Happy Birthday David Ray

David and Kyle
David and Kyle
Thirty five years ago, my son was born. I wasn’t there, in fact I didn’t meet him for another two years.

David is the son of my heart. For the years I was married to his dad, he was legally my step-son. After his dad and I split up, he called to tell me that he loved me, and I was still his mom. He is still my son.

I met him when he was two. White blond hair, extremely verbal, very precocious. He started to call me Mom, which bothered his mom Laurel. I don’t blame her a bit. David handled it by calling me Mom when he was with me, but if both of his moms were together he would call me Michelle when talking to Laurel, and use Laurel’s name when talking to me. Like I said, he was a smart kid.

He loved Star Wars. He had a problem pronouncing “L” and “Y” for a while. He was always “Uke” Skywalker and he wanted to wear the “Ellow” shirt. I still pronounce “Luke” and “Yellow” that way sometimes.

My mom told David that he was her “Number One Grandchild”. David started crying. “I don’t want to be Number One!”
Mom said, “but David, you are my oldest grandchild, that makes you Number One.”
“I don’t want to be Number One, I want to be Number Zero because Zero comes before One!”
Henceforth, mom always referred to him as “Ole Number Zero”.

There was a picnic table on the beach at Destin, Florida that David ran into every year. The story of that table and David’s affinity for it comes up every time we get together.

Destin is where a momentous occasion occurred.
It was our first visit as a family, David was two and a half. We went to a restaurant on the wharf, and to put it bluntly, he was being a holy terror. We put up with it for a while, and then finally Charles got up, took him by the hand and marched him outside.

A while later, David came down the aisle with his dad behind him. I could tell they had both been crying.
David climbed into his booster seat beside me, looked at me and said “Boy, Mom, wait until you have your first spanking!”
Charles had taken him out, spanked him, and then cried with him afterwards.
I reminisced with David just this week about that story.

We have had our ups and downs, David and I. He came to live with us when he was 13. Anyone with any experience with kids will tell you that the teenage years are not anything fun to go through, for the kid, or the parents.

There were battles over getting up in the morning. The solution of several alarm clocks around his room didn’t work because he would just put his pillow over his head and go back to sleep. Drove us nuts.

I had to bang on the bathroom door in the mornings because he would go to sleep in the bathtub.

It was a battle of wits and will. I remember telling him he had five chores to do because he could go out. He only got three done. And he said I didn’t tell him about the other three. Now I was pretty sure I had said five, but there was some doubt. So I let him go out with his friends.
Next weekend, I gave him a list. And I made him sign and date it.

And then there are all of the Christmas stories. Maybe they are so real because of all the pictures we have.

David and Kat would start checking the packages at Christmas, so they pretty much had all their gifts figured out by Christmas morning. I fixed that by putting numbers instead of names on the packages. And I wouldn’t tell them who had which number until they came downstairs Christmas morning.

Another Christmas I rustled everyone out of bed to open gifts. We noticed after the gifts were open that it was still dark. Which is when I realized the clock had read 3:30am instead of 5:30am. They all stumbled back to bed while I enjoyed the quiet of a Christmas morning and read the newspaper.

David’s little brother Joe spent Christmas with us one year.

David, Kat and Joe Christmas morning
David, Kat and Joe Christmas morning

David moved back to California when he was 17. We kept in touch by phone, with a few visits tossed in.

Christmas of 1999 David called to ask if he and some friends could stop over for Christmas on their way to Florida for the for the New Year’s 2000 Phish concert. Several young adult boys piled into a van in Oregon, with virtually no money, and made the cross country trek. What a cool adventure. We fed them well, packed a lot of left overs for the trip and sent them on their way in an epic ice storm.
He spent Christmas with us our first year in Colorado. Charles was here too, so Keely was in heaven. It was the first time any of us had seen David in four or five years. It was a good week. David and I went on some walks, talked about life and tried to solve all the problems of the world.
Christmas 2010
So many great Christmas memories.

David now is a dad. Kyle is two, and looks so much like David that it is spooky. And he is verbal and precocious just like his dad was at that age. So when David calls and tells me Kyle stories, I find myself remembering that little white blond boy. And telling those David stories to David.

David and Kyle
David and Kyle

So there is this full circle kind of thing going on. This Christmas, Steve, Keely and I are going to be joining Krista, David, Toby, Jake and Kyle for Christmas.
My little boy is now a man. A responsible adult, who goes to work and takes care of his boys. He calls me on my birthday and on Mother’s Day.

That little boy that insisted on calling me mom is someone I am proud to call my son.
Happy Birthday David. I love you.


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