I knew on July 26, 1995 that someday this day would come. This was the day my beautiful daughters were born. First came Jenna. She hardly made a sound. She weighed 5 lbs and had more hair than my Dad. Then came Katie. She weighed in at 2 lbs, 12 oz. She was gray and not breathing when she was born. The staff were all trying to be positive, but I could see their faces and concern. After two of the longest minutes of my life, Katie let out a scream that I believe was heard all the way to God's throne! She announced to the world that she was alive! She has not slowed down since. Jenna was laid back, just taking it all in. They were premature, so they spent some time in the NICU. Jenna stayed two weeks; Katie stayed for a whole month. Their first year was filled with doctor visits, home heart monitors, and very little sleep.

As they grew, I fell more in love with my daughters each day. Watching them play, listening to them laugh, and cuddling with them were the high points of my life in those days.They were both so much fun! You could tell early on that they would always be close.They did everything together. I have so many stories I could tell about fun times I had with my girls, or "skwirls," as I called them. There were some scares along the way, but I wouldn't trade those days for anything.

This year the girls graduated high school and last weekend they left for college. Separate colleges. It is the first time in their lives they have been apart. Granted they are only about 45 minutes apart, but it is still a milestone for them...and for me. My son Cody is a junior this year; my son Timmy is also in college. But Jenna and Katie are my babies, and now they have officially "flown the nest." 

I am happy for my girls. They have come a long way from the NICU. I could not be more proud. At the same time, I am heartsick. It is a big, cruel world out there. To turn them completely over to the Lord in this way has been a challenge. I have faith that He is with them even as I write, keeping them safe, drawing them into His presence. My prayer is that ALL my children lean on Jesus each and every moment of each and every day. 

This year I decided to do something I have never done before. I have begun writing letters to each of my children for milestones such as this. In the letters, I offer some advice and a piece of my heart. I hope that one day they will treasure them. I also hope that one day this blog will be something my whole family can look back on after I am gone and get a glimpse of who I was. My hope is that they will all see Jesus in me.

For now, I am the father of FOUR college students. ::faints::


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