Nina: hmm...I've been gathering strength from memories of your brother's childhood.
Erin: Well, look how the Lord provides for each of us individually!
Ryan's early childhood is the stuff legends are made of. Get his mom, Joyce, started and the tales strike fear into every young parents heart. No car seat could restrain this child. Here's the great part - I remember. Erin and I have been friends since we were three. Ryan and my sister Ruthie have been friends since they started kindergarten. Ryan married Ruthie's best friend Kristen. We all grew up in this funny little world involving a Christian school, lots of commutes down I-64 and a place called Hilltop. These are the ties that bind.
All of my memories of Ryan at a very young age involve him being in some sort of enclosure: a crib, a playpen, a makeshift barricade. He was a danger to himself and society. This was clear. But here's what's amazing: it didn't last. I feel like Ryan has been the wonderful life of the party we now know since he was at least...eight? Whatever that was that dominated his earliest years has no bearing on him now. He took the energy, the creativity, the love and he left the animal behind.
And on a certain long afternoon last week, it was this realization that gave me hope. Large heapings of hope.