Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Day Late, Though He Was Right on Time

Our dear friends from Texas have a son who was married Saturday at Grand Targhee in Wyoming. We went up the Wednesday before so that we could take part in some of the pre-wedding activities. Following the wedding, my hubby and I hopped on our Harley's and cruised through Yellowstone, Jackson Hole, over to Flaming Gorge, then home yesterday, July 24th. Throughout our time we had very little internet access, and when we did it was sporadic at best.

Why am I giving you all my boring vacation info? To explain why this post is a day late.

In Utah, July 24th is celebrated as Pioneer Day, the day when the pioneers first set foot in the valley in 1847. It's a pretty big deal, basically an extension of the 4th of July, celebrated with fireworks, family BBQ's, rodeos, a big parade held in Salt Lake, and other things of that nature.

I celebrated it in 1989 by giving birth to my second son (and second child) Randy, right on his due date (the only one of my 4 kids to do that). We always joked with him that they have a parade each year in celebration of his birth. While the parade might not be held in his honor, the day has taken on a new meaning for me since he came along.

Randy was born funny. I don't mean his birth was funny, I mean the kid is funny. He has a quick wit, and can make anyone laugh with his one-liners. He has always gotten a great deal of joy out of making others laugh. I'm kind of surprised he didn't go into comedy in some way.

As a kid he was always really sensitive to others. He hated to see others hurt. I remember one time, when he was around 6 or 7, he was playing baseball. He hit the ball and ran to first base. He accidentally ran into the kid guarding the base, and rather than continue to the next base, he stopped and helped the kid up, asking him if he was okay. I'll never forget what a happy moment that was for me as a mom, to see his empathy for another.

When he was a senior in high school, he had long hair. Rather than just chop it off, he decided to grow it out long enough to donate to Locks of Love. I think he was the only boy who did so. It was a very cool thing for him to do.

Right out of high school, Randy joined the United States Air Force. For a patriotic mom who's always been grateful to those who serve in the armed forces, it was another prideful moment. He went to Texas for boot camp, where he had his butt soundly kicked by the officers. We went to his graduation and I was shocked to see my already skinny son had dropped 20 pounds he couldn't afford to lose. He worked really hard, and came out a better man.

Randy and his wife, Nikki
He trained in Texas, then Arkansas for his job as Crew Chief on the C-130. Six months after his graduation from boot camp, Randy and his wife, Nikki, were shipped to Germany to serve at the Ramstein Air Force Base. That was three-and-a-half years ago. He's been there since, other than the time he volunteered to serve in Iraq, spending both Thanksgiving and Christmas there so that other men who had families wouldn't have to go. In spite of being on a base that was shot at or bombed daily, he went home safely, for which I'm extremely grateful.

I wasn't able to talk to him on his birthday this year because he's being relocated to New Hampshire, still a long way from home, but at least on American soil where I can drive to see him if need be. No chance of driving to Germany from here, though we did get to fly over a few years ago and see him.

So to my son, my soldier, Randy, I say happy, happy birthday! I love you, miss you, and hope that I can see you soon.


  1. Wonderful post!! Happy Birthday to your son! And I just want to say, Thank you to him for serving in our military! Glad to hear he came back safely. He sounds like an amazing person! :D

  2. Handsome kid. Happy Bday and thanks for your service!