.”

This went on until we pulled into the garage. I couldn’t change the answer, or the order. If I said “almost” or “yes we are” twice in a row, he would remind me: “No, Daddy. You say, ‘No we’re not’ and I say, ‘Yeah we are.’

Noah the Big Brother

ryan brotherMy favorite thing about being a big brother was that I got to teach Ryan to be really good at puzzles, “just like me!” Ryan and I liked watching some of the same movies – he liked Charlotte’s Web and Toy Story (all 3 of them) and Finding Nemo. We really liked watching those together. I loved Ryan very much, he was the best little brother in the world!


Some of Ryan’s Favorite Things

Reading was a ritual for Ryan. He loved reading right before bedtime so much that he slept with some of his favorites each night. Ryan could have us read the same book over and over again, and never tire of it. Most recently, we had been reading I Love You Stinky Face. Ryan had this book memorized and required that it be read a certain way. He would tell me, “I read it Mama, not you.” (Except for the one part that the mom whispers in his ear, “I love you stinky face”. That always had to be whispered in HIS ear, or we’d have to start from the beginning).

One of Ryan’s favorite things to do was to put his puzzles together. The sense of accomplishment he showed when he finished one was amazing. He always finished with, “I did it Mommy! I did it by myself!” He also knew that his Mommy is not that great at putting puzzles together. When I would offer to help he would typically respond, “That’s ok, you can just watch.”

Ryan had his favorite characters on TV and in movies. The only way to get him to stay with us in bed was to put “Handy Manny” on. The same couple of episodes were repeated over and over again. Movies like “Charlotte’s Web”, “Finding Nemo” and “Toy Story” were his favorites. He always commented on how good or bad the characters were. One day at the dinner table, Ryan had a particularly good laugh. Just like the little octopus in “Finding Nemo”, Ryan blurted out,”You guys made me ink!”

On January 11, 2011, just 3 weeks before his 3rd birthday, we lost our dear son. He will be forever in our hearts as our shining star.














 
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