Keely Ann Marie McShane Litty was born 3:06 am, this day, thirty nine years ago.
I wasn't quite 22.
I didn't know what love was, at least not past the limerence and infatuation that supports the dreams of romance. I didn't experience much romance. I moved to California in June of 1979, her mother moved with two beautiful kids and herself in August, and Keely was born shortly afterward. I was just about to begin Graduate School.
I felt I was way over my head.
Keely's mother, unbeknownst to me, was one of the strongest people that I've ever known and her two children that accompanied her to California began to share their lives with me. They are as dear as can be.
And Keely sealed the deal.
Keely bought to us the ideas of possibilities and processes needed for a family to adhese. Love was that adhesive. Love held the possibilities and cleared the way for processes and progress together as a family.
When Keely arrived, Love was redefined.
You can do a great deal for people you care for, but the birth a baby cements your resolve. As a child, I would get picked on. I rarely fought back. As an adult holding my child, I felt as strong as a mountain, immovable to discomfort, confrontation or pain of any kind. Keely spent time in the NICU, and we weren't sure she was going to make it. When she went home, but her mother and I would wake at the crinkle of a diaper.
Love wakes you at the slightest turn of a brand new baby.
I had fallen in love. I had experienced love in all measures. But that child's birth helped me find a greater love, one that hit on a most basic, visceral level of existence. I wasn't in love, I didn't just love this child. I felt that love on from the surface of my skin to beats of my heart. Blood carried the love through me, and the oxygen I breathed kept the love pumping.
Keely became the reason to live and to breath. Love of this child kept that life in motion. For her, I could do anything. She was the reason.
We had two more children that have brought the same feelings, even stronger, than this first dear child. They amaze me more every day. But the moment that Keely showed her face, grace made itself known. As did Faith, Fear, and Faith again.
I will never be the same because of this child and her mother, a woman that had the unreasonable vision that I would respond well enough to being a father.
I didn't. I couldn't. But Love of this child made it happen. And strength showed up.
She changed the worlds of so many with her presence. She holds a kindness and ease, an intelligence and power with such grace and stamina. Your husband, your children, and your brothers and sisters are better for you being here.
I certainly am.
I will see you soon.
I love you.