Twenty years ago this month, God blessed me with a miracle, and I didn’t even know it. I was a selfish 16- year-old in my senior year of high school when I gave birth to Codi Symone. Back then, researchers concluded that the reason most girls got pregnant as teens was the quest to have someone or something to call their own. I was not that girl. I was class president, captain of our cheerleading squad, a track team sprinter, and the worst possible power forward ever positioned on a basketball team. Yet, even with my busy schedule, practices and responsibilities, I still made time to bow down to peer pressure and do the thing everyonewas talking about with a boy who knew how to charm the you-know-what’s off my you-know-what.
If someone were to ask me 20 years ago whether those five minutes (yes 5) were worth the trouble and pain and sacrifice of becoming a teen mother, my answer would have been a quick and nippy ‘’HELL NO.” But, 20 years later, as I look at the first great gift God gave me I realize that without her there would be no me – at least not the DeShong I am today.
So today – I’m honoring my firstborn with a list of the things I love about her. A friend of mine does this every year for her daughters birthdays – and I’m borrowing from her tradition.You are funny and fun! Whether it’s singing in the car, planking at the swimming pool or playing with the grocery cart at Meijer, I love the fun times we have. I hope I don’t embarrass you too much. You are generous. You don’t make a whole lot of money at the pet store, but when you do, you’re always willing to shell out a few dollars for a meal. I also love it when you take your time to mentor young girls through A Girl’s Gift Inc. They look up to you and you have tried hard to set a good example. You’ve had a few bumps along the way, but you try. You are smart and nobody’s doormat. I know I always get on you about your mean streak. But a good friend of mine suggested that it’s not always a bad thing. I love the fact that you are smart and have enough respect for yourself to not allow men or women to walk all over you. Keep it up. It will help you in the career world too. You just need to learn the art of being “nice-nasty.” My good friend could write the book! You are learning how to cook! Thank God for the crockpot. Enough said.
You take such great care of your baby sister. It always amazes me how #2 reacts to seeing her big sister. She gets so excited when you come into the room. She smiles, kicks her little legs and screams: Hi TT (her nickname for you). She loves you so much because you were her caregiver when I had to go back to work. You’ve also given so much time and love to her now that you are back home in college. She appreciates it. I appreciate it. You take such great care of me. You take off my shoes at the end of the day and rub my back when I’m tired. You even pick out my clothes for me and make sure my Secondhand Pretty Preggie pictures are as tight as can be. You will wake up in the middle of the night to do the layout for my blog when I’m just took sleepy to look at a computer. You are my number one fan and cheerleader! You are a trendsetter. And you’re making money because of it! I love your vision for style and the drive you have for your business Witty Knits by Codi. Whether it’s a poncho, scarf, hat or feathered necklace or earrings, you amaze me with your imagination and passion for fashion. You know what I need even when I have no idea. My keys. My wallet. My iPad. My cell phone. You are on it! Always finding the things I need to help me get out of the house on time. You are beautiful inside and out. Don’t wait for someone else to tell you this. Continue to believe it for yourself. You are growing in your relationship with God. I see it and I am proud of you. Last week you wanted to sit alone at church, you said, to have a few quiet moments with God. I’m glad you see His power and love. It will continue to guide you through your life’s journey. I’m so glad He blessed me with your presence in my life. You were a tiny miracle 20 years ago – and I didn’t realize it then. Don’t know what I’d do without you.
Happy Birthday Codi! Mommy loves you so much. Now, make me something with your new sewing machine!DeShong Perry-Smitherman The Secondhand Pretty Preggie