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A story Here's a story I wrote after the birth of my first child that might help you get to know me better.

A Letter to my little girl

I was there, Little One.  I was there when they lifted you up from your mommy's tummy. Mommy worked hard all day to help you be born.  In the end, the doctors helped her by opening up her tummy and lifting you out.

Before you were born we didn't know if you would be a boy or a girl. But the doctors let me stand to see over a curtain and there you were. "She's a girl," they said and we were happy. You were a little baby girl and we knew inside that that was just right -- you were the little girl we always wanted.

Did you know you were blue when you were born? Maybe no bluer than other babies, but when they rushed you across the hall your daddy rushed behind them. When they laid you next to a hose that had the word "oxygen" written on it, daddy found himself asking the nurses, "Is she breathing okay?"

"She's doing fine," they said.

"See, look for yourself." Then an amazing thing happened. There right before my eyes your skin turned from blue to the prettiest pink I've ever seen.

"Heel sticks" they called them -- the needles that poked your feet so they could look at your blood under a microscope. Heel sticks and lights and strange sounds -- it must have been scary to be so small and to just be born.

But then your daddy picked you up, didn't he? Did you think your daddy was funny wearing that blue hat and mask and slippers over his shoes? Or did you think that's what daddies looklike? And what was it like to hear a voice you knew and to be held by arms that loved you? Were you happier then?

"Daddy's girl" -- that's what the nurses called you. My little daddy's girl.

There wasn't room for me to stay with you the first night. So I went home and on my way there I stopped at Perkins. I drove into the parking lot and what a surprise! It was filled. At two o'clock in the morning, the restaurant was packed. Did they all know about you? Had they all come to celebrate? Or was it just bar time on a hot Friday night?

I wanted to stand up right there in the restaurant -- stand up and tell them all: "We just had a baby. We have a new baby in our home." But I didn't. I ate my French toast and hash browns, went outside, got in the car and told God instead.

"Father in heaven, we have a little girl. Have you seen her? We have a little girl." It was a funny prayer, wasn't it? It was a funny prayer for daddy to say over and over again. It's a good thing mommy wasn't there. She would have been upset with your daddy's driving -- without a doubt she would. But sometimes it's hard to drive when you can't see the road.

We named you "Liza." Liza -- a gift devoted to God. Do you remember what the visitors said? Do you remember what the nurses said? "Some babies are cute. But your baby is beautiful." They were talking about you, little Liza.

They were talking about you.

Did you know that when you were born the doctor checked you over? He looked at your foot and he saw a problem. "Easily correctable," he said. Then he talked about casting and he talked about surgery. But the people who came to visit you told us story after story about God healing that kind of problem. God isn't like us, you know. He may use casting, but He doesn't need it. He may use surgery, but He doesn't need that either. He heals any way He likes.

Liza, you are a gift devoted to a healing God.

Did you know that we danced around the hospital room, you and I? Did you know that you looked up at the lights, at the window, at the clock, and most of all at the one who was carrying you -- you looked up with eyes full of wonder . . . do you remember?

As we danced around the room, your daddy stopped and started crying. Silly daddy.

But there for a moment -- for an instant in time -- daddy was no longer standing in a hospital room. He was standing in a church. And he wasn't holding a little girl in his arms. Instead, a beautiful woman stood next to him with her hand resting on his arm. The arm that once carried, once supported was there for a final time. And the little innocent eyes that once searched his face -- wondering what sort of daddy she would have -- were now searching another face and were filled with new questions.

All around us there were people.

People who said, "What a beautiful dress!" "Such pretty flowers!" "What a lovely ceremony!" But that isn't what they meant. It's you that they meant. You're the one who's beautiful.

There was one who stood in front and he spoke with a voice loud enough for all to hear. "Who gives this woman . . . ?" he asks.

"Who gives this woman?" The question echoes in my mind. And my mind races -- races to remember the words:

"Her mother and I."

I'll practice those words over and over. Late at night, that final night, your silly daddy will be walking up and down the hall, saying those words. Your mommy will come to the door and say, "Dwight, it's late. Come to bed."

But your daddy will wave her away and keep on walking. "Her mother and I," he'll say. "Her mother and I." But he won't be thinking about the words he's saying. He'll be thinking about that day in the hospital when he danced around the room holding in his arms a tiny baby, a little girl who looked up at him with wide blue eyes, a baby who yawned a wide yawn, and then closed her eyes and fell softly asleep.

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