She'll Turn 16 Today

I missed her arrival. Daughter #3 was two-and-a-half weeks early and I was 800 miles away in Minneapolis, house hunting, when she insisted on making her entrance. Or exit, I guess I should say.

From the beginning, the child never has been much for waiting.

In the Summer of ’93, we knew we were going to be moving from Oklahoma City to Minneapolis as soon as our house sold. I had flown up to look for us a house, confident that our third blessing would not be arriving for at least two weeks. After all, her older sisters had come right on schedule.

Around 2:00, on my first full day there, I got a call from my great-with-child bride. It sort of, maybe felt like she was in labor. Possibly. But not for sure.

What to do? It was vital that we find a house and we didn’t have the money for another trip. I was self-employed and without insurance so we were paying for this baby as we had paid for the others–that is, with cash. We agreed to wait a while and see if this was a false alarm.

Around 5:00 p.m., another call. It’s the real thing. I checked the airlines for a flight that would get me back to Oklahoma City that night. There was none.

A few hours later I sat in my hotel room with the phone to my ear. On the other end, my sister-in-law was holding a receiver up beside my wife’s beet-red face. Her mom was there, too. The old advertising slogan for the phone company told us that long distance was “the next best thing to being there.” Well, that may be true. But it’s a very distant second.

That was 16 years ago today. I was there by late morning the following day.

What a blessing to our family this final addition turned out to be. The entertainment value alone has been well worth the price of admission.


Mrs. Blather and I have always referred to her as “the baby.” Though it’s getting harder every year to make that euphemism make sense. “The baby” can drive now. And she looks like this:


My genetic imprint is evident in some way in each one of our girls, but especially in this one. Not in looks so much–she’s an even mix of Holland and her mother’s side. But in temperament and tendency, there is much of me in this one–God help her.

I have no sons, and that is fine with me. Being the father of daughters has been the finest and richest thing I’ve ever known. But as a Dad, there is indeed something inside that aches to know that someone you’ve poured your life and heart into wants to be like you.  When all the short people in your house are girls, it’s easy to wonder if that is ever the case. But I don’t wonder . . .


That’s her foot. That’s my footprint. And I’m a contented man.