If you're interested in more details about the give-aways I'm doing, go here.
But if you want to see some pictures of the birthday boy (Ross turned 20 today.) then you came to the right place...
When you have a kid while you're still a kid yourself (I was 19 when I had Ross.) you kind of grow-up together.
You struggle together. You mature together. You make it through mistakes together. You cry together. You discover things together...You learn about life together.
And I'm sure the child of a single, teenage mom grows up to become someone different than they might have become had they been born into a stable environment with two, mature parents. Maybe they become someone worse. Maybe in some ways they become someone better. Or maybe they just become someone different.
But the teenage mom grows up to become someone quite different than she might have been too.
And as hard as it was Ross, I remember lots of wonderful things too - back in what you refer to as 'The good ole' days' when it was just you and me.
I remember laying next to you in bed at night, doing our regular "Tell me one thing that makes you happy." alternated with "Tell me one thing that makes you sad." routine and being amazed by the things you said.
I remember going to the $1.00 movies with you every single Tuesday night in Columbia City.
I remember how excited you used to get when I told you I was tired and that we were having dinner at 7-11. (A corn dog and an orange soda for you and a nacho and a Coke for me.)
I remember Ross-Day.
I remember dancing time and time again with you to this song.
I remember watching you out the window when you were six and decided to run away from home and how you got to the edge of the sidewalk before realizing that you weren't able to cross the street by yourself so you looked around for a few minutes, spotted a blackberry bush and brought home a handful of blackberries as a peace offering to me.
I remember looking forward to long rides in the car with you (whether you were 5 or 15) because that's when we always had our best talks.
And I remember the prayer that I said on the first night you came home from the hospital. I was sitting on my knees next to the bed you were laying on in that tiny little apartment on Jackson street and I said, "Dear Heavenly Father, please bless this baby boy. Please keep him safe and happy and growing in your love." And then I just sat there in silence, watching you breathe, feeling amazed and overwhelmed and scared and happy that you were mine - and then I said "Amen."
And I said that exact same prayer every night - probably until you were a teenager.
I don't think I ever told you that.
And as sorry as I am that I didn't bring you into this world when I was older and wiser and could offer you more stability, I think something kind of wonderful came out of that struggle.
And I quite like how you turned out.
And I kind of even like how I turned out too.
So thank you for that Ross. Thank you for making me into something that I could have never been without you.
Happy Birthday baby.