My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My Boo Is 27!

me and Ryan beside the Nantahala River, 1988
Every year on my son Ryan's birthday I have to do "year math" to make sure I'm right about his age. So... 2013-1986= 27, right? Then I guess this year he will be 27. Unbelievable.

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
Charlie needed someone to help him move organs (again, still musical) and Ryan was sixteen and homeschooling/unschooling (and eventually got his GED) so Ryan started going on trips with Charlie. Ryan learned to drive in Dallas during rush hour driving a truck pulling a trailer. I never worried about his driving. I figure he got all the kinks worked out with Charlie. He was in New Orleans with Charlie, delivering an organ or picking up an organ or something, two days before Katrina hit. And eventually, when Charlie went out of business, he took a job in PA doing the same thing and took Ryan with him and Ryan's been there ever since. Ryan and Charlie are roommates- have been the entire time he's lived in PA. Charlie is about my age and honestly, I feel like he's been more of a co-parent with my kids than their biological parent.

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 he was almost six and in kindergarten, President George Bush (the elder) came and spoke in our subdivision during his failed re-election bid. There was a part of the subdivision that was under construction and he gave some speech about housing starts or ... who knows, I don't remember. Local political reporter Bill Nigut wanted to do a "cute kid" angle to their coverage and asked if they could interview Ryan. I shrugged... "sure... go ahead." Bill asks, "if you were old enough to vote in this election, who would you vote for?" and Ryan answered, "President Bush because Bill Clinton thinks it's ok to kill unborn babies.". Stop tape. "We can't use THAT!" Bill says. Oh, well. We let our kid listen to the radio in the car with us. Even Rush Limbaugh.

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
He had several surgeries. His first was tubes in his ears when he was 7 months old. Since he was just a baby they allowed us to walk him from pre-op to just outside the operating room. I handed him to the nurse and he said, "bye-bye mama". Still makes me tear up thinking about it. He had tubes a couple of times. He also had sinus surgery more than once. He ended up having a hole in his eardrum that had to be patched when he was in middle school. I can't tell you how many nights I sat up with him, just making sure he was breathing. And now he smokes. So much for protecting those lungs.

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) 
So, Happy Birthday, Boo! I wish I could be there to bake you a cake and take you out to dinner and all that happy stuff but this year you'll have to settle for a blog tribute instead. If I had written the script of your life myself, I couldn't have done it better. I love you, Boo!