22 years ago I became a mother. I spent the first 4 months sick and the last 5 months sick. Gained 5 pounds and lost 18 when my 8 pound 9 ounce baby girl was born.
My first words upon hearing her cry was that she sounded like my grandmother (Grandma Bacon). When I saw her, I was astounded to see that she also looked like my grandmother. My beloved grandmother passed away while I was pregnant with my first child.
I was instantly in love with this little being that I was never supposed to have been able to conceive.
As she grew, she constantly showed her loving and very, very intelligent personality. My mother was totally and completely smitten by her. My dad could rarely get his hands on her when my mom was around.
When Amanda was 7 and my mother passed away, 9 adults formed a circle of chairs and sat there for support while we had to tell her that her beloved grandmother and biggest fan had passed away before she had an opportunity to say goodbye in person.
My dad had the hardest time telling his beloved grandchild, but she instinctively already knew what had happened.
Since then, Amanda has seen her beloved grandfather pass, who loved her more than she could ever imagine. She saw her grandmother pass away just four short months after my father.
One of her most painful and transformative sadnesses came when her Aunt Trisha passed away. This hurt her deeply and continues to cause her sadness. Aunt Trisha was a Godly woman who fought brain tumors for the entire 15 years we had the pleasure of knowing her. She was a missionary in her own right and left a legacy of love and light in her wake.
Amanda has seen her own physical maladies in her day, she cut off her thumb when she was one, suffered severe whiplash four months later in a simple fall.
When she was three we were told to be prepared for the ugliness that she could have cancer in the form of a massive tumor that protruded into her abdomen. It turned out to be benign and all that exists today is scar tissue from where it miraculously dissolved away.
As a teen, Amanda had her brother in the car with her and was headed down the driveway. Our neighbor was backing down the driveway in front of her with her 4 small children in the car with her. On the downward slope, the brakes on my car failed Amanda and she headed straight for the neighbors vehicle. She had a split-second to process, decide and react. She veered off the driveway and made way for a tree rather than plowing into the kids and mom in front of her. The impact was so violent that the tire and front quarter panel on the van were torn off. She and her brother were fine, just as importantly, so were the children and mom in her path. She became a hero that day.
Amanda may not have been most popular, the most beautiful, the most intelligent. But she is definitely the apple of her daddy's eye. She bats her eyes and playfully cries "Butttttt Dadddddyyyyyy" and daddy gives her her hearts' desires. Including a house that we could move into that was horse-ready so that she could begin to nurture her passion for horses. Two horses come and go.
College comes and she acquires Geisis, her beloved mare who suddenly passed away after three years together, just three short months ago. This beautiful young woman has learned so much about sadness, pain, life and love in her short 22 years so far.
But this living, tough as it may be, has formed her heart. It is still so tender and kind.
She works extremely hard every day and cares for horses every day which fills her with pride and gives her joy.
You may not have known all that this extraordinary woman has been through, and hopefully now, you will look upon her with the wonder and amazement we do everyday.
She has four brothers who absolutely adore her and speak of her daily.
We love her beyond words but I hope this inspires you to tell her yourself, just how amazing you find her to be.
This mother and father could not be more proud of any child. She is our princess.
What is my hope for her future? I hope that in the wake of sadnesses that she finds peace with God and a personal relationship with the one true King, Jesus. This relationship will carry her through whatever she faces in the future.
I could never have imagined that one little 8 pound bundle could transform my life and her daddy's life so much. We are grateful for her presence on this earth, always.
I know she has an amazing life ahead of her.
Happy Birthday to my beautiful Amanda Noelani Woods.