Saturday, March 5, 2011


This person changed everything about me. When she came into my life, I was quite unprepared to deal with a young lady. They were a mystery to me. 23 years later, that hasn't changed much. They are still an enigma. But I get a new lesson almost daily from this one.

My wife and I named her Amanda. But we have always called her Manda (and some other less flattering nick names I'll omit from this post) just because it rolls off the tongue easier. Some of my favorite memories of my children and I are summer days in the backyard. Them sitting on my lap eating popsicles and Ice Cream cones. Or eating fresh watermelon and spitting the seeds on the lawn (which actually resulted in melons growing amongst the fescue.

On one occasion we were being visited by my brother-in-law, seated at the dinning room table eating Ice Cream Cones, when Amanda announced that her ice cream smelled funny. My b-i-l looked puzzled sniffed his own cone and glanced at me. I was straight faced, sniffed at my cone and shrugged at him. She sniffed her cone again, said "It  smells really funny" and extended her arm to allow her uncle to confirm her suspicions. As he leaned forward to help determine what might be wrong, Amanda jabbed him in the nose with the ice cream. She was probably 4 or 5 at the time. And she had out witted a USMC full bird Colonel. 

My son Kyle and my daughter Amanda.
Granted that I was away on deployments most of their early years. But I do not remember even one time these two ever exchanging heated words. Kyle has a very analytical mind. math and logic come easy for him. Amanda is every bit as intelligent as her older brother. But her inclinations are more attuned towards the social sciences. 
On her 8th birthday she asked for a dog. A puppy is more what she said. "I'll take care of it. I'll fed it and clean up after it. It will be my dog. You won't have to do a thing."

I fell for it, hook line and sinker.

13 years later, ol' Shadow is still guarding the back yard from intruders. A rescue pup from the county dog pound, Shadow started out as an 8 pound bundle of high impact energy, and was a very friendly dog. But in desperate need of training. She can still run like the wind. But not for as long as she used to. After a one month, 4 session obedience class, offered by the local Pet Smart, Shadow was able to walk at the heel, come, sit, lay down and shake hands on command. And we learned how to break her from the annoying habit of jumping up on everyone who enters the yard. Yes, I said yard. Shadow, like all the dogs I have ever owned is an outside dog.
When I came home from the nursing home in 2007, completely paralyzed from the neck down, Shadow would sit right outside of my window, next to my hospital bed, during the days. And curl up there and sleep during the night.

Amanda has always had a loving heart. She genuinely cares about people. This lead here to choose psychology as her college major. 
Here is a photo I stole off of her facebook page this morning. The baby she is holding is the new born daughter of the youth pastor from a local church. Just so you know...

But I do have an announcement to share.

My little girl 



MsDarkstar said...

Congrats to Manda!
Nice to see a proud Dad!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to you and to Amanda. Having just recently graduated with my first bachelors I understand the work that went into the achievement. Shadow looks like our Bear,a Lab-Chow-Damn Golden Retriever that jumped the back Fence!She is the best dog I have ever had.
Rey B

Marnie said...

Proud Daddy you should be :0) Your daughter is beautiful. Congratulations on her education xo

Karen said... ALL of you.. on a job well done.

Dogs are truly our best friends. A few years back when my daughter was in a terrible wreck and things weren't looking good.. in a weak moment I had collapsed on my bed and sobbed out loud. My dog jumped up on the bed and lay next to me and cried right alongside me. He did it so resolutely that it made me stop out of pure awe. I swear he was feeling my pain and sympathizing.

Red Shoes said...

Being a college prof, here is my comment...


Your daughter is an amazing person... but then again, look who she has for a Dad!!!

They do have a way with us, don't they??


My ADHD Me said...

Hurray for Her!!
I'm sure your brain genes were a big help!!!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to your daughter!! :D What a beautiful tribute to her, you're a proud, wonderful dad! :D

Nerissa said...

wow--wonderful and touching story!...cheers to all wonderful dads!...

Jo said...

Congratulations, Manda...! I have a feeling your Daddy is very proud of you. (I'm going to have to try that ice cream joke...)

What exquisitely beautiful children Kyle and Amanda are.

I'm not too sure about Shadow, though. I think she probably has more charm than beauty. Just my kind of dawg. :-)

Cloudia said...

Congratulations to a great American family!

You have a lot to be proud of!!!!!


What a lovely family you have, Kurt.

Congratulations to Manda on her degree.

You must be awfully proud.

Cocaine Princess said...

Well done! Truly a lovely post.