Wednesday, September 08, 2010


In less than two hours a milestone will be reached. To her it is intimidating. Perhaps even sad. To me it is cause for celebration. At 12:08 tomorrow morning "Bubba" will turn 30. She was born to her mother and I on a cool September evening in HInsdale, Illinois. The middle of the night. Little did I know that she would be keeping me up into the middle of the night many times. A few of them were due to the tears and wailings of an infant. Most of them were caused by the wanderings of a lovely teenage girl on the arm of boys that could not be trusted.

Her real name is Kelli. She didn't look like a Kelli when she arrived. She looked like a Bubba ... a midget truck driver. All wrinkley and gooey. She smoothed out over the first few days of life but she remained my Bubba. She didn't complain. When she got old enough to understand what I was saying I wisely switched her nickname to "Honey Bear." She never knew but that was the name of the Chicago Bears cheerleaders back in the 1980's. It really wasn't fair to the squad. Kelli was far more beautiful than any one of them.

Over the years I watched as my one and only daughter ....

-became a "cherry tart" for her preschool play
-told me that boys were yucky ... except for me
-developed the courage to actually feed the dear at the Wisconsin Dells after I bribed her with "Mother Goose Land"
-grew teeth
-lost teeth
-grew teeth
-got braces on her teeth
-actually play softball
-get her drivers license
-get her first "road kill" ... a skunk ... with MY car
-fall in love
-get dumped
-fall in love
-stay in love
-marry her love
-grant me two incredible granddaughters that totally remind me of her

I know. It doesn't sound like much when you read the list. But it was an incredible ride. Did I mention that when she went to college I drove the route she would take when she made her occasional trips back and forth to our house and I prayed over every single square inch? Oh, and that on the way home one day in the rain while driving WAY over the speed limit in a little blue Dodge Neon a very stern state trooper gave her a ticket (for less than she deserved?) And did I mention that I wrote that state trooper a letter and thanked him because his actions just might slow her down and save her life someday? Hey. She's still alive. So it just might have worked.

One of the high lights of my life came one evening when she wore a white gown and was positively radiant. She left her bouquet of flowers at the table where she had dined. My left hand grabbed her right. My other hand slipped gently behind her back. And she and I danced to Nat and Natalie King Cole singing "Unforgettable."

Kelli. Happy birthday. Don't worry about turning 30. You aren't even half way "Home" yet. And I just want you to know that to me ... you will always be unforgettable.


Kelli said...

thanks, pops! love you!

Sue said...

Happy Birthday, Kelli!

Anonymous said...

I remembered when you asked Debbie to marry you my first words were, "I am going to be a uncle." Everyone laughed, but my prophesy came true in Kelli.

I have had a smile on my face every since.

She is a beautiful woman with a hansome husband who has great looking kids. She has confessed her faith in God before me and my heart filled with joy.

Thank you and Debbie for bringing Kelli up as well as you did.

Happy B-Day Kelli.