Someone once said “time flies when you’re having fun.” That is a true statement, indeed. As I reflect on the past 18 years I am reminded of how blessed I am.
God has blessed my wife and me with two beautiful kids. Our oldest was born 18 years ago today. We left for Memorial City Hospital in Houston at about 10:00 on a bright September Sunday morning. I was delighted that my wife’s delivery room was equipped with a television set and a comfortable recliner, and we settled in to watch football as we awaited the arrival of our firstborn child. (Minnesota beat Pittsburgh 44-24 and my beloved and dearly departed Houston Oilers defeated Cincinnati 38-28). Although our doctor knew the child’s gender, we had elected to find out at birth.
As the Minnesota Vikings began to take control of the game in the third quarter, I noticed that my wife wasn’t cheering as enthusiastically as before. Her nurse noticed it, too. Time for me to exit the room as the merciful epidural was applied. As her labor intensified, we turned off the television and prepared to welcome our firstborn into the world. A few short hours later (well, they were short to me; my wife might disagree with that assessment) Olivia arrived and with a piercing cry took her first breath. Dr. Hansen cut the umbilical cord and laid her on my wife’s chest. We looked at her and cried tears of joy.
Although that was 18 years ago, in many ways it seems like it was last Sunday. Yes, time flies. It flies as they take their first steps and graduate from diaper to “big potty”. It flies as they board the big yellow bus for the first time and head off to school. On their own. Without mom & dad following behind in the car. It flies as we celebrate the first report card, enjoy the first slumber party, and stand strong for them through the disappointments we all face in life (we don’t let them see us cry; we do that later, in private). Next thing we know, they’re in middle school and the hormones are raging as they begin to transition from child to young adult. We survive that phase together. That freshman year in high school is exciting as the senior year seems so far off into the future. Then, all of a sudden, they’re enjoying the freedom delivered through the driver’s license, we’re touring colleges and universities, ordering the class ring, and looking forward to senior day at the football game. As we reread the university acceptance letter and watch the kids enjoy the 18th birthday surprise party we realize that our beautiful little baby has grown into a lovely young woman.
As I type this, I have a small lump in my throat, a tear in my eye, and a big smile on my face. Yes, the past 18 years have flown by. I tell young parents all the time to cherish every moment of every day with their children, for soon it will be time for them to leave the nest. As we celebrate my daughter’s 18th birthday we cherish the memories, celebrate the milestone, and look forward to the future. I pray that God will continue to grow and mature her faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, and that He will guard and protect her as she ventures into adulthood. On her own. Without mom & dad following in the car (not close enough to be seen, anyway).
Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. ~ Psalm 127:3