Jessica Elaine Uhl was born on June 4, 1989, in Abilene, Texas. We chose her name after taking my mom’s advice on naming children – she said to yell the whole name because that’s how it was going to sound for the next 18 years.

Jessica was a good baby, once she got over her colic. She slept well, ate well, behaved well. She’s what I call a sucker baby – they lull you into thinking this parent thing easy so you have another one.

It took a while for her hair to grow, so people thought she was boy. You’d think the pink ribbon in her hair would give them a clue. But once it grew in, she looked like a dandelion puff, with her blonde wispy curls.

She loved to read and play Barbie dolls. She kept her room pretty neat, even as a little kid. She was independent, stubborn, and not shy at all. I could take her anywhere and not worry about her running amok or misbehaving. Not to say she was an angel – I remember her throwing a tantrum in the grocery store because I wouldn’t buy her ice cream, and as I was leaving/dragging her out of the store she bit me on the hand.

She was friends with everyone and was always going to stay the night with one or run to the mall with another. She was a social butterfly. She was a ditzy blonde and a very smart student. She was her own biggest critic and my biggest fan. Yeah, we fought and yeah, we fought hard, but we always made up and learned a little bit more about each other in the process.

She loved her siblings and loved her family. She had a genuine laugh, a bossy nature and a quirky sense of fun.