You were late.
Two weeks and a day longer we waited, me miserable, everyone asking. Each day I grew bigger and grew weary of the asking, the shocked expressions when I showed up at church still pregnant.
The buttons on my favorite shirt wouldn’t button. I’d long-since lost sight of my feet.
I tried to will myself into labor, and I think they kept me there an hour before sending me home, empty hands and full belly. It wasn’t like I didn’t know what being in labor felt like. I wanted to tell that to the nurses, tell them that this was the third time in three years that I’d done this.
Maybe you just weren’t content to share your day with sister. February 16 was a good day for Bailey, but it wasn’t to be your day. You needed a day, a month, all to yourself.
So finally the time was right. March 3, 2001, and you were stunning. Like a beauty arriving ‘fashionably late’ to a grand party, all the world primed and ready for you.
You’ve been doing things your way ever since, and I love the way you do things, Shelby.
I love the way you serve.
You would exhaust yourself in serving others, I’m sure of it. You seem to thrive on going the extra mile, and you do it without trumpets and announcements.
If I leave for 5 minutes, I know I’ll come back and catch you helping Ethan with a math problem instead of doing your own. I love you for that.
If someone is tired and their chore is piling up in the kitchen, you quietly sneak in there and get busy. Like tonight, with the groceries.
And if there is hard work, dirty work, under-the-house-with-spiders work, you’re right there. Smiling under the mask, I can see it in your eyes.
I love how you give.
If we give you a gift card for Christmas, you spend it on our birthdays. Money comes right through your hands and blesses others, even some on the other side of the world. You hold on to people, not things. You teach me that.
I have notes and cards and pictures and treasures all over because you want to share.
I love how you share your time. You know how special it is for little brother to get your attention, don’t you? Do you know how I love to see you giving up your ‘free time’ to play legos or Chutes and Ladders? How I love to see you serving guests and taking care of little ones?
You are unique and special, Shelby. Full of fire.
I love how you tell stories. Just like your daddy, with hands flailing and eyes bright and everybody take cover and move your drinks, Shelby’s talking! Remember the parking lot story? How when you were about four I couldn’t hold your hand in the parking lot because you were trying to tell me something, and you had to shake loose?
You make me smile.
Even though I had to wait, even though my hair went curly and my mind…just went, even though we all cried on the floor together when there were 3 little ones all diapered and dependent. I love every minute with you. Everything is excitement and energy with you.
You were so worth the wait.
Now the time goes too fast and you are eleven already? There are still trees to climb, mud-pies to make, forts to build and fish to catch. Let’s do more fun and less rushing, ok Shelly-bean?
Our Shelby Dawn. Daddy wanted Emily, I wanted Emma. So we chose Shelby and it’s you. And in the middle, between you and the Payne –
The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. ~ Psalm 4:18