Story for My Daughter on Her First Birthday

Thirty years ago, the nurse did not ask my mom, “do you have a playlist?” And because I – a tangled mess – was cut out, I’ve always wondered which song played the day my mom and dad drove me home. It must have been some country song because the car radio was usually tuned to 99.9 KLUR.

So, twelve months ago, when the nurse asked if I had a playlist, I paid close attention to the songs streaming through my phone. Which song would welcome you to the world?

“Why aren’t my songs playing in order?”

“It’ll only shuffle unless you pay for the upgrade,” your dad said.

Minutes became hours, and it was anyone’s guess if an electric guitar or a banjo would introduce the next song. That evening, the doctor and nurses and strange shadowers experienced my eclectic music taste:

Switchfoot, Judy Garland, City on a Hill, The Rolling Stones, Chris Tomlin, Bob Dylan, Jakob Dylan, Alison Krauss, Jars of Clay, Modest Mouse, Doc Watson, Tom Petty, Jill Philips, and Aaron Shust.

The doctor was shocked at the variety, but embarrassment had fled along with modesty. Music is medicine, and the playlist of my all-time favorite songs was good medicine. My favorite nurse asked, “who is this?” and, “you know Doc Watson, too?” In the throes of pain and unfamiliarity, we bonded.

The first D chord of my favorite song sounded, and I told your dad, “she’ll be born on this song.” I grasped his hand. It was a God thing. I was sure of it. I checked the clock. “And she’ll be born the day after my birthday.” Your dad and I had a little bet going.

The last notes of “Free Fallin'” played and you had not arrived. Midnight came and went and still, you had not arrived. “I guess that’s my song, just like yesterday was my birthday. She wants her own song and her own day.”

It’s better that way.

Then, that song played.

That song took me back to the morning I found out I was pregnant, the morning joy filled my expectant heart. There, at the junction of Loop 1604 and Highway 281, that song played and moved me. God moved. I felt loved and full of love and I was never so happy in all my life.

That song was “Ever Be,” and I said, “this is it. She’ll be born on this song.”

And you were. Shivering, I took you into my arms and felt loved and full of love. We named you Abigail Grace, which means Joy Undeserved. You, Abigail, are my joy underserved from the Father and I love you.

We love you.

Happy First Birthday, sweet baby.


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