This is the story of a little girl.
She had blond hair and blue eyes.
She grew up in the country with parents who loved her.
And she had a cross-eyed kitty.
She was an only child and had lots of friends and a blue bedroom and a bike with a sparkly seat.
She played softball at the ball park, hide and seek in cornfields, and ball tag in the front yard.
She stole raspberries from one neighbor and grapes from another.
And took horse riding lessons, both English and Western.
She got her first kiss behind a curtain by a boy named Shannon when she was in the 6th grade.
He had red hair and was cute as a button.
When she was 16, she realized that a boy she had known her whole life was kinda cute.
He had hazel eyes and curly hair and strong hands.
She had just had her young heart broken for the first time and was sad.
There was a dance at school.
The cute boy she had known her whole life passed her in the hall and said casually,
"save me a dance."
She danced with him.
She liked the way he held her tight.
And she has never let him go.
When they were 20, this young couple spent a summer apart.
She was in Cleveland doing an internship at the Cleveland Clinic.
He was travelling out west for college credit.
She thought that they should maybe date other people for the summer.
Cause at that age, 4 years together is a lifetime.
And she wanted him to be sure this was forever.
And she wanted to be sure too.
She went on one disasterous date.
And he carried a little person down the grand canyon.
(a story for another day.)
When they got home, they knew.
They were sure.
After college, he moved to Virginia Beach.
She wasn't sure if she wanted to move so far away.
Everything she knew was there. Where she was.
Her mother told her, under no uncertain terms, that she was going.
Getting out of the small town and seeing what was out there.
And of course, loved it.
They had their first little apartment in the historic district of Norfolk.
That was filled with hand me down furniture and mixed matched dishes.
They had to do laundry in the dark recess of the dungeonous basement.
They loved every minute of it.
They spent their time exploring this new city and learning how to be independent.
Just the two of them.
When they were 24 they secretly got married.
No one knew.
It was a sunny day when they slipped down to the courthouse and said vows.
The sweetest old man was presiding.
And made it much more romantic than they had anticipated.
What started out as a pragmatic ceremony to ensure she had health insurance turned into a very special day.
This one was for them.
Three months after that they got married in a church in front of their friends and family.
This one was for everyone else.
When she was 26 her mama died.
It was a dark time.
And she wouldn't have made it through without him.
She had never felt so alone.
She had just moved a new town, and had no real friends yet.
She cried a lot.
Especially in the shower where no one would hear.
He was scared.
He didn't know how to handle her sadness, but he did, handle it.
He was strong for her.
He was everything she needed him to be.
Soon after that, she met the friends she has now.
They became like family and she cherished them.
They, without knowing it, helped save her.
Helped her realize that family is what you make it.
When she was 29, she got some good news.
She was going to have a baby.
She will never forget the shy smile he had when she told him.
It is one of her favorite memories of him.
She wanted a girl.
She wanted to name her after her own mama.
She had an easy pregnancy.
He took such good care of her.
Rubbed her feet every night and would run and get chocolate donuts when needed.
After a scary, long delivery, she got her girl.
The light of her life.
The very best of both of them.
Today, she is happy.
She has him.
And now her.
This little family.
She has a nice house with flowers in the yard and good friends.
She is strong.
She knows who she is, where she came from, and where she is going.
She is excited for what comes next.
This is the story of a little girl.
She has blond hair and blue eyes.
She lives in the city with parents who love her.
She has 2 kitties, neither one cross-eyed.
She is an only child with lots of friends, and a pink & green bedroom, and a bike with a princess seat.
She plays softball at the ball park, loves the monkey bars, and runs through the sprinkler in the front yard.
She steals lilacs from one neighbor and peonies from another.
And takes horse riding lessons at pony camp.
She hasn't gotten her first kiss yet.
She is named after her mama's mama.
Her story is just beginning.