They said it would never happen…that the odds were against me…that I didn’t know how to have one…that God never meant for me to experience this…that I needed to eat more tomatoes, or was that chocolate?…that I wouldn’t know what to do if I ever did have one, so I probably shouldn’t! It’s amazing how knowledgeable people are and how willing they are to share that knowledge, but no one knew the plans that God had for us. I am so glad that I never believed all the input I received about this subject. It gives me even more reason to celebrate this day that began 16 years ago when Bob and I met our first and only daughter, after seven sons. Bob began to laugh (he is not normally a hearty laugher, and I began to cry). The phone calls went out to the sons, to the parents, to all our friends. A friend, at the church we pastored, was standing by the phone and took the call on that Wednesday night: “It’s a girl!.” The choir director never re-gained control of the choir practice – the church was in an uproar – after seven sons, Bob and Joy had a baby girl – their world was turning pink.
By the time we got to our home on Thursday morning, there was pink everywhere – pink spray paint in our front yard, “It’s a Girl!” Airplanes flying overhead could read it. Pink balloons – pink signs – pink shoes at the front door – pink all over our 15 passenger van – church sign announced it – the newspaper had already called to do a story about it – and she wasn’t even 24 hours old. That Thursday, I never put her down; I was totally mesmerized by this little girl in my arms. We quickly got all the boys, who had been farmed out for the birth, back home and the newspaper writer and photographer were there. They asked if I had a pink blanket, but there was not a pink item in the house, except for the mauve pink print curtains in my living room. It was my token decoration to celebrate girlhood – a mauve (popular then) living room and matching country curtains. I had to borrow a pink outfit, blanket, and bonnet for her first public appearance. Front page article and color picture in the Sunday paper, “It’s A Girl! Bristol Family of Seven Sons Finally Gets a Sister!”
The first Sunday, it was snowing but this little girl three days old was going to church – we arrived at a packed house and people in pink – men, women, teens, children – pink dresses – blouses – shirts – ties – boxes of pink bows were at the entrances of the building in case anyone did not get the memo. Everyone wore pink! The elders presented Bob with a book on raising daughters and gave us a framed print of a little boy looking into a crib with a baby girl in in, “For this child, we prayed…” it said. What a joyous occasion to introduce our little girl to the world, and we have never stopped enjoying this gift of girlhood.
Our daughter and sister has been more than all of us ever imagined. She is girly and adventurous – feminine and athletic – funny and serious – careful yet courageous – reserved yet fearless – personality plus plus plus! She is dramatic and often loud – quiet and often gentle – dependent and independent. She would lead the way to the roller coasters as soon as she was tall enough. She was the one in the front car with her hands up! She is a lover of people and happy to spend time alone. Creative – daring – sensitive – artsy – practical! She is content – secure – at peace!
Her brothers have adored her since her first arrival. They fought for years over who got to carry her into a room anywhere we went. She was the object of attention, probably because the headbands and bows were so large on her tiny head. I had waited for this moment for many years and wanted to make the most of it. She loved hairbows, dressing up, and twirly dresses. She accompanied me to every sports practice and game for years – soccer, wrestling, tennis, football, swimming, soccer, track. We together have held our own in the midst of a major boy house. She was the first one to have her own bedroom – one of the perks of her position in our family! The boys could not believe it. She is sensitive but not easily offended. She could handle teasing and special names the boys chose for her. The brothers learned to treasure her and appreciate her – no insults or put downs – they have surrounded her with support and lots of love! They are so proud of her.
Today we celebrate this little girl who has grown into a beautiful young woman, who wants to change her world – checks out books to learn Russian – wants to go to Russia and minister there. Her artistic ability in dance is so powerful and her desire to grow in her skills motivates her to ask for help and work hard. She is a diligent student, who does not require a great deal of oversight because of her goals for herself.
She gave her heart to Christ as a little girl and continues to desire his direction and plans for her life. She sets goals and works hard to attain them – she prays about her aspirations and watches God open and close doors. I really cannot say enough about this girl. I love her as my daughter and also as my sister in Christ. I cannot wait to see all that is ahead for her and how God will use her gifts and abilities. She loves to read and dance – sing and write – exercise and cook – she is just pure fun with her crazy thinking and acting! She is an easy friend to be around – not easily offended – friendly – outgoing – wish we could bottle and sell her energy!!
Mary Kathryn, you are a gift to this family – you are a girl of vision – a girl of conviction – a girl with great freedom to be who God wants you to be – you are a delight to all who know you. I am thankful that people were wrong and God knew that He had a girl just for me. You are a reminder to me of the goodness of God; He just knew that we needed you and you needed us! I love you deeply and so look forward to this next year with you. As an only daughter with brothers, I have treasured my relationship with my mom, who is now 90 years old; I look forward to this same ongoing treasure in our relationship! I love you – Happy 16th Birthday! I am thankful – blessed – proud – honored – to know you and have relationship with you!
After we had our daughter, those same people I mentioned earlier, said that we would get over it – the novelty would wear off – but through the years, I can honestly say – we have never gotten over having this girl!