Happy Birthday to the First Tater Tot

I’m sure my kids would love that I refer to them as tater tots even though they are both adults. Good thing I know that neither one of them will ever actually read my blog. There’s a pretty good chance they aren’t even aware it even exists. So, I guess I can say whatever I want about them since they will likely never know. Good thing for them I will only say good things.

My son is 23 today. It is another birthday of one of my kids when I won’t see them on the actual day. All four of us work today and he lives and works 30-45 minutes away from our house. It’s not so easy to do the birthday celebration on the actual day anymore. He will come home on Saturday and we will go out to lunch at the same place we’ve gone for his birthday for at least the last ten years. My kids are very traditional.

I’m having trouble deciding where to start writing about him. I will start with a story from a vacation that told me what kind of person he was. We were at the Grand Canyon and on a bus. We were all sitting separate from each other, but we all had seats. The bus stopped a few more times and picked up more people. When the bus stopped, an older woman came over and asked us if he was our son and then told us how impressed she was that he immediately got up and offered his seat to her with no prompting from anyone and that we should be proud that he would do that even though we weren’t watching. It’s good to know that even then he was doing the right thing on his own and not because we were there to tell him to.

In addition to being the type of person above, he has also shown perseverance and a willingness to work and be self-sufficient.

Perseverance – When all of the joy was sucked out of baseball by adults and he headed to high school, he still wanted to do something active, so he tried out for track and cross country. He ran for a few years and then stopped when he had to make a choice between the team and a job. He didn’t just quit being active, though. When cross country wasn’t going to work out, he and his friends started an ultimate frisbee team at the school and played in tournaments around the area. he could have easily just quit sports, but he kept going and is still playing ultimate today. When he got to college he realized pretty quickly that his declared major wasn’t right for him. He tried pre-med and that wasn’t the right fit either. He went to the people there who help people figure out the right track and landed on wildlife and ecology and never looked back. He got an internship for the summer and did research that he just presented at a poster session at a conference. He is in a year-long fellowship at a place he loves and just graduated in December. He is a great example of never giving up.

Self-sufficient – As soon as he was able he got his driver’s license and started looking for a job. He has worked ever since. He stayed at the same place, but a different location when he went to college. He worked the desk at a dorm for a couple of years(and has a plaque recognizing his outstanding work there). He worked for a place that does animal education classes. I need to learn how he always gets the job when he interviews. He moved out of the dorms after a couple of years and into a house with friends. All of the original people are gone, but he is still there working to find new roommates as others move away. It would be easier for him to move back home for a while, but he is determined not to do that.

The one lesson I think we could all learn from his life so far is not to settle for what is easy and convenient. Keep working and learning to find what is the right track for you. I’m very proud of the person he has become.

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