Love At First Sight

Have you ever had the head over heels falling in love feeling?  Have ever seen someone and immediately known that you are experiencing a life altering change?   I have been blessed to have had this happen to me and I’m sure many of you have had this shift happen to you too.   Mine took place on a cool April morning in 1988.

I remember it like it was yesterday, it was April 6th 1988.   I had that feeling that something big was about to happen.  You plan for a Wednesday of getting up in the morning, going to work and coming home to a loving wife and then doing it all over again.  Today was going to be different.  Plans had been made but, when the life changing event is about to happen you have no choice but to take action.  This Wednesday was the day.

It actually started at about 3am.  I was fast asleep, as it should be, when I am awoken by the sound of the shower running.  My wife, Kathie, appears a few moments later, turns on the bedroom light and announces, ‘It’s time!’.  Now? I say.  Yes! She says with a tone of impatience in her voice.  Grab the stuff it’s time to go!

As you may know, both Kathie and I grew up in the Winter Park area.  As such, all of our support was on that side of town.  Due to the attractive nature of the price of housing on the west side of Orlando in the late 80’s we had made our home near Ocoee about a 40-minute drive from Winter Park.  The nice thing about driving across town at 3am on a Wednesday is that there is not much traffic.  I took advantage of that fact.  Speeding, running red lights and taking a general lack of regard for the driving laws of the state of Florida, I got to Winter Park in about 25 minutes.

If you have not have guessed by now, my destination was the maternity ward of Winter Park Hospital.  We, more accurately she, was about to have our first baby.  I park in the ER entry to the hospital and loudly announce that my pregnant wife needs a wheel chair and must be rushed to the delivery area of the hospital.  I can’t say I remember how we got up to the maternity ward but I do recall getting to the upper floor of the hospital where there are double doors going to the delivery rooms.

It then hits me.  There is a blood curdling scream from one of the rooms behind the double doors.  I look at Kathie and she looks at me.  The next words out of my mouth came as a shock to the both of us.  ‘I need to move the car.  I’ll be right back’ and off I go.  I have to admit while moving the Toyota Cressida there was some thought of what had I gotten myself into.  Later in life Kathie admitted she had the same thoughts and was also wondering if I was going to come back and see this delivery through.
I did come back, right away I must add.  I won’t go into all the details of the delivery, as for me they are a bit of a blur, other than to say the doctor and nurses at Winter Park Hospital were all excellent and the delivery went on without a hitch.  Kathie was a rock star and we had our baby girl, Jessica, in our arms by 6am that same day.

That is when it happened, it was love at first sight.  I made sure Kathie was doing ok and when they took Jessica to the nursery I followed her out the door.  I sat in the nursery oblivious to all that was going on around me.  Counting fingers and toes, stroking hair, counting fingers and toes again, looking into her eyes.  Falling completely in love with this little 7-pound girl.

Apparently, I had been in the nursery for a while.  It was 10am with one of the nurses came to me and said ‘Your wife is wondering if you are still here and if so if you are ok.’ ‘We’re getting ready to bring your daughter to your wife so you can join them in their room down the hall.’
I moved out of the way and sheepishly came into the room where Kathie and Jessica were bonding.  It was one of the best days of my life as I’m sure it was for any of you that have been blessed with children.

Kathie looked and me and we both knew that our lives would never be the same.  Kathie also knew that this little baby girl had me wrapped around her little finger, all ten of them.  I know because I counted them.

Happy Birthday Jessica! Love you always!!  

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