Sunday, September 17, 2017

My Oldest Son Reaches The Mid-Century Mark

My oldest son reached the mid-century mark today.*



How can that be?

That would mean that fifty, yes, fifty, as in 50, years ago today, I became a mom.

More importantly, Ryan, my 
firstborn child
firstborn son,
entered this world on a beautiful Sunday early afternoon in September,
fifty years ago today.

Ryan on his wedding day

This mother’s heart has stayed young and does not count the years when she thinks of her children.

Is that because children, even after they are grown, keep one’s heart young?

Ryan and Mom
I had no idea when I first met my firstborn that his life would expand my world so much.  From his earliest days, he was such a delight to me. That first year of his life was a year when I had the opportunity to bond deeply with him.  His father began college on the day I brought Ryan home from the hospital, and Ryan's father worked a full-time job at night also.  That meant that Ryan and I spent many hours alone, but what delight filled hours they were for me. In those early years,  many evenings were spent with mom pushing Ryan in his stroller for long walks exploring the neighborhoods near the basement apartment where we lived.  Often when he was a little older we would end up in a park where Ryan loved playing on the playground equipment.

Then, there was the day when my son got his first set of wheels.

His life, and mine, changed that day.  
He now had a vehicle where he could explore the big wide world out there on his own.

Honestly, I was a protective, almost over-protective mom to my very core.  Once Ryan had wheels, this protective mom learned she could never keep up with Ryan and his next adventure.  He was off and running.  Somehow, he’d be out of the house and on his bike before I’d discover he was gone, and I had no idea where to start looking for him.  At the age of three, he was seen riding his tricycle down the middle of a busy street as if he owned the road while I was looking for him somewhere else close to home.  He’d decided he wanted to go to the grocery store where I’d wheeled him in his stroller, or driven him to by car, by himself.  Thankfully, someone saw him, and brought him home just before he crossed one of the busiest intersections in town on his little blue tricycle.  I should have known then that adventure and exploration would be a foreshadowing of his life.  

Somehow, he survived riding dirt bikes that weren’t really dirt bikes, in places where his mother did not want him riding.  Somehow, he survived the driving the hot red sports car that got when he was 18, the little Mazda sports cars that he had through his thirties and forties.  He loves his wheels, and I always love when he takes me for a spin in one of his sports cars.  It is a thrill, but honestly, I also hang on and close my eyes, and sometimes, ok, always, say, “Ryan, please be careful.”  Mostly, though, I just try to hang on and enjoy the ride.  This has been a metaphor for my life with my firstborn son.
Ryan in his biking attire before a big race

Ryan (top left) and & team on LOTOJA Race 2007

On his fortieth birthday, he rode his bike on the challenging LOTOJA Race.  It is a 200+ mile race from Logan, Utah to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. 

For his fiftieth birthday, he got his favorite thing: wheels, an new truck.  I haven’t seen it yet, but he now has the ultimate truck where he can throw in all the kids, the camping equipment, the bikes, or the skis and take off on another grand adventure.  He tells me he loves his new truck.  I'm sure he does.


Ryan learned to read at the age of four.  He seemingly taught himself.  I read to him from his earliest days.  I’d just begun but had not completed teacher training to be an elementary school teacher when I married Ryan’s father a year and a month before Ryan was born, so I was eager to teach my son all the skills I’d learned about reading.  I had little plastic letters on the fridge.  We’d practice sounds and letters.  I’d point out the words on the page.  Then, one day, Ryan started reading.  I thought he’d memorized the book, so I took him to the library and asked where I could find the first grade readers.  I took one off the shelf, sat down with my curly headed four-year-old, and asked if he knew what the book said.  He did.  He started reading from it. Frankly, I was shocked.  He'd broken the code for reading, and now another great passport for his future life was in his hands: reading and learning.  

School was not his favorite thing.  He was a peer leader socially, but not academically, yet those early leaning towards learning and growing have served him well as he progressed and grown in the world of finance.  His social skills, his love of people, his gift of gab, have also served him well.  He has already had a very successful career as a banker. 
Ryan with Zion's Bank, his employer for many years, in the background

My handsome son after a long day of work at the bank

Ryan in his banking days

Now, in his fiftieth year, he is in the finance industry in an entirely new way.  I don’t even understand his new job, but he does, and that is what counts.  He has been on the ground floor in developing a program for the lending industry.  It has been an exciting, fulfilling time for him as he has worked in the development of and the marketing of this new financial tool that lenders throughout the country will be using.  Best of all, he says he no longer has to wear and suit, and in his fiftieth year, he has let his hair grow long and grown a beard.  He doesn’t look like a banker anymore.


One picture of Ryan that I carry around in my head as one of my happiest memories is the one when he burst out of a hospital delivery room with his first-born son in his arms to present my first-born grandchild and grandson to me.  The look on his face was priceless.  It seemed to say, “Mom, look what I did.”  He was so proud and so happy.  I tear up every time I remember it.  Ryan is a great dad.  He loves being a dad, and his kids love having them as their father.  

Ryan with his three children
Regan, Parker & Bridger

Christmas morning 2010
Ryan with Parker and Regan


Ryan cooking breakfast for mom in her kitchen while wearing her apron.
May 2011
Somewhere along the line, Ryan learned that he loved to cook.  Was it when he took cooking in junior high?  Was it when he was scouting?  I don’t know when he first started loving to cook, but he does love to cook, and he is a great cook.  I remember him walking in the door from a ten-hour day of banking, after a commute of two hours a day added on, and begin rolling up his sleeves as he walked in the door ready to fix dinner for the kids.  He says cooking relaxes him.  It also brings out his creative nature.  In his fiftieth year, he loves cooking for the kids, the family, for friends, or just with his wife whenever he gets the chance.

Ryan creating the ultimate Thanksgiving dinner with Sheridan
November 2015


Ryan met Sheridan the love of his life six years ago.  

Together, they have worked at building a family, a blended family, and a future that is filled with much love.  They have bought and built a family business that his wife Sheridan began with her sister many years before Ryan entered the picture.  Now in his fiftieth year, he and Sheridan manage a family owned boutique, (mostly Sheridan does this job these days), and he also works long hours with his financial software business job.  These two work long, hard hours, but they do it together.

The "Mordiansens" a blended family
Parker, Regan, Max, Bridger, Henry, Sheridan, and Ryan

They also parent together so well.  It warms this mother’s heart to see how they are such great parenting partners.  

How could a young mom all those years ago have ever known the way that small son she first held would bring so much richness into her life?  As I told my husband today, I love having sons.  I’m also so grateful that I have daughters.   There is a special part in a mom’s heart for her first-born son.  He is the one that introduces her to the memorable ride of being a mom. What a ride it has been.  

Photos of mother and son from 2007 to 2017 are below.

Ryan & Sally
July 2016
Thank you, Ryan for gifting my life for the past half century. (How can it have been that long?)  You have so exceeded every desire I ever had for you when you were a child.  I never even would have imagined the path your life has taken. Perhaps one of the earliest milestones you reached was becoming an Eagle Scout.  When I think of you, I can’t help but think of the Eagle Scout character traits that you portray in so well in your life.  The words loyal, trustworthy, friendly, helpful come to mind.  You learned early to love the outdoors and survive in it.  That transferred over to living successfully in any environment where you found yourself.  You learned to set goals and reach them.  You learned leadership, and you have lead well.  You learned to love adventure, hiking, biking, skiing, and hiking. You keep on doing that every chance you get.  You make my day every time I hear your voice, and when you hang up the phone, you always say, "I love you, Ma."  You have been a wonderful son, brother, husband, father, friend, and business man.  You have made me proud.  I hope the coming decade brings you continued success in all that you do.  

Given your genetic makeup, you most likely have at least another fifty years of living, loving, and laughing ahead of you.  Enjoy it.  I love you.

* My photo program froze as I was writing this post, so I couldn't access many of the photos I had hoped to share in this post.  

** The formatting on this post is mixed up and crazy, but if I try to change it, it will take me until Ryan is another year older.  


  1. Happy birthday, Ryan! You wrote a lovely post to honor his big birthday, Sally. Thank you so much for sharing your fine son with me. :-)

  2. loving tribute to a great son. i too have a son now first of four sons that introduced me to motherhood. he's an eagle scout too and now a father of a 13 year old. by how time!

  3. Frozen or not, the post is perfection. The love you have for such a wonderful son comes shining through. Happy Birthday, Ryan.

  4. My oldest child, my oldest son will be 40 next year and I identify with your post so much. I,too, was a fulltime mom for the first 6 years of my son's life and life with him was such an adventure. Going back to school part time for a teaching degree when he was in first grade was a scary but exciting time with him. He has, just as your son has, made me so proud of the man he has become. Thank you for sharing such wonderful memories of your oldest son and giving me the spark to revel in mine of my son.

  5. This is truly one of the most beautiful and loving posts/tributes I have ever read. Your Ryan sounds like an amazing man. (I almost said amazing young man... I suppose to me he is!). I can understand why you are so proud and thank you for sharing these beautiful memories of him.

  6. Oh my goodness, this really hit home for me as my oldest son will be 32 years old in a few days ! How can it be when I remember so clearly his infancy and childhood? It seems like it went by in the twinkling of an eye.

    Your tribute to your son is beautiful and it is obvious that you are very proud of him, thank you for sharing.

  7. new to your blog, and I am impressed. What an amazing tribute to your son!

  8. Hi Sally,
    Happy birthday to your wonderful Ryan. It is truly amazing how quickly time passes, isn't it? I'm afraid life is intruding on me too. I haven't been able to blog visit for quite a while since our two trips to the mainland and then to Japan this past month. I've also got another visit to Maryland lined up because our son is having another son. Gracious! I hope 2018 will slow down a bit for my aging bones (mind?).

  9. Dear Sally, how wonderful to return to blogging and find a posting of yours that is filled with such love for your son. He sounds like a fine human being and you have done an admirable job in raising him and letting his enjoy the freedom he sought. Letting go, I think, is one of the best ways of holding on. I, too, hope that the next decade of your son's life is filled with many, many opportunities for continued growth of his spirit. Peace.


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