Baby Ryker Douglas Mask arrived on 12/12/12. His parents, Julie (pictured above) and Rusty Mask, said they were excited that he was born in time for Christmas. Ryker is the baby brother of their 22-month-old daughter Rorie. | Alison James

Archived Story

Once in a lifetime

Published 11:48am Thursday, December 20, 2012

One Dadeville newborn can boast a very special birthday – a once in a century birthday.

Ryker Douglas Mask arrived on Dec. 12 – 12/12/12.

“He was supposed to have come on Christmas Eve,” said mother Julie Mask.

Having him early was a welcome surprise, Mask said, although the realization of how special a “12/12/12” birthday would be didn’t hit until later.

“It was not really anything that I was even thinking about,” Mask said. “I was just glad he was coming. With his original due date on Christmas Eve, we were excited, but we wanted to be able to home for Christmas.”

Julie and Rusty Mask now have two children – their 22-month-old daughter Rorie is excited to be a big sister, Julie said.

“She likes to give him kisses, and they’re very sweet and soft kisses – nothing too rough,” Julie said.

Rusty said the important thing is that everyone is happy and healthy.

“We couldn’t ask for it to be any better,” Rusty said. “We’re very excited.”

Ryker was born 7 pounds, 3 ounces and 22 inches long at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika. His first name is one the Masks had kept in mind ever since they were expecting their first child, and his middle name was handed down.

“His father is Russell Douglas and his grandfather is Ronald Douglas, and so we kept the middle name and wanted the first name to still have an ‘R,’” Julie said.

Ryker was an instant celebrity, with WTVM visiting the hospital to help welcome him to the world.

“It was something that the public relations person at East Alabama had coordinated,” Julie said. “So they were excited.”

Julie teaches history at the high school and will return to teaching in about six weeks. That’s when Ryker will start spending his days with his grandmother.

“We kept Rorie for about 15 months and got her off to a good start,” said Emma Mask. “I can come over here, and he doesn’t have to get up and be dragged out in the cold.

“These are our only grandchildren, so of course we’re just thrilled.”