It was a calm spring day on this day in 1993 when my pregnant wife Angela checked into Army Community Hospital at Ft. Riley, Kansas. It had been two years since I had redeployed back from Operation Desert Shield/Storm and any concerns about possible health issues I could have contracted had passed.
Angela was scheduled for a C-section to give birth to our first child. Both of our mothers were there, but sadly, my mother wouldn’t live to see her granddaughter’s first birthday as in November 1993, she would be diagnosed with liver cancer and pass in January 1994.
But the day was full of such expectation and as I watched, God’s everyday miracle, the gift of life came into our lives. Her name was Aubrey Elizabeth West.
She was a tiny little something, only 5 lbs 6 oz, as she was born one month early. I cried as tears rolled down Angela’s face. Of course we wanted to get back to our home in Manhattan (The Little Apple) Kansas, but were told there were complications with Aubrey’s blood, in other words, jaundice. It seemed that Aubrey had my blood type but there was still residual blood from Angela. She had to stay in the hospital and sit under ultra-violet light with an eye mask. It was painful having to watch our tiny daughter have blood drawn from her little veins. I wanted her to feel my love early so she would lie in my lap under the ultra-violet light as I talked to her. Aubrey even then showed she was a tough, little fighter.
Today, that little bundle turns 21 years old and I could not be more proud of her. She is a scholarship student at Nova Southeastern University here in South Florida — a Pre-Med/Biology major who now wants to be a neonatal doctor and work with,premature babies. She is highly responsible, disciplined, focused, studious, loves the Lord Jesus Christ, and is a solid conservative.
Later today I will bequeath to Aubrey the gift she wanted on this day: a new Taurus PT111 9 mm pistol with a concealed carry holster. She’s signed up for her class and certification, and she’s already a pretty good shot.
I asked God to bless that little daughter of ours and He has exceeded all expectations — as He always does.
So, Happy 21st birthday to Aubrey Elizabeth West. My Mom, your Grandmom passed away, but as you carry her name as your middle name, her spirit lives within you indeed.
Love ya Chili Bean, from your very proud Dad.