Today is my daughter Shelby's 16th birthday. It also happens to be the day Kansas plays Memphis for the NCAA basketball championship. Shelby isn't happy about it. She'd prefer not to share her birthday with the Jayhawks, which I can understand. But the fact that the game falls on her birthday brings back lots of memories of the day she was born.
[Above: Shelby is "all smiles" as she opens presents this morning; At Left: the infectious grin we haven't seen since she became a teenager]
I'll never forget the night before she was born, April 6, 1992, sitting down to watch the Duke/Michigan NCAA title game. I was settling in to watch the game on my new RCA 35" big tube TV when Leslie got home from work at the Treasury Dept. She had worked late, as she often did those days, supporting Secretary Nicholas Brady in the Bush I Administration. This particular night she arrived home saying she felt "unprepared" for the impending birth, even though her due date was still three weeks off. Must have been her motherly intuition kicking in for the first time.
The fact is we weren't prepared. The crib had arrived, but was still sitting in a box waiting for me to assemble. The Dutailier glider-rocker had not arrived. The nursery was not ready for the baby and I was afraid Leslie was going to make me put the crib together that night instead of watching the game. This was obviously unnecessary since a first child never comes three weeks early! So as a diversion, I suggested she go pack her overnight bag and she'd feel better. To my surprise, it worked.
Leslie left me alone in the basement of our Alexandria, VA, duplex to watch the game. It wasn't a great game. Many people think it was one of the worst finals in the history of the tournament (Duke won by 20) despite the hype around Michigan's then famous, now-scandalous Fab Five. How could it compare to the East Regional final when Duke beat Kentucky on Christy Laettner's last-second turn-around jumper? I can't stand Duke or Laettner but that was a classic March Madness game.
Anyway, Shelby woke us up around 3:00 to go to the hospital. It was a good thing Leslie had her bag packed (thanks to my brilliant suggestion!), although there was no mad dash to the hospital. Leslie even got on me for driving too slow (a first) as we headed through Alexandria on GW Parkway towards George Washington University Hospital (known for being the place where President Ronald Reagan was taken after being shot in 1981).
Less than 9:00 hours later, Shelby Faye Williams was born.
[At left: The day we brought Shelby home from the hospital...note that I was wearing a Jayhawks shirt...a good sign!]
So here we are 16 years later. Tonight we're celebrating Shelby's birthday by watching the Jayhawks play for the NCAA title. I hope we're all smiling when the game is over like she used to when she was a baby!
Let's go Jayhawks...win one for the Shelbers!