Friday, April 17, 2009

Celebrating a Simply Spectacular Son


Today is the DOB of our second son, aka child #3, depicted here in his starring role as Uncle Ryan.(Hi,Ryan!)In our family, April 17th means dinner at the Fish Market, Ry's annual restaurant of choice for celebrating his nativity. I mention this fascinating fact because it highlights the birthday boy's complexities. Despite being the most adventurous eater we know (the more ethnic and/or unorthodox the better), his b-day bash meal is forever the same. Fish, fish, and more fish. Why? Tradition. This guy loves tradition like no other. And therein lies the somewhat contradictory essence of our son, Ryan. A conforming non-conformist.  An adventurous, restless soul (born under a wandering star) who also happens to be a loyal and traditional lover of all things home and family. In short, this dude is a catch

When Ryan was born, his dad took one look at the nose (smashed all over his face by a rough delivery) and said, "Who does that kid belong to?" I could have taken this question personally, especially after more hours than I care to mention of natural childbirth, but I am (or used to be) far too, magnanimous...for that. Instead, I laughed fondly and thought to myself with considerable concern: Wow, this kid has a serious nose on him! Happily, the nose repaired itself almost overnight and became a moot (though still slightly prominent) point. 

As for Ryan, he became a delightful child, full of life and good feeling. Actually, he was full of feeling, period. One minute he'd be laughing like crazy and the next he'd be crying the same way. Still, he was a sunny child for the most part, and the world was definitely his oyster. People just liked him, and to his dismay, teenage girls were constantly pinching his cheeks and pronouncing him adorable. (I believe that is still an issue.) Yep, the ladies love him.

He was a pretty easy kid because he was so obedient. A famous story in our family is the time I washed the kitchen floor, not realizing Ryan was in the bathroom off the service porch. When I saw him come out and almost step on my wet linoleum, I told him to stay there and not move until I told him it was okay. One of the other kids distracted me, and I completely forgot about Ryan. Some time later, my mom arrived and asked him what he was doing standing there. He said, "My mom told me not to move until she said it was okay." His grandma actually had to call me over to "release" him from that obligation! Crazy, huh? Especially considering he was only 3 at the time. Another example: We were walking across a parking lot, and he stopped dead in his tracks. I pulled at him, but he wouldn't budge. After struggling with him for a few moments, I looked down and asked what his problem was. With a grave look on his face, he pointed to the letters stenciled on the parking lot pavement and read aloud: "STOP." "Those rules are for cars," I explained.  heehee

I should add, in the interest of truth, that his obedience did not remain at this level...especially during his senior year in high school (details withheld to protect the innocent, but let's just say he wasn't above taking the unplanned "holiday" from school here and there). I will say, though, that he was never one I spent much time worrying about. Of course, I didn't know at the time that he had a reputation for speeding. And maybe that was merciful...for him...because he would have been paying for his own car insurance so fast it would have made his head spin!! But I digress. (Spurred by delayed maternal angst, no doubt.)

The thing is, Ryan likes to have fun. And that makes him fun to be with, which is why we all missed him when he went away to the U of Utah (he remains an avid fan of Ute sports) and then to the Philippines on his mission. Having him in a time zone that catapulted him to an entirely different day was not easy for this mama, and the assorted threats of terrorists, volcanoes, and tropical diseases didn't help matters. But he had a great experience, came home, graduated, went to work for a public accounting firm, and got his CPA. Now all he needs is a wife.  oops

Ryan's recent ankle surgery to fix old basketball injuries was covered in an earlier post. Physical therapy is underway, and the boot has been traded for a brace. Not being able to hike, swim, or mix it up on the court (especially with his dad and brothers) has been a tough row to hoe. But soon he will hoe that row no more! Coming soon: mountain hikes, lake swims, and pick-up games.

I'd love to give Ryan a gift that means as much to him as his Christmas gift last year did to me. Not likely, though. He got a wooden box, put a picture of us on the lid, then filled it with trinkets and tokens that would have been touching in and of themselves but were lent added meaning by a poem he wrote, explaining each item's significance. The poem ended, several verses later, with "So on each Christmas always remember/the magical box you received/and cherish the memory in your heart/a gift from the best you conceived."

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RYWhile I can't support your claim to being the "best" I conceived (even on your b-day), I have always conceived "the best" (4 times, to be exact), and that definitely includes you. Being among the top four people ever born? Priceless.

"Good stuff" about Ryan:

1. random humor and, at times, unabashed silliness
2. happy-go-lucky manner that contrasts with his many shades and colors (dude is deep)
3. inexplicable preference for wearing the red wrist band that was part of my circletime presentation 3 years ago (featuring corny imprint in Latin)
4. taste in music (exquisitely similar to mine)
5. big dose of natural charisma (as opposed to what?...the artificial kind?)
6. easy, tease-y way with people
7. highly opinionated nature (a plus only when he agrees with me)
8. appreciation for nature and kids (relative indifference to puppies) 
9. ability to bring fun into any situation, and
10. authenticity...what you see is what you get

And he looks good, too! Even at this advanced age!!

Many happy returns, Ry guy. See ya at the fish place...



jen said...

What a great post. Love how you see things. And I wish I had someone fantastic to set him up with. But Heidi's only 18 . . . ha ha.

Momza said...

First, I love James Taylor. So kudos for that!
Second, I wish I had a daughter his age so we could play match-makin' mommas...he is quite the catch!
Ya done good momma!
Thanks for stopping by my blog too!

Kristin said...

Ryan really is the best! Of course, we're not biased at all. hehe, Hope he as a great day!

Natalie said...

Happy Birthday to your boy!!
I love when you share your family with us. Such very cool people.
Have fun at the fish place.

Heather Anderson said...

He is a wonderful Uncle and I am so happy that he is! Hope hi Bday ROCKS!

karen said...

What a cute son! You sound like you have such a great relationship with him. I love spending time with my boys - they are special! Enjoy the fish place - sounds like a good time.

VK said...

You write so that a reader can get to know your cute son well. What a thoughful positive mom he has.

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