A Birthday Gift for Me

Kelly Sanderson

Kelly Sanderson

I remember like it was yesterday; sitting on the edge of the hospital bed holding you in my arms. You were wrapped up tight in a baby blanket with a stocking cap on your head just looking at me. Looking at me! We were alone in the room and while I’m sure I was mumbling something to you, without any warning, I cried.

There is something special about that moment we shared. We didn’t have any history to look back on and with only our future ahead of us I knew we would be okay. How could I be responsible for something so small and precious? I’m not used to this as I can barely take care of myself. I mean, it was the ’80s and is this stone-washed denim I’m wearing? Really?

It’s hard for a father to tell his daughter how he feels. While there are so many ways and lots words to say, it all gets lost in general conversation. But life is to short to not tell you how a I feel. Without trying, and at that moment you gave me a purpose. A life-changing moment that rearranged my priorities and gave me a reason to work hard and set a good example. After all, I wouldn’t want to embarrass you. Okay, it was the ’80s and some of that wasn’t my fault.

I’m so very proud of you. You have grown into the woman I always thought you would be. A great mother, a wonderful wife, a great sister and of course, a beautiful daughter. You have an effortless way about you and through it all you have an amazing sense of humor. I know how you deal with bumps in the road and humor is one of them. Your laughter makes me laugh and if nothing else in life, we have that. You recently sent me a text that you’ve come to realize that when so many things aren’t going your way, you have to come to appreciate the little things in life. To also be happy and thankful for what you have and how quickly we forget that, and how things always seem to work out. When you said that, it felt like a shift had come from me giving you advice to you telling me “everything’s going to be okay.”

You will always be that mop-topped little strawberry blonde that danced around in the dresses you insisted on wearing. It’s crazy how you have grown into a beautiful woman and remained my little girl all at the same time.

Today is your birthday and as hard as it is for you to realize this, it is you who gave me the gift. Happy birthday Kelly, I love you!

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