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THUNE: My red-haired, fiery little girl

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opinion Mitchell, 57301
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

Some of you have heard me say that because I’m Scandinavian, I believe life is supposed to be hard. How much my heritage has to do with it may be an open question, but the fact remains that when I was growing up, I sort of adopted the view that gain comes from pain and hard work. My dad was never an emotional guy; he was too grounded in reality. I seem to have gotten that gene.

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So imagine the challenge I faced when my wife delivered our fi rst daughter, who from her very fi rst day on the planet was more than just a little temperamental.

The red hair should have been our first clue, but lest there was any doubt, the first few months dispelled it. To say she was colicky would be an understatement. Through ups and downs, highs and lows, and everything in between, the last 26 years have been anything but boring.

This Saturday, the thrills and anxiety of our rollercoaster ride will begin to taper off when Luke Lindberg’s roller coaster ride begins. That’s the day he will marry our daughter, Brittany. The good news for Luke is that he equaled her “lion” rating on the marital compatibility test. He just may be up to the challenge.

For Kimberley and me, life will be a little quieter, but a lot less interesting. We wouldn’t trade the privilege of raising Brittany for anything in the world. We’ve watched her overcome adversity with toughness, determination and persistence. Those traits allowed her to become one of the most decorated student-athletes in the history of her college alma mater. We’ve listened to her beautiful voice bring comfort at funerals, joy at weddings and inspiration at patriotic and political events.

We’ve also witnessed her battle with the side effects of high expectations and the pressures to perform. And we’ve admired the compassion she’s shown in pouring herself into the lives of others who’ve faced similar struggles.

I still have this image in my mind from 2004 of Brittany as a high school sophomore literally limping her way through a hip flexor to a last-place fi nish in the 800-meter race at the state track meet.

She was crying when I caught up to her on the infield grass to ask her why she tried to run through that much pain. She said, “Dad I didn’t want you to think I was a wimp.” By now, Luke has figured out that’s the least of his worries.

As he and Brittany begin their life’s journey together, Kimberley and I begin our slow fade into the background. They tell me the grandkid stage is really fun, I’m just not quite ready for it yet. Like most roller coaster rides, our ride through life with that fiery, red-haired daughter went just way too fast, and we loved every minute of it.

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