On this day, 20 years ago, my husband and I had been in the labor and delivery room since 6 am, anticipating with growing excitement the arrival of our first baby.  We didn’t know if it would be a son or daughter, we had no idea what to expect but after months of waiting, even two weeks past our due date, we were more than ready to see him or her.  She finally came around 11:20 pm that night, right before the new year began.  Kimberly Ellen Klotz.  Our first child, our little girl.  We looked at her with awe and through happy tears, overwhelmed with gratitude and satisfaction.  We felt we had grown up so much in just one day.  We were parents!  She was still and quiet and looked up at us with bright eyes wide open as if she was studying us.  It all seems so long ago now!  I’ll never forget how I felt, though, and how proud we were.  We still are.  I’m glad she survived being our first!  She’s always been a little cautious and a little shy, waiting until she was almost 15 months old to take her first step.  I remember at family birthdays when we sung to her how she’d reach out for my hand or the hand of little sister Kaitlin for comfort when she found herself in the unwanted center of attention.  She has been an able leader for her two sisters, imaginative, nurturing.  She’s even been called a “mom” by her friends as she grew older because of her caring way.  She was and still is delightful, cheerful, gentle, musical, an avid reader from the day she learned how, a romantic, an artist, and a devoted friend/daughter.  The passion and emotion that runs deep within her isn’t always visible on the outside.

Because she can be quiet and kind of private about her feelings and thoughts, I find myself still getting to know this sweet girl, my Kimmi.  I’ve been learning this year more than in years past how much my girls really belong to God.  He has allowed John and I to help raise them, and sure there is a resemblance in their appearance and personalities, but we can take no credit for all that they are.  It’s wonderful and amazing to me to watch my girls grow and see more and more of what God’s created in them that I never knew.

Being the firstborn, Kimmi was the first to read, the first to ride a two-wheeler, the first to go to school, drive a car, get a job, and go to college.  Each stage of life she takes another step into her future and a little further away from me and her dad.  That’s the way it’s supposed to be.  Thankfully she hasn’t stepped away in her heart.  Her love for us is so evident and I couldn’t be more thankful for that.  I’ve been thinking back to when I was her age and how my life’s path parted from my parents more and more.  They were less and less a part of my everyday life, my circle of friends, my church, and everything.  That’s the way it goes.  It’s just a little bittersweet for me this year.  Kimmi’s also the first of her sisters to leave the teenage years behind.  She’s making her own way and though I know she needs us, it’s not in the same ways as it was before.

And so, tonight she takes another step into her future, into her lovely grown-up self.  I hope she knows she can come back for a visit any time.

Happy 20th Birthday, Kimmi.  I love you.