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It May Be Black Friday To The Rest Of You…

… but to me it's a day to rejoice.

On this day, 10 years ago, fear gnawed at my heart. My wife was being prepped for emergency surgery, while I knelt at an altar in a chapel three floors below, begging for the life of my child. My Valentine's Day baby was being taken before Thanksgiving, for the doctors felt her best chance of survival was not in my wife's womb, but in an incubator.

An hour later, KatyBeth was delivered.

Bare seconds after being pulled from the womb, my prayers were answered. She cried. And when they dried her off and stimulated her, she really cried.

She wasn't even supposed to be able to breathe, much less cry. But nobody told KatyBeth that.


And that has been her life ever since – defying expectations.

We were told she'd suffer from blindness. Profound developmental delays. Seizures. Learning disabilities. She'd never walk.

Well, she walks. She doesn't run well, but she walks.

She's an honor student. And this year, she's doing it without the help of a dedicated aide.

She's reached every milestone. Maybe not when the child development books said she should, but she met them nonetheless.

She wears glasses, but she's not blind. She has problems seeing through a rifle scope, so she shoots her AR15 with a red dot sight.

She's just like every little girl her age, Barbies and kittens and Justin Bieber and chattering non-stop and being embarassed to kiss her father in public.

Oh, but she's so much more.

She's not vain or petty. She has an open and giving heart.

She's no coward. She has her fears, but she faces them.

And she conquers them.

She is delicate, but she is not frail. She falls, quite often. But she gets up by herself, and if she cries it's only briefly.

Quit isn't in her vocabulary. She doesn't spit in the face of adversity. She just faces it with an unconquerable smile, and eventually Adversity realizes it's wasting its time and just gives up.

I'm 44 years old, and my 10-year-old daughter has taught me more about courage than anyone. One day, I hope to be half the man my daughter is.

And today, she's ten years old, and I couldn't be prouder.

Happy birthday, little girl.

Comments - Add Yours

  • Don Gwinn

    What a great kid! Never met her, just been reading about her for years. Congratulations.

  • thatotherjean

    Happy birthday, KatyBeth! You’re doing your Papa proud. I hope you don’t mind that we read about you and cheer.

  • Mdev

    Very rarely does a blog post bring me to tears but you have accomplished that today. Keep up the good work obviously she gets some of those values from you. From the few people I know who have met your daughter at blog shoots everything you say is true. She seems pretty amazing and will achieve even greater things in the future.


    Happy Birthday Katy Beth!! from FarmMom and FarmDad.

  • David Neylon

    Happy birthday KatyBeth!

  • Marc Boutet

    Gosh this perperoni i’m eating is spicy, it’s made my eyes water all of a sudden…
    Rock On Katy Beth! Happy Birthday!

  • John Galt

    Happy Birthday KatyBeth! And congratulations, AD, on a wonderful child who beat the odds. To death. :)

  • Mike “FossilMedic” Ward

    Happy Birthday KatyBeth!

  • Jeffro

    Happy Birthday, KatyBeth!

  • Jennifer Oclaray Hast

    10 Years! She’s all the fingers now! Happy Birthday girlie. I’ve still got the map she gave me the first time I met her.

  • Mary Fusco Mattioni

    Happy Birthday KatyBeth!

  • Harriet Engle

    Happy birthday, KatyBeth!! Make it a great day!

  • Brighid

    HaPpY BiRtHdAy KatyBeth…and many many more…!

    AD: We have travelled this path with my youngest grand…she makes the rest of us so humble by her Awesomeness!

  • mr618

    Happy Birthday, KatyBeth, you’re almost grown up now. Ask Dad for driving lessons…

    And AD, ever since I saw that photo of her as Abby (11-02-09), I knew she was gonna kick some heavy-duty rear. Great kid, you have every right to be proud of her.

  • Mitzi Robinson

    I just blogstalk, but had to comment here. Love is my favorite thing in this whole world, and you are doing a great job sharing it. Sounds like KatyBeth got a little of that from you. Thank you for bringing tears to my eyes. :)

  • Scott Kenny

    Happy birthday, kiddo! Let’s see if you can get those puppy-dog eyes to convince dad to get you a couple more boxes of ammunition!

  • julie

    Happy birthday KatyBeth!

  • LittleRed1

    Lot of dust in my office this morning. Yeah, that’s it. A belated Happy Birthday to Miss KatyBeth and may she (and her family) enjoy many more.

  • Old_NFO

    She’s a good kid :-) And yes you should be proud of her!!! :-)

  • Christina LMT

    Happy Birthday, KatyBeth!

  • Wing and a Whim

    Happy Belated Birthday, KatyBeth! I bet this year’s going to be the best one yet!

  • Linda Tackett

    Happy Belated Birthday, Katy Beth! You are on absolutely amazing girl!!!!!!!!

  • Linda Tackett

    I sure wish I could spell, I meant One absolutely amazing girl! I’m getting old!