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Today, my beautiful daughter turns 25!

Shelby catching the boquet 2

It seems only yesterday that I stood by the daddy nurse at Orange County Hospital and watched as a team of doctors sliced her mother’s stomach and pulled her into this world.

She was stuborn from the get go.

Breech, two weeks late, no labor on the horizon.   And she weighed 9 pounds and 5 ounces.

Seriously, who’d want to have a baby like that naturally?

And it took  nearly 8 years for Shelby to come along.

One of those childless couples the doctors could give no reason for their childlessness, we were told to just come to grips with the fact that we would be a family of two.

We had frankly, accepted it.  All our friends were having babies, lots of them.  We were jealous, we were petty.  We wanted children.  And it just didn’t look like it was going to happen.

Flashing back to 1977, I had my first date with my wife the same day I picked UP my very first real car.  Some would say my last real car.  It was a brand new, ordered from the factory Ford Thunderbird.  Black, red leather interior, all the bells and whistles.

My Dream Car

It was gorgeous.  Quite frankly, it was my pride and joy, my prized possession.  I babied it – a lot!

Warp to 1984, Orlando, Florida.  We were young, we wanted a family.  We were told “it probably isn’t going to happen”.

Adoption agencies, we checked them out.  Every one of them wanted what was to us a small fortune.  But we were willing to make that sacrifice.  And we were ‘saving’ for it.

Enter Rev. Bob Ware.  Love him or hate him, agree or disagree, the man knew about sacrifice, and he knew about encouraging people to make sacrifices for the Lord. 

He had a crazy idea that it was time to turn the church around.  Literally.  It was just about the most unactractive church in Orlando.  Every one went to the front of the church only to find no doors.  They were in the back.  It was confusing and it was – in a word – stupid.  He wanted it changed, and it was going to take money, serious cash, lots of it, and money the church didn’t have. 

Everyone had to make sacrifices, and we decided to as well.  To screech to the end of this part of the story, we donated the car and enough cash to equal what an adoption would cost. 

And, after that sacrifice, TLW got, as Jenny and Em would say, knocked UP! 

Some may say there is no connection, but I don’t believe it.  I’ll never stop believing in miracles – I’ve seen too many.

Shelby is one of many, and one of the best.

Born July 18, 1985, she stopped crying as soon as she heard her mother’s voice.  We sang together all the time, and she recognized our voices the minute she was born.   I suppose she just wondered why the sound was more clear, and where all the light was coming from.

Shelby with Mindy's Camaro

We doted on her, she was easy to spoil.  She slept through the night at three weeks, never got sick, and was never fussy.  We’d put her in the nursery at church and people would say, “that’s the best baby, she’s no trouble at all.”  We were proud.  We took her everywhere.  No one complained. 

Shelby playing in her room

She followed her mother around like a puppy.  Wanted to do the things she was doing, and brought both of us so much joy.

Shelby and Mom

She loved purple.  And teal.  And black.  She had a fashion sense from the start.

Shelby, the 80s look

When her brother came along 3 and a half years later, she relished the “big sister” role.  She helped her mom, rubbed his head when he cried, soothed him, and tried to calm him.  He was a “tad” fussy.  They remain close.

Shelby and Donovan Easter in Tampa

School was a breeze, she was as one teacher said to me, a “teacher pleaser”.  She wanted good grades, worked for them and wanted to make the teacher happy.

Shelby Future Bronco

There were the N-SYNC years of course, a few side pony tails in the 80’s and 90’s and a flirtation with purple nail polish.  But never any problems.

Shelby at Grandma and Grandpa Brads

She loved church, loved going, loved the youth group and though I worried about some of her friends, I never worried about her.  She made good decisions.

 High School Graduation

After graduating with honors, she headed for Georgia College and State in Millidgeville, GA.  University of Florida being out of the question for financial and my “religious” reasons – go Dawgs – she stayed in Millidgeville for the next five years and granduated with a BSN, passed her RN boards in June and was immediately hired at a hospital in Macon, where she works today.

Graduation

 She’s always been easy to love!

Shelby all grown UP! 2

Like I said, I’ll never quit beliving in miracles, I’ve seen to many.

Happy Birthday Baby!

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