|me and Ryan beside the Nantahala River, 1988|
I used to have a goal of my kids getting out of their teens without being parents and without being arrested. It looks like we've made it. Austin will be 20 in March. He's come close to being arrested but I don't think there are any unknown grandchildren out there.
As most of you know, Ryan lives in Pennsylvania and works for a company that installs and repairs organs. Musical organs. You always have to make that distinction. He got into that line of work courtesy of our friend, Charlie, who used to be roommates with Josh and Ethan who were two of my fabulous gay friends.
Josh and Ethan were great with Austin - Josh even kept him on a school holiday once and Austin still talks about it. By the way, in my "there are no degrees of separation" world, Josh's mother cuts my mom's hair. But anyways... I digress.
|Ryan and Cody|
Having been a parent at a very young age, God was good enough to give us a child who was an old soul and needed less parenting than say, Austin, who still to this day needs supervision. Ryan was the child who never got into things he wasn't supposed to. We never had to put locks on cabinets to keep him out of poisons - he just didn't mess with things.
Being young, we listened to popular music with Ryan. I once called into the radio station and asked them to play the song, "Patience" because Ryan thought they were saying, "everybody needs a little spaceship" and it was so durn cute that we wanted to hear him say it again. He also once asked, after hearing the song, "Don't You Want Me Baby?" why don't they want their baby?
He was (and is) SO smart. When he was just 2 I taught him "what the angels said to the shepherds" - you know, the passage about "Fear not for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy..." He could do the whole passage. At two.
|Cody and Ryan - 2004|
When Ryan was little he had a rat tail. I lost track of him one night at Stone Mountain before the Laser Show and found him sitting in the lap of a Hooter's girl who was braiding his long rat tail. His proud father was hovering nearby, of course.
He was, for the most part, a good-natured kid but I do remember one time when he was toddler that he was throwing a tantrum. I was washing dishes and he was standing behind me whining and carrying on so I very calmly filled a glass with lukewarm water and dumped it on his head. He survived.
Another time we were at the riverfront in Savannah and he started throwing a tantrum and refused to move so we walked away and left him. We didn't go far but just barely out of his sight and he straightened up right away. Like I said, God gave us a good one to practice on.
Ryan was a sickly baby and toddler. He got sick at six weeks old and it seemed like he stayed sick for most of his childhood with allergies and asthma. His immune system was shot and after a few rounds of pneumonia they suggested that he get IV gammaglobulin treatments. This meant going in once a month and sitting for three hours in a little room while he was hooked up to an IV. He was such a pro at it that he would point out the vein they needed to use. He would say, "this is a good one - that vein looks good but it has a valve in it so it doesn't work." He was three.
|Ryan, Austin, me, Cody - Austin's graduation 2012|
Ryan has been dating Sara for several years. She's adorable - looks just like Hayden Panittierre. She's come to love sausage balls - our family favorite Christmas food - which tells me that she's a keeper. It's hard to imagine one day having grandchildren that far away but I'd rather him have a good job and a good life far away than be nearby and miserable. It will all work out.
Anyways... I promised some stories of my life as a young mother and those are just a few of my favorite Ryan stories. By the way... when we brought him home from the hospital, I couldn't get used to calling him by his name. I called him "the baby" or "the booger baby" which got amended to "boo boo". Someone teased me saying that they knew an old man who was called BooBoo and if we weren't careful, that would happen to him. Well, it has. I still call him "Boo" and a lot of family members do too.
|Ryan and Sara (in a facebook photo I snagged)|