Nine years ago today my family was finally complete. It was sunny and in the low 80s that weekend without a cloud in the sky. In the second floor maternity ward of St Luke's North bundles of joy were being welcomed into the world. At the end of the hall in room 8 Bridget Elena Hickman arrived just after midnight (12:46 AM) to very excited parents. She weighed 7 lbs 3 oz and was 19.5 inches long. (That's 3.2 kilos and 49.5 centimeters for the rest of the world.)
Since then my phone tells me I have snapped over 7,000 pictures and videos with Bridget all across America and Europe. As the baby of the family she has had the good fortune to ride along with Mom and Dad through our many adventures later in life (read: more affluent). Bridget helps with Free Hot Soup, is an active Girl Scout, a top notch geocacher and I am proud to have her as my co-host on my YouTube channel. She is remarkably brilliant and worldly for her age and more well spoken than some of the adults I know.
Since she could talk Bridget has been enamored with music and has consistently announced her life goal is to be a world class singer. She usually adds on that she plans to buy Dad a purple jeep and mom an RV so we can travel the world and tour along with her. She has a big heart and being the baby of the family tends to punch a weight class above what her small frame would lead you to believe.
Bridget has the unfortunate challenge of being 6 years younger than her next oldest sibling and having to share the 3 of them as they split their time between two homes. As such she finds her self the only child ~50% of the time. I can relate to this due to the odd development of my own youth. I know for a fact that Bridget and her mom are thick as thieves but I can't but feel a special bond with her. Bridget and I share so many similarities (personality and facial features) that her mom has joked in the past that she was 90% me and only 10% her. As she gets older her adorable chubby cheeks are giving way to the natural beauty of her mom and less of the amorphic blob of her dad. All the same Bridget and I can talk for hours on end about silly things or surprisingly deep topics that would make your head swim. Since my youth I've had a personal goal to learn as much as I could so that I can impart that knowledge to my kids. Bridget takes full advantage of that and quizzes me on topics far and wide.
It's funny how history tends to repeat itself. In my life I've observed lots of similarities between myself and my father (good and bad) as well as with my kids. Among those are the bond my father clearly had with my half-sister who was 12 years younger than me, just about the same gap between Bridget and her oldest brother Dave. I consciously strive to treat all my kids with love, compassion and kindness but tailor the conversation to fit their personality and ages. Bridget being the youngest is naturally the most influenced by what I have to say and, as of right now, the most likely to lean on me. I foresee big things in her life and pray that I am able to live long enough to see the wonderful woman I am confident she will become.