I wish Mommy had brought her camera with her tonight. And yet, the camera lens would only have captured the cute little redheaded baby girl eating tortilla chips at the Mexican restaurant. The camera might have caught her daddy and mommy sitting next to her. But it wouldn’t have been able to record all the memories flooding through your mommy’s mind.
Papa took us all out to eat at the local Mexican restaurant tonight, September 14, 2008. Just like he did seven years ago, after church on Sunday, September 16, 2001. Your daddy and mommy sat next to each other then, too. Only they turned red with embarassment when Papa made them sit together because they were the people with birthdays. Little did we know that seven years later we’d sit in nearly the same spot in the same restaurant with our little baby girl…and more in love than we ever imagined back then.
You see, little Pumpkin, on that tragic day for our nation of September 11, 2001, your mommy, Uncle Will, and Grandpa were driving up to see your daddy’s family. Grandpa was going to help Papa with all the electrical stuff in Papa and Nanna’s house (it was just being built back then!). We heard the news about the Twin Towers on the radio, and turned around and went back home and watched the scenes unfold on television. When it looked like things had quieted down, we called Papa and Nanna, and found out your Aunt Megan had been in a wreck with a semi truck the day before! But we decided to get back on the road to their house. It still had to be wired. And Mommy could help with the cooking since Aunt Megan had to take it easy.
That Sunday lunch at the Mexican restaurant was on your daddy’s eighteenth birthday. Mommy was going to turn 18 just six days later, so they made both of us wear sombreros while everyone sang to us. We do have a picture of that. Our faces are nearly as red as Mommy’s sombrero.
Your daddy has always been the bestest friend to mommy. He wrote her a little note during that visit just asking how she was doing, and telling her he prayed for her every day. It made your mommy cry. I knew I would always count your daddy as one of my dearest friends. Four and a half years later we got married so we could keep getting to be better friends for the rest of our lives.
All those memories were flooding Mommy’s mind as she watched you tonight. You were wide-eyed, taking in everything and everyone in the restaurant. A nice old man came around and gave you a dollar bill for your piggy bank. Then he came back, saying you needed another. You loved the tortilla chips. You ate quite a few. And even more ended up on the floor under your high chair. The rice and tortilla were okay, but crunchy chips were the best. You even found a bit of cabbage salsa on the table and sampled it, too. You smiled at the lady sitting behind Mommy. She came up as she left and just had to know how old you were.
I know to everyone else we were just an ordinary family with an extraordinarily cute little baby girl. But to mommy, we were celebrating more than just a good year for the farm. We were celebrating she and daddy, the years they’ve shared together and the years they hope to share, their upcoming birthdays, and their precious baby girl…you!
Daddy’s out baling third cutting. You’re sleeping soundly in your crib. And mommy’s sitting here, her eyes overflowing with tears, as she recounts the way God has been so faithful to us through these past seven years. God has been so good to us, my little Pumpkin. He’s always faithful. Don’t ever forget that.
Goodnight, my little Pumpkin. I love you.