It was about 4:30 Wednesday afternoon. After two weeks of early labor contractions with no progress, and almost twelve hours in the hospital, it was time for Emily to start pushing.

My wife is a trooper. Coming up on her 36th straight hour awake in writhing pain, with the minimal amount of pain medicine she took just for the sake of getting rest…and it was go time.

She pushed. And pushed. And pushed.

That’s a girl, the midwife said to Emily time after time, watching my tiny wife passing an 8 lb 6 oz bundle of joy. You’re doing great, we’re all so proud of you, you can do it…that’s a girl.

After two and a half hours of hard labor, and some worry about the babies heart rate, Gloria Rian joined us. After a quick check by the doctor to see if she was okay after the long period stress, she was handed to Emily for bonding.

That’s a girl…the phrase rang on in my ears.

That’s a girl, I thought, thinking of Emily. I’ve never been so proud of anyone as I was my wife at that point. She had just went through the hardest time in her life and was up, looking radiant, smiling, and holding Gloria. My wife is brilliant. She’s the most creative person I’ve ever met. She’s the life of the party. She’s witty, and opinionated, and she will fight to her dying breath for what she thinks is right. I don’t know what she’s doing with a guy like me, but I wake up thankful next to her every morning.

That’s a girl, I thought, thinking of my Grandmother after whom my daughter is named. She worked hard throughout her life working and raising kids on her own after her husband was taken tragically and young. Grandma was strong and had personality for days. She was capable and intelligent and funny. She had a great deal to do with raising me. I have more memories at her house than my own throughout my childhood. She instilled in me most of the values I hold to this day. People lit up around Gloria Faye Carr. People loved her so much, and she touched tons of lives. When she left this life, she left me with a broken heart and a hole in my life which, to a certain degree, will never be filled.

That’s a girl I thought, as I thought of my mother in the waiting room, anxiously awaiting her first granddaughter. My mother is the most caring and compassionate person I’ve never met. To her no one is a stranger and the devil himself can pull off red some times. She’s always fought for me in that great mama-bear I will cut you down if you touch my cub sort of way. She has always stood in between me and everything, and everyone who has tried to hurt me. No matter what. People tell me all the time I take after her, and I’ve never been paid a higher compliment.

That’s a girl…

You can do it…

That’s a girl…

In my experience those two phrases are perfectly intertwined. The women in my life have always been strong. They can do more than any man I’ve ever met. They’re stronger. They’re smarter. They’re incredible.

That’s a girl, I thought, looking at my first born child. I hope to instill in her the things that the girls in my life have instilled in me. As her father, I plan to provide for her and protect her, but make sure she realizes that if she is strong like her mama, and caring like her grandma, and works hard like her great-grandma that she can do LITERALLY ANYTHING…because that’s a girl…

That’s MY girl.