The list of things that you’re expected to remember at 4 a.m. is relatively small and probably gets cut in half when you factor in the prospect of first-time fatherhood.
A little more than a week ago, veteran Eric Frick had completely forgotten that it was Armed Forces Day. His attention was instead focused squarely on the 25 miles between his house in Philipsburg and Mount Nittany Medical Center.
To complicate matters further, there were still three baby names on the table and only one daughter on the way.
It’s great to remember people for what they did for you.
Fortunately these things have a way of working themselves out and from the moment Eric laid eyes on his newborn baby, he knew exactly what to put on the birth certificate.
“She just looked like a Gabbie,” Eric said.
A delicate little thing with tufts of dark hair and a “Major Cutie” onesie, this Gabbie was christened after father’s little sister, who worried when her older brothers went off to war, hugged them when they came home and then died of heart failure at the tender age of 17 years old.
Granting her a namesake seemed like the right thing to do, a way to keep a few dormant memories awake even during the latest of late-night feedings.
“It’s great to remember people for what they did for you,” Eric said.
Speaking of remembering, rest assured that he does in fact realize that Monday is Memorial Day.
Eric followed his older brother Nick Frick into the Army shortly after 9/11, motivated by a sense of duty and patriotism.
“He said, ‘if you’re going to go, I’m coming with you,’ ” Nick said.
She makes me smile, that’s for sure — even when I’m tired.
Both men spent time in Iraq and went on to receive Combat Infantry Badges, awarded to Infantry soldiers who engage the enemy under hostile fire in combat zones.
Now they each have a little girl to raise. Nick has something of a head start — his daughter, Kaelynn, is already 11 years old.
Eric, on the other hand, still has many long nights ahead of him with Gabbie. He’s not complaining, though.
“She makes me smile, that’s for sure — even when I’m tired,” Eric said.