Allow me to introduce two new adults to the world. My son’s turn 18 today. I am so very proud of both of them.


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It seems like only yesterday. I was in training in Toronto Canada. Back before the day’s of easy cell phones (you turned them off internationally because it cost a ton and it was 1997, so they weren’t as good then as they are now). Barb actually left messages for me at the Microsoft office and my hotel. She never did that. I figured something was really wrong and called her the minute class was done. She asked me if I was sitting down. I wasn’t but said I was. I would regret that. “We are having twins.” she said. I dropped the phone and hit my knees (that hurt). It was the most fantastic beginning to a journey. Today that announced bundle that was to bring joy, happiness and wonder to our lives both turn 18. They arrived on my father’s birthday. He would have loved to see this, his twins turning 18. The image, first one, is of their 3rd birthday and dad’s 66th. Interesting Andersen/Misner/Ooley family trivia – all male grandchildren of my parents were born in March. The boys to quote the Harry Chapin arrived to the world in the usual way. Well it wasn’t the usual way. It was a difficult pregnancy. For a time we were convinced the boys were in utereo suffering from Twin to Twin Transfusion syndrome. That meant we had a number of sleepless nights and lots of really scary doctors appointments. The Doctor put Barb on bed rest around week 14 and she wasn’t released from bed rest until after week 33 when the boys were born.

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Here they are in 2005 – again their birthday. Their favorite activity when they were little (ages 3 to 5) was to wait until I fell asleep and then jump on me. It got worse as they got older.

My favorite young boys story is when they were having developmental therapy (they were 7 weeks premature). The physical therapist came to our home and asked Barb “do they have difficulty walking or with balance?” At that exact moment Nick was 1/2 way up the staircase, the outside of the staircase. Not the normal stairs but the actual 2 inch section of stairs that stuck out. Barb said “no.”

As 3rd graders they were the top readers in the Center Grove School system. They were tied, and were the top two 3rd grade readers in the entire system. They love to read!

Funny story – my family has a tradition of naming sons with a middle initial 0. My father’s middle name was Oliver. Lukas has that middle name. But, we were able to get around the tradition and name Nick after Barb’s dad Les. His middle name was Otto. A happy coincidence but one that makes me smile to this day. We honored both fathers and kept the family tradition alive.

They were born in Cincinnati Ohio, Barb and my 3rd Buckeye contribution to the world (Jakki was also born in Cincinnati). Jakki decided when the boys were born that she was going to be the best big sister ever. If you ask the boys, they will tell you she was successful. The three are extremely close and she helps them deal and adjust with high school.

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Swimming was a big part of their early years (we had a pool from the time they were 1 years old until they time they were 13). We still have a neighborhood pool, but now they go but don’t swim. Imagine teenagers being contrary.

The thing that I love the most is the many wonderful conversations we have now while walking. We have deep discussions around the mythos of Star Wars (they are much deeper than I am there). The boys started convincing me that I would like the movie Deadpool in December. They kept talking about how much I would like it. They were right. It was a huge transition, in the past I usually choose the movies that we went to. This was the first one that I wasn’t aware of (never read the Deadpool comics) and the boys convinced me to go. It was a really good experience to have them convince me.

Lately we have been talking politics. Not me influencing them, but hearing where they are and what they are thinking. The mud being slung by both parties right now upsets them. But they got their Maryland voters packets last week. They can vote, and have a voice in this election.

There are so many more stories I can share of the last 18 years. Fragments and moments that came and went. Events we enjoyed and those we hated. Movies, trips and tears all coming and going in the past 18 years. It has been the most amazing journey. I can’t imagine nor do I want to even think of what the world would be like without the boys. Raven would be sad. Her boys mean the world to her. They mean the world to their mother (Barb) as well. Me? I am so proud of the men they have become. I am proud of the people they are and have become. I see a lot of Barb in them. I see a lot of my dad and mom in them. Sometimes when Luke turns to the side, I see my grandfather in him. I see a lot of Jakki in their two awful senses of humor. I see a lot of Barb and Jakki in the way the view and care about the world. I do see myself in them from time to time as well.

I am so proud of you boys. Happy Birthday! 18.

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Proud Father

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