Dear Abby-Happy 23rd Birthday Tribute To My Beautiful Inside And Out Daughter

Dear Abby-Happy 23rd Birthday Tribute To My Beautiful Inside And Out Daughter

(Abby age less than one year and me in Destin, Florida)

Twenty three years ago today, September 6th, 1997, my dear Abby, aka Abigail Drennan Roush, was born. Most people are born at age zero. Not Abby. On the wisdom scale, she was born at a sage age of 40 years. We have joked about this as she became a real adult and in her teen years, but there is much truth to it.. Abby has always had a “knowingness” about her that baffles the mind if you are grading her on the chronological scale for “knowingness.” or wisdom. I call her my canary in the coal mine.

The day Abby was born, we sang “Happy Birthday” right after she popped out. Immediately after that, I had to have skin contact with her. They handed her to me, and I held her flesh to mine. 

Then, I took my epidural tree trunks that used to be my legs, slid off the table, and dug around in the placenta for an hour looking for the “How To” manual on what to do next. I came up slimy and empty handed. 

Abby is a special human. In fact, on that wisdom scale, she is three years older than me. 23 plus 40 being 63 to my 60. Her brain may not be fully cooked for another two years, but her soul carries much in the ways of wisdom, wit, kindness, compassion and caring.

When Abby was four years old, I had breast cancer. We were standing in the bathroom at Lowe’s and she understood that my treatment would make me lose my hair, so she said, “Mom, I want to shave my head.” Followed after two seconds with “Will it grow back in two weeks?” We compromised, hence the mohawk shown here, full of blue glitter.

In her twenty three years, Abby has accomplished much in the ways of hobbies and interests. First, and currently foremost, she is a passionate fly fisher. Ties her own flies and you can see from the pictures, she is in her element when standing in the crystal clear rivers where she finds, catches and releases many a trout, all of whom have a better life for her being in it, if only to get the hook out of their mouth and set them free. Her very first fish is pictured here, which she caught with the tiny little Tigger rod in the image. She got on Tulsa’s Channel Six Fishing Photos segment with Dick Farrough with this amazing catch. And she has the fish and rod still, as yours truly made sure they were properly preserved.

In school, Abby was a member of her academic team at Bixby High School as well as a part of the journalism class there. Apples not falling far from her maternal family tree there, with an aunt who once was a gifted anchor and colorful feature reporter on a KOTV in Tulsa, an uncle who holds six Emmys and a Peobody for his journal;istic expertise as well as a maternal grandfather who was once nominated for a Peobody for his work in broadcast. 

From her dad’s side, Abby has an impeccable work ethic, dry wit and a keen mind for all things mechanical. I bought her the same good phone as mine so that I could be fully confident when I called her for technical support. She loves Jeopardy, and is damn good at it too. She once took the online test as a teen was put in the pool to be a potential player on Teen Jeopardy and I suspect, one day, WILL be a contestant, as she has the fortitude to get there.

Hobbies include a devotion to Dungeons and Dragons online, a language I definitely don’t speak, she’s an avid reader, and when it comes to the outdoors, she is fully in her element there. Abby loves to camp, has been to Alaska twice to deep sea and fly fish, is an avid longboard and soon will likely expand her activities to include what my Gulf of Mexico backyard here in Destin, Florida has to offer. Surfing, kite surfing, more fishing, I can’t wait to see what lights her fire here. 

She is also an avid kayaker. Started that in her teens and has done some white water there, too. If I had to guess her favorite experience, I would wager that would be the fact that with bear spray on her hip and friends at her side, she has summited Mt. Elbert, a 14,439 foot not for sissies mountain two hours from Denver, Colorado not once, but twice. In her life, she has been training for climbing out of valleys, not by choice, but out of sheer survival necessity, navigating the challenges of living with tough stuff in her family of chance. 

(Here comes the photo dump. And this is paired down! But please read on as there is more to share!)

In just the last year, Abby has achieved much. She got her GED, joined the IBEW, (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) and started school as an electrician’s apprentice, gotten her first apartment on her own, bought her first car on her own and did it all, with a brain that won’t be done for another two years, stone cold sober, in the midst of a pandemic. I don’t know about you, but had I faced these times at her age, I am not sure I would have fared so well.

And while I am proud of Abby’s achievements, my greatest pride is simply in her. Who she is, not what she does. 

All I wish for her in this life is that it be one filled with love, laughter, fabulous adventures across the globe, friends who understand what a gift she is to them and a peace that passes all understanding. I will celebrate her accomplishments, sure, but for this parent, I hold no expectations that my daughter needs to do anything other than simply show up, be true to herself and be.

I love you, Abby Roush. To the moon and back. And I will close with the lyrics to the song that I sang to her many times at bedtime, one which we have yet to fulfill our pact to have tattoos of a couple of the lines. Those lines will be “bloom and grow” in my handwriting for her and “forever” in her handwriting for me. 

From “The Sound Of Music”

Written by Richard Rogers

Edelweiss, edelweiss

Every morning you greet me

Small and white

Clean and bright

You look happy to meet me

Blossom of snow

May you bloom and grow

Bloom and grow forever

Edelweiss, edelweiss

Bless my home-land forever

Small and white

Clean and bright

You look happy to meet me

Blossom of snow

May you bloom and grow

Bloom and grow forever

Edelweiss, edelweiss

Bless my home-land forever

One thought on “Dear Abby-Happy 23rd Birthday Tribute To My Beautiful Inside And Out Daughter

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