Portrait by Garland Robinette ROBINETTESTUDIOS.COM
My grandson, Thomas Ryan Crosby, is graduating today! I have such mixed emotions. I look at this handsome young man now twenty two years old ready to graduate and tackle this great big world. He is planning to set it on fire! This is true because not only is he smart but he is also driven to succeed.
He was born on August 14, 1995. I remember the mornings I rocked him and gave him a bottle so his tired parents could get a few more hours of much needed sleep. He was a restless baby ready for life to happen even then. When he started walking, he was such an inquisitive child and fascinated with the outside world as he picked up every little thing to example it.
Do you remember the song “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile” from the movie Annie? Well this was Ryan with his freckles and perpetual smile. Garland Robinette’s portrait of Ryan truly captured his essences.
Oh that face; I never left without a kiss that I hoped would last forever. So you see, my heart doesn’t want to leave that little boy behind. However, I am proud of him today, as I have always been throughout his life. I am proud for all that he is and for all that he has accomplished.
Ryan attended Camp Carolina in Brevard, North Carolina that was known for the development of boys in leadership skills, character, and respect. Ryan loved competing in the traditional Olympics ceremony at he end of camp each year. He painted his faces blue to compete against the Red team during the games. At the end of each summer, the campers part took in a ceremonial branding of the “the Old Man of the Mountain Paddle”. The brands on the campers’ paddles represented their great achievements during camp.
Ryan was especially proud that he received two brands on his “Old Man of the Mountain paddle” his last year at camp. The brands on the paddle were a sign of his quest for excellence. Even as a young boy he continued to accomplish this in his life.
Ryan attended Mandeville High School where he loved science projects, playing on the soccer team, and smart pretty girls.
Portrait of Ryan by Gunner Dongieux
Ryan spent his high school summers discovering what he wanted to major in when he would attend college. He took summer courses at the Stennis Space Camp and an Architecture course at LSU. He began concentrating on engineering as he attended summer camps at Boston University, North Carolina State, and the Air Force Academy. When it was time to make his college decision, Ryan decided to attend Denver University to study Mechanical Engineering.
Four years later June 9th, we watched his graduation ceremony with over 2,000 graduates. Tim Schultz received an honorary degree for his distinguished career in state and local government. Mr. Schultz gave a wonderful commencement address to the graduates about the importance of public service. He challenged the graduates to “create your life map.”
From left to right: Katy, Jete’, Tommy, and Charlie
The sweetest moment was when Ryan accepted his diploma with that spontaneous smile! The smile said it all, “here I come world. I’m ready to create my life map!”
Ryan giving us thumbs up!
We had such a wonderful time in Denver being with Ryan and his four best friends. Tommy and Jete’ hosted dinners in the wonderful home they rented in the historic Denver Country Club neighborhood. We enjoyed getting to know everyone, sharing stories about families and learning about the plans these young men have for their future.
Ryan’s best friends! From left to right:
Josh. He is from Chicago, Illinois and will be going home and setting up his own property management company specializing in restaurant and apartment management.
Warren. He is from Williamstown, Massachusetts and will be going to graduate school in Mechanical Engineering. He is hoping to become a punter on a college team.
Ben. He is from Sun Valley, Idaho interviewing for a job in renewable energy finance.
Ryan. My grandson is interviewing for a job in Mechanical Engineering specializing in the medical device field.
Our home in Denver is a Victorian Manson steeped in history. This home was designated a historic landmark in 1997, and I would call it a historic masterpiece that oozes charm. It has transferred ownership only four times in 134 years dating back to the well known Brown family who built the home in 1883.
This is what I called my “princess room!” The room is wrapped in windows that brings in the beauty of the trees and gardens. I slept in bliss all night long surrounded with dawn pillows and covered by a down comforter. I wanted to take this room home with me!
Saying goodbye to Denver after such a beautiful trip filled with new friends, old friends, and so much loving togetherness with family will be hard to do.
I’ll end this story with my lesson. Living well (at any age) is only possible with love in your heart!
My daughter Jete’ and my son-in-law Tommy are the perfect example of “living well.” Jete’ and Tommy are always so willing to share their time, talents, and all that they have with family and friends.
They have spent their lifetime showing the way and creating opportunities for their children. They have built a strong family; this is only possible with love.