Monday, August 3, 2009

Happy 21st Birthday, Ross!

Twenty-one years ago at the exact minute that I'm publishing this post, I became a mom. I was 22, almost 23. Ross came into the world via C-section. He weighed 8 pounds 5 ounces and he was 21 inches long. I was happier than I ever imagined I could be.

He had a head full of black hair. I will never forget the first time I held him. He was all cleaned up and smelled deliciously of Mennen Baby Bath. Sometimes I'll take a smell of that baby bath and it always takes me back to the days my boys were babies. And being sore from the surgery, I remember he felt heavy.
We brought him home from the hospital and we quickly settled into a new and very good life. He was like a doll to me. I dressed him up and made his picture constantly. He was photographed more by the time he was six months old than I have been in my entire life. He wasn't a very good baby, though. He cried a lot. We learned lots of tricks, one specific one comes to mind. We'd put him in his car seat and sit him on top of the dryer with the dryer on. The humming of the dryer would lull him to sleep.
This is me the day we came home from the hospital.
After having only girls in my family, and with him being the first grandchild, he quickly became spoiled rotten. My sisters rarely let a day go by without stopping by my house to visit. He was their toy too. And my parents, oh, my goodness. Let's just say that he was the apple of lots of eyes. Especially my dad's. He gave him the nickname "Main Man." He still calls Ross that today. Those days were so special and so wonderful.
I always did my kids' birthdays big. My mama always had us girls big birthday parties, so it's just natural to me to do the same thing. I always invited all the family, then later when he started school, I invited all his friends. The year he turned five, I'm not exaggerating to say that he had at least 20 kids at his party.
Here is Ross on his very first birthday. Twenty years ago. Crystal is helping him blow out the candle. As you can see in the picture, Ross is reaching for the candle and she's telling him ooooh, it's hot. He's always been pretty fearless.
And here is my little hunter guy at his fourth birthday party at Auntie Theresa's house seventeen years ago. Even that young, he loved to hunt with my daddy and loved his toy guns. Notice the cap pistol in the holster around his waist.
Now, fast forward seventeen years. Here is me holding my baby now. He thought he might hurt my legs, but he'll never ever be too big for his mama to hold.
The little boy Ross is so much the same as the young man Ross. That insatiable curiosity. The love of spending money. Loving the outdoors and all animals. Sometimes it seems he can figure out the thoughts of the animals. It's really pretty amazing. And that smile. Oh, that smile.
So this morning at 8:27 a.m., my son became a man. He can now do all the things that men can do. And I'm so proud to tell all of you that what he's most excited about is not going to a bar for a beer or going to the store to buy alcohol. But he's excited that he can now carry a pistol. That might not make some moms proud, but it makes this mom very, very proud.
It really is so true that your children hold your hands a short while, but they hold your heart forever. He's sure got a strong hold on mine and he always will. So even as we celebrate his passage into adulthood, I still see him as my baby Ross. My firstborn. And my heart is so full of love and pride, it just may burst from the joy of it all. Much as it did twenty-one years ago.
Till tomorrow. Live. Love. Laugh.

12 comments:

STILLMAGNOLIA said...

Give Ross a Happy 21st from one of you blogging buddies. That was one of the sweetest posts I have ever read. Mine was maudlin today...so this one made me smile. And they never get to big for you lap. Kat still sits in mine occassionally...and she is almost 30.

Theresa said...

Oh I remember that day as if it were yesterday and my Mama being there on the day he was born:) Ross is such a fine young man and I am so proud of him! He will always love you and will always be your little boy no matter how big he is. He will not ever move far away when he gets out on his own because he is one of us:) Love you and enjoy the day!

Jill said...

Yeah I'd say he's grown up quite a bit.. lol
Happy Birthday ROSS!

Joyce said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROSS!!! Lots of birthday's today! Pray he has a day full of tons of laughter and family... and years ahead of the same!

Crystal said...

You know I can't help myself but to comment today! I have sooo many memories of my first nephew. I remember that I was in college and working at Revco and I could not wait for the day that he was born. I talked about it constantly at work. Do you remember that clown thing that I bought for him from Revco? I can't even remember what it was I just remember that I had to have it for him. I didn't think the day would ever come that he would be born and here it is 21 years later. He is such a fine young man and I too am so proud of him! You are so blessed that on this most important birthday for the majority of young men, you haven't a worry in the world because you have raised an outstanding man and you and Jeff have every right to be so very proud! HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAUCEY ROSSIE! I do love you very much!!!

suzanne said...

So.. another tear jerker for me! Could barely read it. Ross is an extremely fine young man and no matter what you do in life, you can be proud of the man he has become! I remember the joy we all felt when he was born. I know Mimi and Papa have since had five more grandsons and a granddaughter, but I'll tell ya, that first one is something special to us all!!!!!!!!!
Give Rossy a big hug from me, tell him I love him, and I forgive him for running over my shoes with his tricycle :0)

tracychele said...

Tell Ross Happy Birthday from all of us too! You can just say "The Parrishes"! It is a mouthful to separate them out! ;) I am sure you shed some tears typing this post! It was so sweet! You are a good Mom and he knows that and I am sure he tells you from time to time! Have a wonderful day with your young man! Love ya! BTW, he could be excited about carrying a pistol AND going out for a beer! Glass half full!! ;)

doublegranny said...

Tell Ross I said Happy Birthday!!!!!You are the best parents ever!!!!Love you all

Cindy Lou said...

Happy Birthday Ross!! I do so remember this day as if he was just born. Mama was so proud and excited to get to be there when he was born! I know how you feel about the decisions that they make although they may not be the best in some other eyes they could always be much worse!! :O) Always look at the possitive! Love you and you and Jeff have done a wonderful job raising those boys!!

nan kelly said...

oK...THAT MADE ME CRY. wHY DO YOUR POST DO THAT? you should write a book. you gots talent!

Kristi said...

OMG OMG OMG.. I'm glad I choose to not wear mascara today. I knew his birthday was this month, but I did not know he was turning 21!! Tell Ross Happy Birthday! Oh and next time we're out I'll buy him a drink!

50s Housewife said...

How sweet! Happy belated birthday to Ross!

I have a picture of myself on the day I brought my oldest son home from the hospital (he's now 23) sitting in a rocking chair that looked just like yours. I wonder what happened to that old thing?