I can still remember our combined excitement and fear, as Jaime and I prepared to welcome Felicity into our family. What would it be like to see her? Not the sonogram, but the face-to-face version of her…my daughter. I had said her name, “Felicity”, out loud, several times, just to hear how it would sound coming from me…her father. Whoa! I would be this little girl’s father…for the rest of her life! It was so much to process over the nine months. Now, we were moments away from her official entrance into our world. “Dad, do you want to come over and see your little girl?” She didn’t have to tell me the second time! Felicity was squirming as they poked, prodded, and cleaned her hands and feet. I timidly touched her toes, wondering if someone would tell me not to. “She’s beautiful! Jaime, our daughter is beautiful.” What began as a thought, led to a whisper, and then a refrain I would say many times that morning. They wrapped up my little girl in her hospital blanket and handed her over. I have never felt what I felt in that moment. I was finally holding my little girl and I loved her instantly. Every opportunity I could hold her I cradled her, softly telling Felicity how thrilled I was that she was finally here, and that her mom and I would do whatever possible to take good care of her. No doubt, I made more than my fair share of jokes about her becoming a teenager and future boyfriends!
My sweet girl turns 9 years old today and it continues to be the greatest privilege and honor of my life to be her father – to walk with her through this part of her journey – to watch her face challenges, learn from her mistakes, experience moments of great success, work through her deepest hurts, and discover a personal faith and trust in God. For a young lady of nine years old, Felicity has already experienced more than many who are twice or even three times her age. Yet, while the loss of her mother and the pain associated with that grief is a part of Felicity’s story, it is NOT what will ever define who she is and what she will become. My smile is big when I think about all that lies ahead for Felicity – the lives she will continue to impact, the unique fixture she will have in a community and in her own family, and in her God-given journey that will boldly declare and detail His complete joy in the most difficult and painful moments life has to offer.
On September 2, 2009, at 8:29 AM, in the appropriately named town of Celebration, Florida, Felicity’s arrival bestowed upon me the greatest title I will ever have…Dad.