I'm not really sure how it happened. 'Cause last I knew it was January 22nd, 1996......and I was holding my beautiful red-headed baby. I was a scared new mommy who was absolutely......completely......head over heels in love with her baby boy!!!!
16 years have somehow passed.....and that baby boy can now PICK ME UP!
If I think about it too long, I get all misty eyed.....but I don't want you to misunderstand. I'm proud of the young man he has become. I'm still head over heels in love with my 6'4"+ baby boy.
There are certain moments in my "timeline" that I will never forget.
I'm pretty sure that this is one of them.
I was the only person awake....and it was Sunday morning.
I made coffee. Decorated the chalkboard. Hung a Birthday banner on the mantle. Unloaded and loaded the dishwasher. You know, ordinay stuff!! But the whole time I'm thinking......holy cow!!!!! How in the world is it humanly possible for time to go so quickly!!!
Then the clock on my oven turned to 8:02. The exact time I held Ryan for the very first time. He had a cone head, he was covered in ICK, he was screaming bloody murder........but my heart skipped a few beats. I felt love on a new level.......a mommy's love!!!
I'm pretty sure that I drive him bonkers!
I may even embarrass him from time to time!
Often....he's angrier than cuss at me........
But I'm his momma...............and I'm so, so, so proud of him!
So.....this is the part of the story where we open a few presents.
Can't have a sweet 16 without presents, right?
Ian was with his church youth group on a weekend trip....so Emma Grace picked out a present from both of them.
It was a x-box 360 game. Honestly, can't remember the name of it for nothin'. Honestly, I couldn't care less. I haven't enjoyed a video game since the Sega Genesis released a game called "Space Harrier". I was the master! I played till my thumbs hurt.
The next present was from Mom and Dad.
Yup......a Hotwheel car!!!
Because Rick and I think that we are funny!
Wait a second!!!!!!!!
Rick and I think we are comedians!!!!
We duct taped his final present shut. In case you didn't get that......We covered the box in duct tape!!!!!!
OK....guess it's not THAT funny!
After he finally dug a steak knife out of the drawer and cut the box open.....he pulled out a little green drawstring bag with the name Lauhoff embossed on the front.
He's puzzled. That's a jewelry store?
Then he pulled out a shiny new engraved key chain with a key attached to it.
He is finally starting to understand.
He's nervous his mom and dad are trying to be comedians again.
(And we sort-of were.......See I posted a picture of his car on Facebook, tagged him in it, then made him check his wall.
Whadya' know? It's a picture of a car THAT'S IN OUR DRIVEWAY!!!!!
I included this blurry picture for a reason. I wanted you to believe me when I tell you that Ryan has never moved so quickly in all his life.
And this is what he found...........
His reaction was what I meant earlier when I said I would never forget this day. There isn't enough money in this world to trade that memory for.
I've never seen him so excited!!!!!
My heart was bursting!!!
This is the part where you start to lose me.
The guts of the car.
Under the hood.
Then we watched him open his other gifts.
This one was from his girlfriend.
A Kansas dart board (how appropriate)!
....and a MU camo shirt.
He got moola from his grandparents that I'm sure will pay for gas and dates with Lacey.
My camera was acting wonky. I wanted to have both of them in focus. But it would either do this......
What's a car without a license? Right?
This was taken the morning he officially became a driver. He wanted to drive to school and his car wasn't quite ready, so he asked to take my rig. I didn't mind that he did, but it required that he take me home first (because I didn't want to hang out in Wal-Mart for 6 hours). We pulled up to the house....and it was time for me to get out of the car.....and let him drive.......ALONE...........WITHOUT A LICENSED DRIVER........WITHOUT ME!!!! I was thankful that I had sunglasses on because my eyes welled up and I had a lump the size of a walnut in my throat. I sat there, in the passenger seat, for a little bit. Not saying anything (because I couldn't), yet not reaching for the door handle either. It was time for my red-head....who is growing up....but still has a momma who is head over heels in love with her baby boy, to let him go.
So, I gave him a squeeze, told him I loved him and that I was proud of him, and although my voice was now cracking, I told him to PLEASE BE CAREFUL!
Then I ran in the house....plopped myself in a chair.....curled up in a ball.....and bawled my eyes out!
It's been three weeks since that day......and I'm not crying anymore. Quite the opposite....I'm thankful to not have to sit in my car every night for 20-40 minutes waiting on him to get out of basketball practice. I'm thankful that he can drive himself to physical therapy for his ankle. I'm thankful that he can take himself to his girlfriends basketball games.
It's kinda nice!!!!!!
So happy birthday Rhino the Dino!
I love you more than new car smell!!!!!
And birthday parties!!
And Duct tape!!!!