When Your Son Has Become A Better Man Than You (Happy 42nd Birthday To My Son)

Ryan Cantrell family
When A Son Becomes A Husband and Father

He was born early on Sunday morning, August 17, 1980. In this part of the world, the summer of 1980 still remains historical for record-setting heat. His mom had a miserable summer. Our first child, like all firstborns, was highly anticipated. There was no gender reveal celebration in 1980. It was a better world. 😉

As a first-time dad, I only had two concerns: for my wife and this new child to both emerge healthy and well. In 1980 there was a popular skit on Saturday Night Live, The Coneheads. When I first saw him I knew he had to be the offspring of Beldar (Dan Aykroyd) and Prymaat (Jane Curtin) – not us. The doctor assured me in time his head would appear more normal. Along with his color. He was a red conehead, but I was so thankful he was according to the doctor “normal.” Turns out the doctor was incorrect. This kid wasn’t normal by any stretch. He was extraordinary.

He was full of energy, the kid who never had a bad day. He was more social than either of his parents, making us wonder about those original moments where he could have easily jettisoned to earth from the planet Remulak. But no, he’s ours. Or was, until he surrounded himself with a wife and three children of his own. Now he belongs to even more people. We’ve been proud to share him.

I’ve always watched him closely with admiration. Or frustration. But always with such deep love that transcends my ability of expression.

Proud is the word that best describes how I feel about him today – and every day. Proud because he’s become exactly what I had hoped and worked toward – a better man. And nothing is better for a son or a father, providing the father isn’t some piece of garage character who has set such a low bar that it’s not gonna be hard for a son to be better. That’s not the case with us. I’ve put in the work to be a good man. I hope I am a good man. But he’s better. And I’m happiest knowing that he’s put in the work necessary to be who he is. We just helped guide him on the journey.

Happy Birthday!

I love him. I love his family. I love his mom.

Randy Cantrell

P.S. Follow him on Tik Tok and you’ll see how awesome he is.

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