My little girl...

It is incredible how fast 24 years can pass. Yesterday she was a little girl and today she is a married woman. On the first day that we brought Gabby home from the hospital she slept all night in her own crib with confidence that would always be apparent in her life. She was such a secure and certain little baby and she loved to lay down and sleep all by herself. Oh how we treasured to sneak in her room and watch her sleep. She would be the baby of the family for three years until Cade came along, which gave her big sister, Christian plenty of time to become her protector and second mother. Those girls brought  such joy into my soul on too many occasions to count. During our bed time rituals when they were preschoolers I would go into their room to read them a story and say our prayers and Gabby would always ask me to make room for her imaginary friends. She didn’t just have one imaginary friend but she had THREE! She had three imaginary friends, that were named Carlos, Felda and Zinna. One night when our prayers were over Gabby in a sleepy voice asked me to open her bedroom window a little and to leave it open. When I I asked her why she said because her friends will be home late tonight and they will need to get in the house through the window. Choking back the laughter I told Gabby to please tell her three friends to come home on time from now on because I don’t like leaving the window open late at night. When Gabby started riding the bus to school in elementary, she insisted that I allow her to catch the bus alone. But I would sneak out into the yard and look down the street at the end of the block where he sat and I would watch her until she got on the bus. She was always so independent and self sufficient. I knew early on that Gabrielle would be a teacher because she would line up her stuffed animals and dolls in classroom form in her bedroom and teach them new lessons every day. While she was in pre school Gabby announced to the family one day that  from now on we should begin to call her Skippy because that was her name. And, I still call her Skippy to this day. As she grew up we would all dance in the living room together to music played too loud and  while we were shopping at the grocery store we would hold hands and skip through the aisles. I remember teaching her how to drive in our old Dodge pick up truck and one day we ran out of gas and had to walk to the station. Oh how we laughed!

    During her senior year in high school we took a missions trip to Africa to serve the church and the abandoned children in their care. I have a picture of 18 year old Gabrielle rocking a little girl named Danielle who was about three weeks old. Danielle had been found in a dumpster and rescued by the church and that day watching Gabby rock that little baby and feed her was transformational for my soul. Now, the decades have passed, college is completed and she is teaching gifted students to appreciate the English literature that she devoted her life to reading. Along the way she fell in love with an incredible man that has become a treasured member of our family. Noah, we have prayed for you for many years, that Gabby would find you and that you would love her and serve Jesus with her and build your life together. We are so fortunate to have you join our family Noah.

On May 26th at 5 PM in a beautiful old historic church I walked her down the aisle and gave her away. When the pastor asked, “Who gives this bide?” I had to swallow the lump in my throat and a quarter century of life and say, “Her Mother and I.”  And just like that, my little girl is a lady. 

I’m proud of you Skippy, every day and I’m so glad that Jesus let you grow up in my house. 

Doug McAllister