By Scott Westerman
Shelby was born on September 1, 1979.
I remember the day she made her entrance, head first and wide eyed, fascinated, as ever, with the adventures that awaited her. I remember watching her sleep and wondering how I could ever sleep again, with the awesome responsibility for that small creature on my shoulders.
I remember her first words, her first steps, and the true joy she expressed when she met her brother for the first time. The magical time when I tucked her in and we talked about what we did that day. Her’s were -always- more exciting.
Comforting the bad dreams, snuggling, all four of us, in our big bed for Saturday morning cartoons. Dance performances, band concerts, volleyball, theater and lots of video tape.
I remember the moment of terror, when I let go of the bike and she rode it… without training wheels. Being oh so glad that she wasn’t hurt when another car hit hers, on her first day alone behind the wheel.
I remember the daddy / daughter dances at elementary school. Prom dates that were nice guys, but never felt good enough for my princess. I remember wanting to strangle the Pekin bitches and wanting to hug the UMYF girls who became her best-friends-forever.
There were the goodbyes: mission trips, Interlochen, Europe and college. And the hellos: The excitement I still feel whenever I see her smiling at me when I come up here driveway.
And there’s the pride. The pride in watching her at work, a true professional that I would LOVE to hire, even if she weren’t my daughter. The pride in her courage to confront whatever challenges cross her path. The pride that everyone sees whenever she steps on the dance floor. The pride in how she includes so many others in her world, including some who might otherwise have few friends.
These only scratch the surface of the Shelby years. Years that added to, and subtracted from my own life expectancy. Years I wouldn’t trade for any price.
Years that have flown by all to quickly.
I love both of my children with a depth and breadth that only those of us who have been parents can begin to understand. I have treasured every moment with Shelby and Brandon, good days and bad, ups and downs and have ended every one of those days with one affirmation: “I love you no matter what.”
So if you have loved ones. Don’t miss your opportunity to experience the miracle, the incredible gift you have been given. Time compresses as we age. In no time at all, our days, months and years will turn to nano-seconds.
As the old saying goes, “plan as if you’d live forever, but live every day as if it were your last.”
Enjoy the moment!