I have known Ryan since he was seven years old. Tomorrow, April 18th, he will be eighteen. I just can't believe it!
Ryan is my husband's youngest son from a previous marriage and he lived with the two of us from the time he was seven until he was fourteen. We've missed him a lot these last four years, and we are grateful when he can come and visit. He is here with us this week, for his birthday, and so I thought it only fitting that this week's thirteen would be about him.
- inherited his father's soft, sweet, sensitive, loving heart. (As well as his ability to wear pink and look good! You'll see what I mean at the end!) He's just as mushy on the inside as he can be, and it's just one of those things that really sets him apart from most people.
- said he wanted to be six feet tall, even though his dad is 5'8" and his older brother topped out at about 5'6"...and he did it. I believe it was sheer force of will. (Ok, that and he took after his mom's side more and his uncle is tall too, but still, short runs in the family way more often!)
- earned his letter jacket in high school swimming, which made me very proud because I had been there when he first started out on the neighborhood team at the age of 10 (I believe), cheering him on from the sidelines.
- loves people. He loves to be around them, to hang out with them, to talk about the fun he has with them, to listen to them if they have troubles, to support them if they need him. He's the kind of guy who, if he sees you a half a mile away, will run up to you waving and yelling, "Hi!"
- loves to help people. He would get up early on a Saturday morning to help the man next door make chili for the "Frontier Days" festival at the neighborhood park when most kids his age were home in bed. And he was first in line any time there were fundraisers in memoriam of James, his favorite four year old who died in a tragic accident.
- has a bit of a temper. But that is because he feels everything so strongly. His emotions are always visible. He cannot dissemble in appearance. Even if he doesn't say out loud what he is feeling, you can read him like a book.
- has big brown eyes and a mop of curly brown hair that make him irresistable in that cute puppy kind of way. (You just want to pinch his cheeks, even if you have to reach up to do it!)
- loves his family dearly. He clearly values them above all things. Oh, and he is hopelessly and completely wrapped around the pinky of his adorable niece Layla.
- is extremely loyal...to his family, his friends, his sporting teams, his country. Once you are part of his life, he'll go to bat for you any time.
- is a very giving person. He'd give you his heart if he thought you needed it more than he did. To have Ryan as a friend is truly a gift.
- is also a typical teenager who has to have his cell phone and iPod with him at all times, or else he feels "naked." The boy can text with his phone in his pocket for goodness' sake! Oh, and of course he can check his myspace and send email on his phone too. Did I mention video games? He also seems to have acquired a taste for brand name clothing!
- is incredibly responsible. He goes to school, works over 20 hours a week, maintains a car, buys his own clothes and electronics, and still has time to nurture multiple friendships. When he was a kid, he used to say he was going to get a job at CiCi's Pizza...sure enough, that's where he works, and where he will probably still work once he starts college in the fall. Can you say responsible with a capital "R"?
- is an all around "good kid." He has no vices...well, except maybe eating too much fast food. He doesn't break his curfew (I don't think!). He's not a trouble maker in any sense of the word. He'll joke around, but he knows when to be serious. He'll cut up and play, but he knows when to stop. In other words, he has really grown into a fine young man.
I'm really proud of Ryan, and I'm so happy that he's here, spending time with us like the "old days" because we surely don't get to see him nearly enough now that he lives so far away and works so hard. But, I suppose that's the way it goes no matter what, now that he'll technically be all grown up. I have no doubt that he will continue to make us proud to know him as he continues finding his way in this world. I sure am grateful to know him.
Happy 18th Birthday Ryan!
© Nicole J. Williams, 2008, all rights reserved.
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