I remember when I first heard your heartbeat
It had only been eight weeks
Standing there, starin' at that screen
Was the first time you ever scared me
I hope you look just like your momma
And love her like I do
You'll see close to perfect patience
If you watch her every move
You can always run to daddy
You'll always be my baby, but
Look at her, baby girl
And you'll learn how to be a lady
- "Lady" - Brett Young


Our family and friends were right, my little daughter. We weren't ready.

The sun rises and shines through a mermaid-themed curtain, colors of purple and teal fill your new room, where you nap cradled in my arms on a rocking chair, as my dad - your grandfather - did with me when I was your age.

As the day brightens, and a fan lightly whisks air through your room, light shines on the hard work your mother did to prepare for your arrival. 

A crib - with mermaid sheets - nestled in the corner, a dresser placed under the window filled with clothes generously given to us by family and friends, and a bookshelf packed with books your grandparents can't wait to read to you. 

There's diapers and wipes organized for quick changing atop your dresser, more outfits your mother eagerly awaits to try on you line your closet, blankets hanging on the side of the crib waiting to warm you and a sense of calm blows through with the western Nebraska wind through an open window. 

That - your new home, your new room - we were ready for. 

We, your mother and I, weren't ready for our hearts to burst with love. We weren't ready for the joy you filled in our smiles. We weren't ready for the happiness that filled our eyes with tears. We're a family now. 

We spent nights - often with strawberry, banana and peach smoothies your mother would blend for us - laughing, smiling and worrying about the little miracle that was growing. She would guide my hand to where she thought you would kick or squirm next. You were restless, probably my fault. We would ask ourselves, "what are we getting into?" We were going to be parents. Those conversations often left us happy when we went to bed.  

We prayed to God, to your great grandparents, to great Aunt Rosie (that's where your middle name came from) for this life you've led to us. In an instant, when Dr. Allard and her team at Sidney Regional Medical Center presented you to us, all our worries vanished. Our first child was here, healthy and beautiful. Worry turned to daydream on what we would do first as a family.

Perhaps a Nebraska football or Colorado Rockies baseball game? Maybe a trip to the mountains? Maybe go hunting with Grandpa (he's already your biggest fan)? Grandma could spoil you on the beaches of Lake McConaughy. How about a run along the dirt roads in Cheyenne County? Maybe you hop on the mic with me on the radio? 

We could start with at least a softball glove and time with your cousins Cogan, Lincoln, Quentin, Josie and Maddox? They were so excited to meet you. Your first running shoes are already here thanks to a family friend and former coach of mine, Mark Yoakam. 

You saw the look on your mother's face when we first met you, when she first locked eyes with her daughter. I just wish you could remember it. I'll never forget it. Her smile, her tears and a sense of relief that you were here. I've never seen her so happy. You and I are lucky to have a mom like her. She was so strong from the time we learned you were coming through the time you arrived. She'll continue to be the strongest woman you and I will ever know. 

We'll be good parents. I promise you that. I, a good father; she, a good mother. We'll protect you and provide for you. We'll be your biggest supporters in whatever you want to do in this big, big world. You'll learn of the people, animals, plants and rocks which will be part of your life. 

We'll share our passions of music, the great outdoors and baseball with you. I'll try not to force it on you. However, mom will want smores around a campfire with you. I can't wait to see that.

Mom finally has her shopping partner. She told me she never wants to shop with me again. I don't blame her. I was never any good at that. She'll give you the best massages, she'll take you for manicures and pedicures and you'll build a garden together. I'll let you two have that precious time together. I promise.

Your mom and I will teach you as we were taught by our parents: to be honest and fair; to be kind, caring and humble; truthful, strong and proud. I'll teach you to hunt, fish and how to operate a radio board, if you want to. 

You don't know it yet, but you've taught me and your mother so much already. We'll continue to learn from you. 

When I was born, your great Grandma Arterburn called your grandparents (my mom and dad) and asked what they were doing. Grandpa replied they were just sitting there looking at their new baby. Great Grandma Arterburn told them, "you'll do that a lot when you get home, too."

She was right. For now, before we hunt, fish, camp and go to ballgames, we stare with amazement, count our blessings and daydream about the future with our beautiful little daughter. Confident we can do this thanks to our upbringing, those watching over us and those who surround our family today.

As my parents promised me in a newspaper article, written by my dad to me when I was born, we'll have fun. We promise you that, too. 

Welcome, my little Ms. Olivia Rose.