I didn't get this posted yesterday as I wanted to, so a day late I will announce it was my youngest son's 24th birthday. He is the car racer in the family. With Brad's help, we've gotten a new site set up for his racing over here, but it's still a bit under construction so please keep that in mind.
This kid (yes, although he is a man, he will always be a "kid" to me) has been racing in one form or another ever since he was born. As the youngest of four, he was the last to speak – (who has to speak when you can just grunt or point to something and three siblings will jump to do your bidding?) – yet he was very active physically from the get-go. Always impressive with his hand skills, he was able at an extremely young age to not only escape his crib, then playpen, but would take down the baby-gate and put it back up, leaving me with no clue he was out roaming the house in the middle of the night. (Can you say, yikes?!?)
Sometime in his teens he got the racing bug. He started off in the class "cruiser" cars – old junkers that had a two-man crew. One would steer and one would run the footfeed. Entertaining to watch, to say the least, but not very safe. Through the years he's moved up from one class to another, always being successful in every class he tried.
As a mom, I find it difficult to watch the races. My imagination is a bit too vivid and my heart a bit too easily bruised. I told him from the beginning that I probably wouldn't be at many races as if something did happen accident-wise, I'd be an embarrassing basket-case although he would probably barely have a scratch. Hubs goes to every race as I wait by the phone for the call that says "the car is on the trailer"… and how he did. What broke or didn't break, how well the car handled, and how he finished in placement. A win would indicate a late night as they celebrated with fellow racers and friends at the track, and a breakdown would be days of grumpy males grouching around until the problem could be fixed.
In all cases, my son would take it in stride. I am so proud of him. Although he farms with Hubs, he's really found his niche with racing. He's earned so much respect from his peers and has fans too numerous to count. I know his dream is someday to be able to make his living racing, and with his talents I could see it happening.
I've watched him grow from a small, shy kid to a very tall (tallest in the family), out-going, loving, sweet and caring man. He's an animal nut, like his parents, and between him and his fiance' he has several critters that he already treats like children. A wedding date has been set for next February, but it will just be making "official" the life he's already living. As a human being, he's so loving and considerate of his family and friends and he does it without a second thought. One of those things I think about when Amy talks about her small children and how they interact. Although my kids didn't always get along when they were younger, they seem to be very good friends now.
At the track, he treats everyone as an equal, whether they young or old or at the bottom of rankings. He gets along with the consistant winners but will help the losers with advice when asked. He's as good a mechanic as he is a driver and much of his success can be directly related to his keen eye and ability to find problems before they become bigger problems.
When he wins, he is as generous a winner as he can be a gracious loser. Time after time as he's stood in the winners' circle to have his picture taken, he's encouraged kids who want to have their pictures taken with the 'winner' to "come on in"… giving them a piece of himself. To him, that's what it's all about.
I'm probably getting sickening about now… but for those of you who are still reading, thanks for sticking in here. yeah, I love my kids, all of 'em… they all have a special place in my heart. This one will for all intents and purposes always be "the baby"… the last one. All grown up now. Love ya, honey.