I was in labor for quite awhile, and she seemed to be taking her own time. Then, all of a sudden, she decided that now was the time to come out and play. I learned several years later that this was the way Stephie would get ready for school...dawdle around and then race out the door like a fire was under her feet! But, when the doctor handed this precious bundle to us, tears came down our faces as we looked on the miracle that God had given us. We didn't have any idea if we were having a girl or a boy, so when Jerry looked at me and said, "We have a beautiful baby girl", my heart was full.
|Jerry and Stephie|
Stephie has been so much fun to raise. Always being a happy child, she would sit on the step stool, with her sippy cup in her hand while I fixed dinner, and we would sing together. If you know me at all, you will not be surprised to learn that I didn't teach her ordinary children's songs. She learned show tunes and could belt out "Who Will Buy" (from Oliver) and "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning" (Oklahoma) by the age of three. These were mixed with various Disney songs (The Little Mermaid songs were a favorite during bath time). She did adore singing Old MacDonald, but only if the animal could be a cat. We had our old Bitsy at that point, and Stephie adored Bitsy (although, the feeling was not reciprocated for several years). Stephie's first "word" (while I would love to say it was Momma) was "Guh" when she was ten months old. By dinner time, we had figured out that was her word for Bitsy. Her head would snap around when she heard Bitty in anticipation of getting to possibly see/catch Bitty. Bitsy learned to run very fast. It appears that her tendency towards becoming a crazy cat lady started early in life.
|Helping me cook|
Through the years, being able to watch Stephie grow and mature has been a gift. Although our move to Illinois wasn't quite the ideal couple of years (moving a 12-year-old wasn't very fun), she soon settled in and flourished over here. We've watched her faith grow, and her love for the less fortunate is truly heart-warming to see. Clearly, we are blessed and proud.
So, today, I celebrate our daughter's life and thank God for blessing us for the past 24 years. May God continue to bless and keep Stephie in His care and give us many more years to watch her continue to bless others with her presence.
Stephie, I love you more than words can say, and I consider it a privilege to be your momma and your friend. You are everything I wanted and more. Happy birthday, baby.