At 19:42 hours this day 15 years ago, you made your debut in this world. Aytana corrected us last night, saying it was not your 15th until that hour today. I thought of waiting. But, I can't.
You changed our lives at 19:42. The joy and love, that filled us that instant, was the likes of which Mami and I had never known, nevermind I simultaneously cut the very cord sustaining your life from Mami. And, nevermind you cried bloody murder when you felt strangers hands pulling you out of what is the safest place on earth: a mother's womb.
You are millennial baby. You were born four days into an era, that was not only a new year, but a new decade, new century and new millennium. They warned us the world was spiraling into magnanimous chaos, uttering "Y2K" over and over and over. We didn't care. We were so anxious to meet you.
As rookie parents, you prepared us for your sister, Aytana. One of the most vivid memories of that training was when you took your first steps. We were so excited, fumbling for cameras, we didn't catch you as you toppled and fell forward on that dresser -- sorry for that one. The evidence of that first official walking fall still marks your forehead -- dead center. And though a simple drop of blood came from that wound, we were so worried and felt so guilty, a rush to the ER was not far away from our minds.
You've had a lot of firsts for us. First day of school (ever), which warranted a twelve-member family committee to drop you off and make sure you were "OK". You most certainly were, and became a very successful graduate of Pope Elementary. You paved the way for your sister to accomplish the same feats at Pope.
Shackelford Junior High? Breezed through it, earning awards and distinction from faculty and administration.
Enter Lamar High School.
You have to know Lamar High School was -- to me (when I was your age) -- a legendary school back in Socorro, TX. We thought Lamar was pretty spectacular, certainly as far as sports were concerned in West Texas. I never dreamed, "back in the day," I'd have a child, not only achieving academically, but a member of its orchestra and outstanding player for her freshman volleyball team.
You have Mami's beauty, think like me, but have proven to us every step of the way you are maturing into an exceptional woman. You opted out of the traditional Quinceañera party in favor of a trip, but the significance of this day -- for us -- is not lessened.
I usually can't remember a grocery list, or what I need to do tomorrow, but I will never forget 19:42 and 05:03 (Aytana's hour) and the first time I saw you. You and your sister are the biggest proof of the love and power of God for Mami and I.
You'll never know how much we love you until the day you hold your own children. Until then, all we can do is constantly say it to you.
Happy 15th, Nana. We love you so much.
Mami and Papi