Our son is turning 28 soon.
He was conceived when we were snowed in for five months during the worst winter "since the 30's" in New Mexico. We lived 9 miles from where the snowplow stopped, literally on the Continental Divide on a beautiful, old ranch.
He was born in the Indian Capital of the World. We were by then working on a little ranch 40 miles south, where we were provided housing, a single-wide trailer set up on cinder blocks in a hidden canyon. We had electricity and water, but not much money. His father made $300 a month, working from the time in the mornings before the sun came up and he was milking the boss's cow until the dark of night when the cow needed milking again. I was hugely pregnant and waddled around the ranch visiting his father where I could.
One morning, I was washing out our clothes by hand, and hanging them outside to dry on the lariat rope we'd stretched between the trailer house and a pinon tree. Mostly, the line held heavy work jeans, dripping wet and already frozen in the November chill. I suddenly felt my water break, and so I finished hanging up the clothes, then walked down the hill to the "Cowboy Stopover," a local, convenience-type store that had a payphone. I called my doctor 40 miles away, and he said to shake a leg and get in to the hospital.
I trudged back up the hill to where my husband was up high on the roof of a new barn he was building and told him he needed to quit and come down and take me to the hospital. Then, I walked back back down a different dirt road to our trailer, my hips slipping out of place as I took each step.
He came home and collected me and my little suitcase, we drove the pickup down to our boss's saddle shop, to let him know that we would be gone and why. He asked, "Do you really have to go now? How long will you be gone?" My husband told him to take a flying leap (actually, I'm sure a much more obscene phrase was directed the boss's way) and we drove on in to Gallup, the town in which we'd been married eight years earlier.
28 years ago. Now, our son has recently married and his life seems really good. They have their struggles, but God has answered my prayers and given him a good life partner, and he has work, and they do a lot of fun things together.
I think it's so important for people to have what I call, "Yahoo Fun." I've called it that for years. And from what I hear from my son, they are doing that, out on boats and ATVs in the dunes. This lovely woman has brought him that.
To us, he's still our boy. How do you get out of the habit of thinking of him that way, when you've done it for 28 years? When his happiness is still first and foremost in your minds even though you are a thousand miles away? We don't try to change that thinking. We believe it's a good thing.
So, what to give this kid for his birthday? All we could come up with at first was a simple check so they could all go out to dinner. But my husband had a brilliant thought yesterday morning. He suggested we find a remote-control boat, for the whole family to enjoy out on the lake when they are out there boating. Or, if the weather is too cold for boating, they can play with it from the shore. They live in California, where the weather is pretty nice through the winter.
I found one online that was perfect. A boat 3 feet long! And free shipping! How perfect this all turned out. I can see him opening it and saying, "Oh, cool!" He always appreciates gifts, no matter what they are. He has a 13 yr. old stepson now, and both he and his mom will find this a lot of fun, too.
And that parent of the little boy who was born in the Indian Capital of the World, who grew up on ranches and played out in the hills and rode a small motorcycle when he was five along all the ranch roads, who started flying when he was 13 and owned his first plane when he was 16, who earned his commercial helicopter rating and became an FAA certified airplane mechanic...the parent of that little boy inside of us is well-satisfied, too.