Twenty three years and a few months ago, Jeanie and I got a surprise. We thought we were going to be a family of five, but Jeanie got sick… morning sick! I remember how overwhelming it felt to know that I was going to be responsible for not three, but four children. At that time we had three little girls ages 4, 2 and 1. Life was pretty much overwhelming all the time. It’s strange how clearly I remember feeling afraid that I wouldn’t be able to handle raising 4 children. I was really scared! But I handled it the way I handled everything. Quietly. I decided that my family needed me to be the leader and I I could and would be the dad of four children and with God’s help, we’d be ok. (This is going to sound cheesy, but it is true). When I resigned myself that we were going to be a family of six, I felt the Lord speak to my heart. He told me that this child would be very special to me.
On May 26th, 1986, Leah Kathryn entered our life. From the beginning she was different from her sisters. While her sisters loved all the girlie toys and dressing up as princesses, Katie loved playing with cars, putting on big boots and helping me in the yard. When she was a little older, she helped me with my instrument repair business. She would take the instruments apart and clean them so I could do the repairs on them. She was a great help to me. I don’t know how much of her differences were built in to her DNA and how much was due to her determination to be her own person. Whichever it was, Kat is a copy of no one. She is her own person.
If I had only one word to describe her, I would say that Kat is tenacious. I’ve heard it said that there are three kinds of people in this world… Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what just happened. Kat makes things happen. She sees things that others miss. She understands how things work and that frequently frustrates her because things frequently don’t work very well. As Kat helps to fix things that bother her, the world becomes a better place for us all.
The more I get to know Kat, the more I see a wonderful, compassionate woman who cares so much about others. Kat is a great listener. Her friends and family know they can trust her with their secrets and she helps us work through things more than she knows. What a gifted and beautiful person! When God spoke to my heart that this little girl would be special to me, I didn’t have any idea just how special she would be. After 23 years of her special presence, I can truly say to her, “Kat, I love you dearly. I am so glad I get to be your dad.” Happy Birthday!