Awesomely Ashley

August 25

How about a change of pace? We have been focusing on the last days for a while now, and we will get back to that soon. But today is a very special day. Our youngest daughter, Ashley Andrews, is celebrating her 30th birthday today. Sadly, we are not able to be with her on this special day. You have to understand that birthdays are very special at our house. Sonya has never missed being with one of our girls on their birthdays. I have only missed one birthday party in all these years. And when we celebrate birthdays, we do it up big. We celebrate for weeks on end. Multiple presents. Big meals. Cake of your choice. And that doesn’t even include the party. Some people may think we go overboard, and that would be right. According to Scripture, our lives average about 70 years, so we only get to celebrate a person’s birth about that many times. When you consider the fact that Sonya and I probably won’t be around when Ashley reaches 70, well, you just have to take care of business while you can.

With that in mind, “Happy birthday, Ashley.” I hope you know that you mean the world to me. From the first moment that your mom shocked me with the news that we were going to have another baby, I have loved you. :0) I still remember vividly the day that you entered the world. Since everyone made fun of me for the way I carried Jennifer the first time, I tried to act very non-chalant — like I knew what I was doing, but my heart was beating so fast because I was terrified that I would drop you. I didn’t, by the way. I got you to your bed without incident, and I just stared at your beautiful face.

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Later, your mother, your sister, and I marveled together at your beauty. Well, I assume that Jennifer marveled because she sat there looking at you in complete silence for a while. Most likely she was plotting and planning. No doubt she was already thinking of how she could make you eat cat food or how she would convince you to trade toys with her — usually a real toy for a clothes pin with you getting the clothes pin. But that was just you. Easy-going. Good-natured. Always willing to share.35113It was my privilege to be pregnant at the same time as you. 🙂

Certain memories are burned into my mind, and I pray that nothing will ever take them away. I love to think back to when you were playing T-ball, with your little legs carrying you in slow motion to first base and the entire crowd cheering you on the whole way. Or how you slid into homeplate — on your bottom. And as you grew up, how even the softball was attracted to you – literally.

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I remember the day you walked the aisle to profess your faith in Jesus. I still see the little tears streaming down your cheek. I remember and I rejoice at the image of your face as it went under the waters of baptism. So many memories that I have to jump forward to another trip down the aisle of a church — this time with you on my arm — with laughter flowing freely from our hearts joining in the joy of everyone present. My heart was so full, and I was so proud to give you in marriage.ashben

But perhaps the proudest moments of my life came when Lucy was born. What courage I saw in your face even though I know you were scared. The image of you and Jon standing by Lucy before they transported her to Sacred Heart, your face red, your eyes puffy from the tears you had shed that morning. The fear that I know was in your heart did not show on your face — only love and joy for the little life you had brought into this world. I couldn’t find that one, but this one will do!

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Jon had asked for a picture of the two of us that held special meaning, and I thought long and hard, and I decided on this one because it is what I wish I were doing right now.184

.Happy birthday, sweet Ashley. I love you with all my heart.

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