Twenty-one years ago today, I became a dad. The advent of that event was...unorthodox, the circumstances less than ideal. I had far more questions than I had answers. But she arrived anyway. Late in the evening on July 17, Susan had been having a few contractions. Some friends were over for a pizza dinner and someone had heard that taking a walk might initiate the full-blown labor, so we did. Shortly after midnight, we were on our way to the hospital. Later that evening, at 6:56 on July 18, Mary Ashleigh Hughes came into our world and changed it forever.
I will never forget that moment, or that little girl. She was full of life and energy. Everywhere she went, she made people smile. We ran her up and down the road, she logged more miles than a long-distance truck driver, taking her to see every relative - distant or close - it didn't matter.
It doesn't seem like it's been 21 years. Many things have changed since then, but some things have not. Mary Ashleigh still brings life and energy into everything she touches. What a great blessing she has been to me.