Twenty-eight years ago today, just past midnight, I was the most excited mom in the world – you had just been born. My son. My long-awaited firstborn. I knew your name years before you drew your first breath of air.
I have enjoyed watching you over the years as you mastered the art of showing dogs, goats, whatever would go into that show ring at the end of a rope. And then, finally, you were old enough to show steers – and went on to win shows all over the nation. (Remember when ThatManILove first saw your awards? He said, “Well. The Ego has landed.”) Now that you’ve grown past stock showing age, you’re passing on your skills to your little half sisters. I love that about you, and I love how those beautiful baby girls love you right back. I remember from age 1 1 /2 how you loved to dress as a rodeo clown, and won many a rodeo clown contest. They were always putting your photos in the paper.I remember when we were on the youth promotions committee at the rodeo and I looked for you and couldn't find you. When I found you, you were down on your knees, a 6' tall 14 year old, teaching 3 little kids how to do the macarena, just to keep them occupied until it was their time to participate. I love how you love hunting, shooting, roping, dancing, wakeboarding, snow skiing, and a million other things. I love watching you play the guitar, and playing alongside Younger Son and ThatManILove. I love how you love Younger Son and That Man I Love. I love it when you play and sing one of your songs, and they join in, and vice versa. I love how music makes your world go round.
I love when we go on vacation that you’re content to chill with us with zero agenda but to all be together. I love that music flows through our family and is one of the ties that bind. I love how the four of us attend concerts together. I know the time we spend together is something precious; rest assured I never take it lightly.
I loved watching you at Christmas when you opened your annual trick package, saw how it was Mac software, and could say nothing but “Sh*t! Sh*t! Oh, Sh*t!”, knowing the MacBook had to be the next present. (It’s cool to see that no matter how old you get, you have never lost the ability to get excited. ) Then, when it’s “KnifeTime” and we break out the annual gift of knives to you and Younger Son, you immediately discern the hours of workmanship and excellence that someone put into making that knife. It’s a work of art, and you recognize and appreciate the art. Then, we get a different, more reverent type of “Oh, Sh*t!”
When ThatManILove and I got married, you were traveling all over Kingdom Come, rodeoing. When you got into town, you had horses and a underage girlfriend in tow...and due to circumstances beyond all of our control, combined with inclement weather, y'all ended up going on our honeymoon with us? And you and ThatManILove ended up staying at the Stockyards in your truck with the horses nearby in pens, while your girlfriend and I occupied the honeymoon suite? Yes. Just so you don't forget - I postponed my honeymoon for you, doofus. I love you.
You and I often trade high scores at the shooting range, but I suspect you let me win. (But if I find out that’s the truth, I will hurt you. Remember, I brought you into this world, I can certainly take you out.) I remember one time you said, when we were at a range, “Mom. This sucks. They have all these father-son shooting events…why don’t they have a mother-son shoot? You and I could so rock that!” The range owner has never forgotten that comment, and always brings it up. Each time, I’m reminded how blessed I am and how much I love you.
In more recent years, I’ve seen you gain much maturity. (I knew it would happen sometime!)
I can’t believe the years have passed and you’re nearing thirty years of age. I should be feeling old, but instead, I’m expectant and my heart soars when I think of you. I know this is only the beginning of your life, and there is more to come. If it’s anything like your past, it should prove to be good entertainment. I’m still as excited for you and your future as the day you were born. It has been my good fortune to come to know you, and I know it. Thank you for that.
Happy Birthday, Elder Son. I love you more!