Every so often I use this space to become a sappy twit and gush all over something. Hopefully it isn't too sweet for you. Don't want anyone to get a cavity. :)
For me, it is a very full schedule around Christmas. On the 19th, it is my wife Heather's birthday. The 22nd is my daughter's birthday. And then the 25th is Christmas. (If you didn't know that last one - I'm just a big ole helper elf.) This year, you also got to throw in Heather's college graduation on the 12th and that made for an extra-special heap of cheer.
All of this just makes me think about the people in my life. I have literally always wanted to be a father and husband. Even when I was little - uh - young - I dreamed of having a family. And I have always wanted to have a little girl. I also wanted a boy. (What better way to have a football buddy?) But I really looked forward to being a father to a girl. I know how hard it is for girls in today's world. They fight such incredible battles with body image, and what guys expect of them. And I wanted to be able to help a little lady grow up with confidence and love.
When my little girl came along, she was all I imagined and more. She was incredible. She was brilliant - just like her brother. And she was flat out loony - just like her dad. She has this sense of humor that is just nuts. Even at the age of 3 this year, she already has an amazing comedic timing and great silly outlook on life. I laugh at and with her all the time. She has brought such joy to everyone. And she carries herself so well - far beyond her years. I am so proud of what she is becoming. And I cannot wait to see her as she grows and begins to have an influence on people. (And, lest you think I don't gush over my boy - just scan the archives of this blog in Septembers past.)
I hope that I have had some part of this wonderful young lady. But I know for sure that it is because of Heather. They have such a special bond. And Heather has time and again put herself out to help meet our little girl's needs - and to love on her. Our baby girl is a very cuddly girl, and loves to snuggle. Sometimes, when you have gone through a long day at school, the last thing you want is someone hanging on you for hours. But Heather is there for all of us.
And since it was her birthday the other day, I thought about Heather as I went through this sap-fest. I knew Heather would be a great wife. She is a loving person, who is fiercely loyal to those special to her. And her sweet spirit helps to make me always feel at home. What surprised me about the kind of wife she is, is how much she challenges me. I don't mean arguing with me. But Heather is the one person in my world who can always cut through my junk and get right to my heart. She knows when I am pulling stuff on her or others and she calls me on it. She also encourages me and pushes me to be better than I am. Which is what I need. She believes in me too, which is so awesome. When you have worked places where you were constantly belittled and pushed down, it is amazing to have someone who thinks so highly of you --- even when she has seen you at your smoothie-throwing worst.
What has been the biggest surprise is what an absolutely amazing mother Heather is. That is not to say I didn't think she would be - I knew she was going to be great. But I am completely in awe at just how incredible she is. And, mind you, this has been for the past few years, coupled with being a full-time student. (Which she also aced.) When I observe our kids, they are so well adjusted and well behaved - and they are confident and secure. I think a big reason is because of Heather. She brings the best out in them as well. She pushes them and encourages them and picks up on their quirks and hurts. She reigns me in when I am frustrated. And she can diffuse most situations with a few words. And the kids adore her. Sometimes I just like to sit in the chair and watch her be with the kids - it gives me a warm feeling to see our kids getting such love and support.
I guess I just wanted to share some of my thoughts about my girls. In the Christmas season, it is a need reminder to me of how much God has already given me. I have an amazing wife, daughter, and son. And for that I am so blessed. Heather, I love you so much and am so proud of you. And Nat, I love you and think you are just the coolest little girl ever. Happy Birthday to you both.