Thirty two years ago my life was changed forever. Our daughter Elizabeth Grace Wilhelm was born. It seems like yesterday – she was like a rosebud wrapped in a blanket. 6 bs. 10 oz. & 18″ long. So tiny. So pink. So beautiful.
Elizabeth Grace was too big a name for such a tiny little girl – almost at once she became Bess and because of her big blue eyes I often called her Peeper. She stole my heart and I was immediately wrapped securely around her tiny little finger. Speaking for all daddies of daughters – it’s a place we love to be!
Bess has been trying to “get big” her whole it seems. As a toddler she wanted to be as big as older brother Tyson and for a while at about age 10 or 12 she might have been a half-inch taller (although there seems to be significant debate concerning that assertion). At age 3 she became a big sister to baby brother Blake and assumed the role with confidence. A favorite family photo is one of her holding baby Blake while she is really still a baby herself.
Always the peace-maker and diplomat of the family. She has made the boys be better brothers by her very existence. She is the heart and soul of our family. Her beauty, like her mother’s, comes from deep within – she makes everyone she encounters better for having known her. She is her mother’s daughter!
And she’s fun and funny! Laughter has always been held in high regard in our family and she has provided much of it through the years. She’s almost as funny as I am.
She was a determined student and athlete. Although she was smaller than most of her classmates she never “took a backseat” to anyone in her class. Playing basketball when you’re 5′-1″ takes guts (sorry Bess – I know that you’re really 5′-2″). She graduated at the top of her high school class and went on to win scholarships to the University of Wisconsin where she graduated with a double major.
She’s now a wife and mother of two and that is without doubt her greatest accomplishment. Her daughter and son are reflections of the love that she and Travis share. Their faith, their love, their hope for the future is wrapped up in those two wonderful little creatures. Amazing!
So there you have it. She is big now. Big life. Big dreams. Big hope. Big love.
But today she’s still my little girl. My Little Peeper. And I hope she never gets “too big” for that.
P.S. Peeper, I’m glad you’re my Peeper, Happy Birthday! – Love, Dad