Well, another trip around the sun has taken place and here we are again. January 23 has arrived and with it the celebration of Jessica’s birth. This will be the fourth time I have done a birthday blog for my little girl, and I am not sure what I can say that I haven’t already said. Thankfully, not knowing what to say has never kept from saying something in the past, so here we go!
- She made me fall in love with her at first sight. I didn’t want a daughter, and we didn’t know what was coming, but I was certainly not looking for a little girl! You can imagine my surprise when I saw that slimy little girl for the first time and knew immediately I could not have been happier.
- She taught me the importance of discipline. When you are responsible for shaping the personality and character of a small human, it behooves you to pay attention to what is going on. As she grew and started to not “stay put” so much, we had to teach her proper behavior. Teaching that to her opened my eyes to how God is always doing the same thing with me.
- She taught me the importance of consistency. Whether it was a sleep schedule, feeding schedule, or a “no-no” rule, it was not long before we realized as parents of a little human that we needed to be consistent for her benefit and for our sanity. One of the things that we look back on as being in the top 5 most important parenting things we did without always realizing we were doing it.
- She showed us that it’s okay to just stop and enjoy a moment. I will never forget seeing her walking across the yard as the radio was on (turned up to 11) in my garage blaring an advertisement for McDonalds or something like that. She was heading toward a toy of hers and then the music started back up. She stopped and just did that toddler “bouncing dance” (all parents know what I mean) for the entire song. She started to try and walk away a couple times, but she just couldn’t stop the bounce until the music was gone.
- She showed me true appreciation for God’s creatures. To be honest, I am still learning on this one. To me, animals were created so that I may eat them. Therefore, I have a soft spot for cattle, pigs, chickens, deer, elk, buffalo, and whatever Gorton’s uses to make a fish stick. Other than that, I like a dog to follow me around the yard. Jessica loves anything with a pulse, and has always been so keenly interested in them. We still look at her in amazement as she spouts off facts about animals but we are never surprised to see her go the rescue of any animal.
- She is an amazing friend. Jess has always reached out to people and been willing to be a friend to them. She especially looks for the one person that seems to have no friend. She draws them to her! She shows interest in their lives and is a genuine friend to them.
- The girl knows how to work. We have had horses for almost seven years now, and the other day we were commenting on how many times she has acted like she didn’t want to go out to “her boys” to feed them. We think the number is around 2 – in seven years. She is up early in the morning and late at night to take care of them, and she knows how to throw hay!
- She is content. Jessica has never been one to walk around asking for things she knew she couldn’t have or pitching little fits if she didn’t get what she wanted. It was almost like she thought if she had something it was better than nothing, and that was good enough. I might be exaggerating little bit, but not by a lot!
- She has always been comfortable with herself. She is not a person to “put on airs”. She is who she is, and doesn’t change for someone just because that is how they might want her to be. If she makes a change, it is because she has decided to do it.
- She does hard things. Hard things are hard because they are hard, and Jess has been one the tis willing to take on a challenge. Sometimes we tease her about a stubborn streak (no chance she got that from either parent), but more often than not it is because she has a tenacity about life and is willing to do what needs to be done – even when it is hard.
- She is still a girl. Even though she loves pig wrestling, horse maintenance, and throwing hay bales, she still likes to put on a pretty dress and get all “girled up” from time to time.
- She’s a smart kid. Jess has always done well in school. There are times she has really had to attack a subject in order to do well, but she gives it her best. She made the Dean’s list with a 4.0 in her first semester in college!
- She loves her family. Maybe some of it is because we live in the sticks and she doesn’t have a lot of friends right inner neighborhood, but she actually seems to like being at home with us. Yep. A teenage daughter that has always been happy to spend time with her parents… Maybe unicorns exist after all!
- She liked Cricket Hunting with me when she was little. It’s goofy, would probably take a ton of explaining, but we enjoyed it!
- Some of her more memorable quotes: “I AH-DOOUGH-A-BULL” “Wedgies. They happen!” To her Grandpa Williams when she was still in diapers – “Grampa, I dotta yode.” (“I gotta load” meaning a full diaper. I’m not saying her mother taught her that one, but there was only one other adult living in our house that could have taught her that, and surely it wasn’t him…)
- She is resilient. One of the hardest signs we experienced with Jess was watching her deal with the pain that came out of her competing in High School Equestrian events. She was hurt in many ways during that time, but she kept her gentle heart and attitude and was willing to forgive rather than hold on to hard feelings. She has been a true example to me in that regard.
- She likes to pull my finger. Yes, my wife just covered her eyes and shook her head in shame that I wrote that, but it is the truth. It makes us laugh!
- Her brother is her best friend – and he likes that. They have always been good buds, and even though they have the occasional spat, they truly love each other and miss each other. Next year is going to be hard on both of them as she leaves for Cedarville.
- Jess truly wants to live her life in a way that glorifies God. She reads her Bible, journals, prays, and genuinely looks to Him for guidance and strength for living. She has been modeling a Relentless Life all through her teenage years. While life has been hard from time to time, she has not lost sight of God, and has continued to draw close to Him. It makes me very proud to see her grasping the importance of a relationship with her heavenly Father.
Jess, I love you, and I am proud to be your Dad. You have been a joy since your first breath, and I stand in amazement as I continue to watch you grow in so many ways. You are a blessing to me and Mom, and I thank God every day for entrusting us with a daughter like you. Happy Birthday, Squirt!