My Erika: “What she tackles, she conquers.”

The weekend is officially over and my baby girl has made the transition to a grown adult. She graduated and now starts a journey we have all started, at least those of us who are 18 and older. Once again I was given the privilege of giving a speech in honour of one of my children, so I thought I would share some of that speech with you, as well as a few other memories of my little chicken, Erika:

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for a family secret to be revealed. All the grades are in so it is too late to expel her, but my daughter Erika was born high! Though she wanted to stay in the womb for as long as possible, when she finally did decide to make an appearance she was too fast for the anesthesiologist to arrive. Since it was too late for the epidural, the doctor and nurses offered her a needle saying it would help. Joy didn’t want the needle but decided to accept the offer so they would stop talking to her during contractions. Sadly, the drug had no effect on Joy, though it had quite the effect on Erika!

She was born passed out with a goofy smile on her face. When she gained some sense of consciousness she started to flirt with the doctor, something I did not approve of as her father.

However, Erika overcame the effect of the drug, attended a 12-step group, and promptly won all of our hearts. Like all my kids, Erika has made me super proud on countless occasions. Here are some of my favourite memories:

  • One year for Christmas her gift to me was learning how to play my favourite Christmas song on the piano: “I Saw Three Ships.”
  • Erika cares for people. She has no patience for words or actions that hurt others. For as long as she has been able to understand social issues to any degree she has believed staunchly in human rights, equality, dignity, and peace. She’s familiar with many of the stories of human cruelty and atrocities in our recent world history and understands the importance of “never forget” with regards to those events.
  • I’ve always said that our home has two very responsible parents: Joy and Erika. Much to my other two children’s chagrin, this is very accurate, not to mention fortunate considering who carries the title “father” in our house. She keeps us all in line. In fact, I might just get grounded for writing this post but hopefully she’ll go easy on me.
  • As a toddler Erika loved two things: being read to and wearing dresses. She insisted on wearing dresses to bed, especially princess dresses. There was no way she was going to let me make her change into pajamas! I chose not to mess with her lest she unleash her wrath.
  • In her pre-kindergarten year she came home from school quite put out with a male classmate who told her she was “seck-sy.” We just barely held back our grins and helped little Erika deal with this one.
  • One night when she was in youth group at our church they held a parent-teen night. One of the games we played was a kind of tweaked version of “The Newlywed Game.” Questions would be asked to the parents about the teen and vice versa. The object, of course, was for Erika and I to get as many answers the same as possible. They’d asked me what Erika’s favourite story book was. I knew this one! It was one I’d bought her for Christmas called “Annika’s Secret Wish.” I was so happy that we knew each other so well, and I believed we would win with this question. Well, I was actually wrong, but I was so humbled and thrilled to hear that her answer was “Cobbkin’s Wall.” This was a story I’d written and she chose it as her favourite.

Erika, we are so proud of you. In fact, those seven words don’t communicate their meaning well enough. Honestly, our lives with you have only just begun. We love you, our little angel.

Congratulations Erika, this is your life.

Congratulations Amadeus, this is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Elizabeth Berridge as Constanze Mozart in Amadeus.

Best Actor: Marshall Mathers (aka Eminim) as B. Rabbit in 8 Mile.

Best Quote:The sky belongs to the stars.” — Marshal Crenshaw as Buddy Holly in La Bamba.


We are also very proud to share that Erika has received multiple scholarships to the school she’s attending in the fall (Crandall University). At her graduation ceremony she led us all in the singing of our national anthem. Then she performed “Lean On Me” with a handful of her friends to the delight of the crowd. Eat your heart out Mozart.

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