It was ten years ago today, September 10, 1999, that God blessed our family with Carley Renae. In Wichita Falls. Our only child not born in Austin. The only one we knew was coming the day she came.
An alarm clock woke us up at 7:00 that morning to drive to the hospital, not water breaking and painful contractions at 3am like with the other two. But the delivery took just as long. It wasn’t until after dinner that Friday evening, after we ran Granny and Grandpa and Gram and Gran-Gran and Pop-Pop and Aunt Pam out of the room that Carley made her first appearance. She just needed a little privacy. We thought maybe she was shy.
We were wrong. There’s not a shy bone in Carley’s body. Never has been.
Carley’s been given plenty of nicknames in her ten years—that’s just part of being in our family, I think. Carl. Carley Sue. Gnarley (which Jimmy Mitchell took to the next level when he started calling her Gnarles Barkley). Little Bit.
But Carley has always been and will always be The Bear. It began early in her life. She wouldn’t just cry when she needed something. She screamed. When she was wet. When she was hungry. When she wanted something. Anything. She would scream in a way the other two never screamed. Like she was furious. Carrie-Anne was the first one to call her a bear. And it stuck. It was her attitude and her angry screaming as a baby that started it.But as it turns out, Carley is our most sensitive child. She cries at the drop of a hat, as often in reaction to the pain of others as for her own pain. And she is our most affectionate. She loves to hug and cuddle and play. She’s always grabbing our hands or jumping on our backs. She went from angry bear to cuddle bear in a hurry. But we just call her Carley Bear.
Carley is a sweet, funny, outgoing, loud, compassionate little girl. She keeps us constantly entertained with her singing and dancing. She says exactly what’s on her mind, which also keeps us very entertained. She’s a voracious reader. She’s a great artist. She likes Sponge Bob and ponies. She is a beautiful gift from our God. And she fills our lives with joy.
Happy Birthday, little girl. We love you.