Proud father supports daughter

Published 11:54 am Saturday, May 4, 2013

by James Williams

“Oh my God, Oh my God” is all I could hear from my wife, Wendy, on the cellphone as Amber, my 12 year-old daughter from Windsor Middle School, came running into the football stadium at Windsor High School on Friday, April 26. She was half-screaming and half-crying as my daughter took the final lap of the annual Windsor 5K.

Every glorious sound coming from the cellphone was choking me up, making me so proud. I strained to hear every euphoric sound and did everything I could to keep from screaming my fool head off and have my co-workers think I had lost my mind. Sadly, I could not get out of work to be there for my daughter because we were so short-handed, but I felt like I was — cheering and wiping away tears.

I know there were several hundred other kids running in this great event, who trained just as hard and each one should be applauded for their efforts, but here’s my little one’s story.

Amber was born with transposition of the great arteries, which means the valves of her heart were switched and she was not getting any oxygen to the heart. She was our first child after 11 years of marriage, and still is our one and only. Looking at her now, you would never know anything was wrong with her. She had three major heart surgeries in her first two weeks of life. They corrected the defect, but they had to put in artificial veins in the heart, but unfortunately they do not grow with her.

They check them every year and she is always fine. When she was born this was a relatively new procedure and before this came along, it almost certainly meant a death sentence, but with a lot of prayer and determination, here she is — my little girl — finishing a 5K.

In every sense she is a very normal pre-teen, but in my eyes there is nothing normal about her. I wish everyone would be reminded of, as this did me, you can’t always protect your kids. You have to let them live and boy, when they succeed, there is no feeling like it in the world.

I’m so proud of that little girl, excuse me, young woman for doing her thing and not saying “I can’t.” Even though I had to listen to the race on the phone, that was one of the greatest moments of my life.

Thank you doctors, Wendy, God and Amber for showing me never to feel like you want to give up and feel sorry for yourself but instead want to enjoy everything life has to throw at you!

I love you baby!

James Williams lives in Franklin.