Today is our firstborn child's 50th birthday, which means Steve and I celebrate 50 years of parenthood. We could not have had a more perfect firstborn child.
I wish we could be with her for in-person hugs, but she and her husband are in London. Laura loves "all things British" and was determined to be on British soil for her big day. Maybe she will have WiFi and can read my words.
Laura Katherine Pearson arrived almost three weeks early, but other than weighing less than 6 pounds and being a little jaundiced, she was blessedly healthy. I'm so glad she arrived on November 1 rather than October 31, because a Halloween birthday would not have suited her at all.
I'm pretty sure the Laura in her name was chosen because I remembered my mother always describing a beautiful girl in her class whose name was Laura. Katherine sounded old-fashioned and very feminine, and our Laura has always been the epitome of femininity.
One of my favorite memories of her infancy was rocking and singing her to sleep every night. I sang through every hymn in the Baptist hymnal, every patriotic song I knew, and many popular children's songs, such as "You Are My Sunshine." She responded to music immediately. Before long, she would try to sing WITH me -- imagine a baby doing that. It reached the point where she wouldn't go to sleep if I rocked her and sang, so after a few songs, I would put her in her crib, and she'd SING HERSELF to sleep. I'm not kidding. And many mornings, she woke up singing.
Two things Laura seemed to pick up without really having much instruction or having to struggle to learn were reading and playing the piano. You know how teachers will read books aloud to kids in school? Well, Laura was the one often reading the books to her classmates -- in kindergarten!! I started giving Laura "formal" piano lessons when she was five, but truthfully, she figured it out on her own. And if I'm being REALLY truthful, I'd have to say that Laura is a better pianist than I am. She often entertained her classmates with various piano numbers in Mrs. Welch's music classes at Crestline. Later, she was asked to be the accompanist for the Performers at Hartselle High School, and to my knowledge, was the only person to ever be in Performers for all four years. Laura just somehow absorbed knowledge, and I remember that she didn't miss a single question in 7th grade science class until February of the school year.
Laura was in church ALWAYS, but she took her time to accept Jesus as her Savior. As a matter of fact, she was the last of our children to make a profession of faith and be baptized. That was a decision that had to be made in her own time and in her own way. The result has been a strong faith and a solid grasp of biblical truth. She's an awesome Bible teacher.
Laura had her share of junior high crushes and high school boyfriends. She had several very close girlfriends but didn't really gravitate toward the super popular crowd. At the same time, she always had dates for homecoming and prom -- and we have the photos to prove it. :)
She may have misbehaved or broken a rule or two along the way, but if so, she hid it well. She made Steve and me look like the World's Best Parents, when in reality, we were just learning as we went along.
Laura graduated from high school with a 4.25 GPA and a 34 on her ACT. Hallelujah, that led to the Presidential Scholarship at Auburn. She graduated summa cum laude from Auburn and got her master's in math from Georgia Tech.
She met David Baggett at Lakeview Baptist Church in Auburn. Theirs was not a "love at first sight" deal, but God certainly directed their relationship. They married in August of 1998 and have two children, Nathan and Megan --both teenagers now. They moved around a LOT during their first years of marriage but (for now) are settled in Rome, Georgia.
Laura and her brother Matt often exchange humorous texts. She is in awe of her sister Julie with 10 children. She's prissy like me and shares my love for bright lipstick but is careful with numbers and money like her daddy. Laura could be the President of Overthinkers Anonymous and must surely have lists of her lists, especially as she has planned her trip to England. Laura prefers texts to calls and will only do a Facetime call if her hair looks good and she has her makeup on. She's taking line dancing classes for fun and teaches full-time for Purdue Global (college level math classes online).
We don't get to spend nearly as much time with Laura as we would like, but when we ARE together, it is a true blessing. She's funny. Her opinions are based on keen observation and deep insight. She makes our hearts happy. We are so glad she's our daughter. We are so proud of the woman she has become, and we love her with all our hearts.
Happy Birthday, dear Laura! Oh, how we hope you get a glimpse of someone royal. Enjoy those fish and chips, scones, and tea, and we'll look forward to hearing all about it. Be careful driving on the wrong side of the road!!!