Twenty-four years ago Pam went into labour with our third child. We had two wonderful sons at home, and as befits a woman of faith, Pam wasn’t asking for a daughter, just a well-born child that she could raise for God. We had Elizabeth (dedicated to God) picked out as a girl’s name for months, but really had not been able to decide on a boy’s name. Perhaps that alone was telling.

I however was praying earnestly for a girl. Not for myself, but for the joy I knew that it would bring Pam. She didn’t know it, but I had already developed a special bond with the boys, a bond that only another Dad will understand. I wanted her to have that special bond with a daughter, and I was just delighted when they announced Liz’s birth.

Through the years I have always tried to let Pam have a little more room with Liz to develop that bond. When discipline was needed I always tried to be the one to step it in so as to preserve their friendship on an even keel. It has meant a rocky road for my relationship with our daughter, but nothing worth giving ever comes without a price.

So on her twenty-fourth birthday I am going to take the opportunity to say just how privileged I have been to be the father of a wonderfully spirited and delightful girl who has put her poor father through the wringer on more than one occassion. I love you dearly Liz, more than I will ever be able to express or even show this side of heaven.

My wish for you this coming year is that you will begin to realize the incredible ability and personality strengths you possess, and start to experience the joy that the full exercise of that ability and those strengths will give you. Happy Birthday, sweetie.