Richard, my "baby", was born August 14, 1987 at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC. Like his sister, he's a rare bird - a native Washingtonian! In order to prevent his being born prematurely like his sister, I spent 3 months on bed rest. Fortunately, that worked and he was just a few days short of his due date. Rich's father was my second husband and is a brilliant man with few social skills. LIke his Dad, Rich is also quite brilliant but he has my more outgoing nature. At 6'2" (I'd swear he's really taller than that), he's a gentle giant who would rather go along and get along but also knows how to stand up for himself when necessary. I barely reach his shoulder and find it hard to believe that I once carried that man in my body.

He was such an independent child. Unlike his older sister who loved having me spend as much time as possible with her, all the time, Rich was telling me by age 5 that he'd let me know when he wanted me and to stay out of the way the rest of the time. Like his Dad, Rich can be a bit of a loner and didn't really enjoy spending time with groups. He preferred to have a few close friends or to do his own thing. He absolutely hated organized sports and only lasted one season on a soccer team. He enjoys all kinds of sports - he just wants to do things when he wants to and not have a schedule to follow. I wondered how he'd manage once he was grown and working. It's important to be a team player in most jobs.

Fortunately, at a friend's suggestion, Rich took EMT classes at college one summer and began volunteering with the Silver Spring Fire Department. It was the making of him. Who knew he had such a way with hurt, scared and injured people? Who knew that often self-centered little boy would become so caring of others that he frequently stops to help stranded people even when he's off the clock? The little boy who hated going to sports practices would become a young man who not only excelled at Martial Arts but actually taught classes when he had time. The dyslexic boy who hated to read went on to graduate from the University of Maryland and go on to work for the US government.

Perhaps it's the adversity that he went thru as a child that's contributed so much to the wonderful man he is today. Being exceptionally bright but dyslexic made it tough for him. He always knew the answers but couldn't always convey them. Finding Books on Tape was a god-send and with a few accomodations at school, Rich was soon mainstreamed into advanced placement classes. I'd worried that he end up driving a trash truck or something but he made his way through school and then college with less and less support from anyone. He truly amazes me with his varied interests: canoeing, kayaking, motor cycle riding, guns and ammo - anything military really - science fiction, history (his major), engineering (his minor), and working on motorcycles and cars, martial arts, rock climbing, camping, hunting and fishing .... the list goes on and on.

There is no one special in his life - he's got lots of girlfriends but no one has captured his heart enough to make a commitment as yet. At 26, he's got plenty of time for that. I still puddle when he calls me "Mommy". I know it means he wants something but it's so sweet to hear.

Photo is mine, taken by me. Meet more of #MyFamilyTree in my archives!