Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Happy 22nd Birthday to my daughter Jaclyn

Twenty-two years ago this morning I was awakened by my wife saying “I think we need to go to the hospital now”. As my mind began to focus, I jumped out of bed and said “How far apart are they?” To which she replied, “Oh about two minutes!” Or at least that is what I thought she said.
We quickly got dressed, called our friend Sue to come over and get Kevin ready when he woke up and when she got there, we left for the hospital. Driving down 13th street with the flashers on, isn’t that what you always do in the movies when you have a woman giving birth, we were stopped by a very polite policeman. His reply, “Turn off your emergency flashers and drive the speed limit, have a great day!”

A few hours later, we welcomed our baby girl into our lives. It has been said the first baby changes your life but the second one puts it on hold. That was certainly true for us. Now it was not easy to pack two kids up and just go everywhere. As a college pastor, there was always something going on that I needed to be at. And for a few years, Lica was not able to join me on those fun trips and mission ventures. However, those were also some of the best years. Christmas, Halloween, and even Easter are not as fun after your kids grow up, but they are sure a lot less stressful. Putting together bikes and swings in the middle of the night holds a dear spot in many a dad’s heart. Not to mention the blood that went into making sure they were just right for that big day, and I mean that literally! Those were great days indeed.
We have watched our children grow up and struggle like everyone through their adolescent years. I am thankful for great friends of ours and our children who have helped them navigate their way through those potentially troubled waters and helped us stay relatively sane in the process. The best thing was our children chose to keep Godly friends near them both at church and away from it as their “best friends.” They had some great youth ministers who also helped them mature in their thinking and in their faith over those years for which I will be eternally grateful.

While they have been in college at UF, I have had the joy to be both their dad and their college minister. They have been active in our BCM and served in leadership roles during their undergraduate years here. I have been blessed that they have chosen to be a part of something that has been a part of our family’s lives for these last 25 years, working with college students either through the church or the BCM. This really validates what I do and what I have sought to teach over these years.

Now, my daughter is in her final year of undergraduate school and this is the last birthday we will celebrate with one of our own as a college student. It is hard to believe that 22 years has passed since that momentous Thursday morning wake-up announcement. I am very proud of both of my children. They are both smart, funny, and relatively well adjusted young adults. I have been blessed with a great partner in this endeavor. Much of who they are is a direct result of who their mother is. She is a great woman of faith and love.

Happy birthday, Jaclyn. You more beautiful to me today than ever and you continue to make me one proud daddy with every passing day!

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