Happy Birthday, Amanda! My youngest daughter is 19 today. I could write about her for pages and pages and days and days. She is one of the most wonderful people you could ever hope to meet. I know that sounds just like parental hyperbole, but I swear to you that it is not.
In our family, Amanda is the one with the most names. She is the baby and I know of no one (I've never even HEARD of anyone) that doesn't adore her. Consequently, she has picked up dozens of pet names. For reasons that I've never understood, her high school classmates used to call her "Amanda Dot.com". That perhaps stemmed from the fact that when her mother and I wed, we each hyphenated our last names, such that when the girls were born they were stuck with last names that had 15 letters, plus a hyphen and most people were just intimidated by it. We call her "Mandy" and "Panda" and the one my dad gave her on her 1st birthday that has "colored" her for life -- "Pink Pig". I call her "Mannie Ree". Because she and her older sister look so much alike (and are often mistaken for twins, despite Melody being 22 months older) she often gets called "Mel-Amanda".
Amanda wanted in this world and she wanted her mom and me as her parents. She was not to be denied. We had already stopped having kids after two. Amanda would have none of that. I could tell the story of her conception, but I won't do that (despite pleas last night at the party that I "spice up" my blog). However, I will say that on the day that she was born, she burst upon the scene in grand fashion. Her mother suddenly announced to me that Amanda was here and we could not get out of the house fast enough. We called my Mom to come baby-sit Jennifer and Melody and I drove her to the hospital as fast as my car would take me (well, ok, so that is an exaggeration). However, it is true -- as remarkable as it sounds -- that I did pass a police car with its lights on. The cop looked up at me in stunned amazement and just let me go (by that time we were so close to the hospital that I think he figured out what was happening). I pulled nearly into the front doors of the hospital and they came out to get her. She was, um, vocal about her condition and the nurses tried to calm her by assuring her that she had plenty of time - "Is this your first, sweetie?" they asked. "No, damnit it's my third!" she screamed at them. Then they panicked. I quickly parked the car and raced upstairs to maternity. I found them in the prep room with the doctor already playing Johnny Bench and no one in gowns. Since I expected them to go to the delivery room instead of delivering Amanda there, I was surprised and asked "What's going on?" as I walked into the room. The doctor looked up at me and said in an incredulous voice, "You're having a baby". Amanda's mom, in the meantime, is biting people's heads off and letting loose with a string of curse words that I had never heard out of her mouth. It was too late in the process for drugs. Mercifully, Amanda was born within 5 mintues.
She has been a joy in my life every minute since that day. She endears herself to all who get the pleasure of meeting her. She is a thespian and a pianist and a vocalist and an aspiring psychologist (wouldn't you know that someone in my family would pursue that career!). She is in college on a full scholarship as she is so very much smarter than I am; she will graduate this coming May and then plans to pursue her graduate degree (she thinks at UT in Austin).
Drop in on her blog and wish her a happy birthday, or leave her a birthday wish here as she reads my blog also. Happy Birthday, Amanda -- I love you!