Happy Birthday to Riley!

Fourteen years ago this morning -- at 5:24, to be exact -- a VERY large Riley came screaming his way into this world. And he didn't stop screaming for a few years.

Nine pounds, 2 ounces. If you have ever seen me in person -- I am not a large woman, nor am I married to a large man. Nine pounds. We told people for a while that I quit having babies because they were getting 2 pounds bigger every time. The reality is we quit having babies because this one was so very screamy and grouchy there was no way we were rolling that dice again.

We found out that he had a physical reason for his grouchiness -- all manor of gut troubles. Once we got him somewhat squared away and fixed up we also found out there was a little bit of a personality reason for his grouchiness. He was a wee bit strong-willed.

Once we got THAT squared away, and established that, yes, the tall people really were going to be in charge of the house, then he actually was an enjoyable and funny little guy. Even in the hardest of days with him, the sudden bright spots of his insightful questions and love with reckless abandon brought joy to my soul.

We moved to Abilene shortly before he turned 4. The next year, he was in pre-school 2 days a week, our house had flooded (and we were trying to rebuild, not living at home, etc.). It was a dark time in my life -- and he was such a bright spot. We spent many hours "hanging out" together, running errands for the reconstruction of the house, shopping, etc. He was an early reader, so I would just be sure he had a book to read, throw it and him in the back of the car, and off we would go.

Riley is still an avid reader and, like his daddy, loves all manor of trivia. I keep threatening to write down every time he says, "Hey, Mom, did you know...?" so that I can have a book full of Riley's Random Facts. Most of the time I did not know. He can kind of wear me out.

More than that. He makes me laugh. The child has a wit. Not going to lie -- it's from my family, but it is all my brother. How does one end up with their sibling's child? I don't know, but somehow my son is the spitting image AND personality of my brother. And I'm so thankful.

The first child makes you a parent. The second child makes all of you a family. Riley completed our little family and I can't imagine my life without him.

Riley, I love being your mom. You make me laugh and think every day. More than all of the wonderful things you are, you have a heart for the Lord and His children. You bless and inspire me by how you treat the least of these. You are a joy.

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