Today is the first birthday of my daughter Claire. It is hard to describe the emotions I feel about this crazy, crawling baby. It seems like just yesterday that we got the sonogram that said we were having a girl. Honestly speaking, I only envisioned myself having a house full of boys. Having a girl honestly scares me to death and quickly turns me into an irrational person. I will explain this further in a little bit. But no matter what I think or use to think about having a daughter, I have survived year one with her. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love her and take great joy in having her even though I sense the dark clouds building on the horizon.
Here are some of the highlights of our first year with Claire. She came into this world real sneaky like. Amy didn’t tell me that she had been having contractions all day. I was ready for bed and had been struggling with a sinus infection so I took a Benadryl to clear it up and help me sleep. Amy stayed up because in her words, “She was a little uncomfortable.” An hour into my sleep induced coma, Amy came barging into the bedroom, flipped the lights on and proclaimed “I’m going into labor.” I was barely conscious and was wondering who she was talking to. We quickly packed up the car including our son Ty and drove to town. We dropped Ty off at our pastors house at 12:30 am (You should ask Norman about the fun he had that night!!!) We made our way to the hospital E.R.. They checked us in, Amy walked the whole way to her room so no one even thought there was a rush. After setting us in an observation room, they discovered she was dilated to an 8 (Which means a sneeze or cough could have shot Claire out into the world.) Everyone began to speed up quite a bit and within an hour, we got to meet one of the chubbiest babies ever (Triple chins). Claire Emarie had made her debut, let me tell you, she is only getting started.
Claire already seems tougher than Ty. I have seen her take shots that make me wince and she will barely cry. Ty has tackled, tickled and tried to carry her all the while she is un-phased. Do something she doesn’t like and the ‘tude shows up (I’m talking angry goat!). Claire will probably hold a record one day for either being the healthiest child in the world or for growing the world’s largest tapeworm. She scavenges for food under table and the kitchen floor. She even throws food on the floor now in hopes for finding a snack later. We try to keep it cleaned up, but eagle eyes finds what we miss. Just yesterday, she was playing in a mini mud puddle by the pool and I watched her stick her hand in to grab a handful of mud which was promptly put in her mouth. She does share a few things in common with her brother: hates sleeping and for you to sleep as well, got all her teeth at once (that way she is grumpier and its more painful), and knows how to turn on the charm to melt your heart at just the right moment (They got that from me, just ask Amy! She is not a fan of it!!)
Our adventure with two small children is wonderful, yet fearful at the same time. My fear of having a daughter stems from my past. Now I understand why all those dads looked at me like a shady criminal every time I darkened their door. They had invested years and sacrificed greatly for their daughter and there I was about to mess it all up. I was great at getting a date, but was horrible at dating and building a relationship. Now fast forward 15 years. Technology has made everything available to everyone. No filters. No guidelines. No boundaries. Plus many parents are not teaching their boys the value of respecting women and not just treating them as a sex objects. Then to top it off, there is the real threat of kidnapping for the sole purpose of sex trafficking. All I want to do is keep my babies safe, but this world and the prince of this world is lurking for its next victim. As a father, that frightens me to some degree. But MY GOD is faithful, so I must trust Him when the odd are not in my favor.
Claire Emarie, you are still small and won’t read this for years, but I have some words for you that will hopefully guide your heart and help straighten your path. First off, your mom and dad love you with all our hearts, even when you have been awake a lot at night. It may not seem like it, but we do want whats best for you. When we picked your name we were delighted to find out that it meant “Light, or bright light.” Then we picked a bible verse that would be the vision we have for you all your days on this crazy earth. It is Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your father who is in Heaven.” This is our desire for you, but somewhere along the way, you must choose this for yourself. Some of the things we desire for you to hold true to are the follow: purity, innocence, modesty, loving-kindness, hope, and faith in Christ Jesus. The world will attack every one of these so you must purpose them in your heart. If satan is willing to give the effort to attack, then you know you are on the right path. It will take resolve and a sure heart to stay the course, but with God all things are possible. Claire, even though you are only one today, we are already praying for the man and his parents who you will one day meet and marry. We pray that he loves Jesus more than you, but loves you still. We pray that he has kept himself unstained by the world and is a godly man with character. Oh yeah, he better be tough as a rhino hide, because he ain’t seen nothing until he has met your dad and brother. I already have a spot picked out for the sniper tower! (Just kidding, but seriously!) There will be days or even weeks when we butt heads or get a little cross threaded, but we will always love you.
As for your brother, he will probably always be bigger, stronger, more bull-headed, and possible more maniacal, but remember that boy is ticklish from head to toe. So just pin him to the ground and start tickling him. He already loves you and we can’t wait to see what the two of you come up with in the near future.
Happy Birthday my sweet girl! I never thought I would ever want daughters, but you sure changed that in hurry. May the Lord keep and use you greatly for His glory all your days.
Grace and Peace to you as find snacks on the floor!