My Baby

Almost 40 years ago today, my youngest was born. Dale was out to sea, and I had just moved our belongings into our newly purchased home with friends helping. We still had baby things and nursery things in our garage, not set up or ready to go.

Again, my brother from another mother and his wife were at the ready to keep me going. She was with me for labor and the birth of our youngest and he put the crib and changing table together.

Our youngest was a rainbow baby, a baby born after the loss of another. She was and still is a rainbow in our lives. She taught me joy, a deep abiding joy. She taught me to laugh harder than I had ever known. Her quiet spirit is evident in all she does.

I write about her birthday almost every year. It is a time of joy for Dale and I. We are blessed by this gift from our Lord. Each year I also struggle with how to describe this woman. She is multi-faceted in her abilities and her giftings, yet each time I fail to totally portray her.

Our children are precious gifts to us. Each one teaches you different things. Each one grows into an unique adult. I stand back often and think of my daughters. The women they are and how they got to be where they are. On birthdays especially, I look at their lives and remember the impact they made on me, how they shaped me into the person I am today.

So, happiest of birthdays my dear Rachel. You are a gift and a joy. I hope you are spoiled with gifts and love as you have spoiled me with the gift of you. Thank you for being you. Love you.

Little Miss #1

(Reworked from an original post October 2019 from dearanonymousfriend)

Little girls come into your life and they nuzzle up and reach in and steal your heart.  They do this easily and quickly.

I always wanted to have five boys.  That was my dream when I was young.  I wanted enough boys to have a pick up basketball team.  I always thought I would have a household full of boys.  They would grow up and look down on me and be in my home to eat all my food and make me laugh.  Yes, if you would have asked me in my early twenties, that is what I would have told you.

Then, near my mid twenties, our first daughter was born.  Suddenly, little girls were my world.  Lots of pink and ruffles and sweet little smiles.   A few years later her sister was born.  Again, lots of ruffles, but, lavender this time.

Finally, years later, our Little Miss came to us.   This little girl, this little gift.  She came a bit early and was really small.  Her size did not deter her personality though, as it was full grown and ready to be presented to the world.

Granddaughters are so much different than daughters.  They melt your heart even sooner than my daughters did.  I saw my husband melt within the first few hours after her birth.  It was different than with Little Man.  With Little Man, he was proud.  I could see his chest popping out in pride.  This was his Grandson.   In a moment he was in the future with him, working on cars and going fishing and doing all the guy stuff he had experienced when he was young.

When Little Miss was born, this man of mine became jello.  He held her and melted.  I watched him do it.  He looked at her and his heart was now in her little fingers.  It has remained so to this day.

She is our Halloween pumpkin.  She is giggles and long stories.   She is a ballerina on her toes, leaping and in the next minute she is chasing her dogs and trying to hug them.   She is wanting to wear frilly dresses but not let her long locks be touched by a hairbrush.  She is a range of emotions like the range of the Appalachian mountains, it just goes on and on.

She is our precious little one.  The one who has her Mom take pictures of her in her church outfit so I can see how she looks.  She poses with one foot out, like a ballet position.  She is a true little girl, the sugar and spice, but also a measure of snips and snails and puppy dog tails…

It continues to amaze me how wonderful our Lord is. He gives us such abundant gifts in our families. He renews the wonder of new born lives. We get to relive the joys of childhood without the stress and strain of parenting. We see our children in these little lives. We remember the stress and tiredness of raising children. But, as grandparents it all seems like golden memories.

“We love each other because he loved us first.” I John 4:19 (NLT)

Little Man Lesson #4

(Originally posted in July 2019, on my other blog, dearanonymousfriend)

“And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” Nehemiah 8:10 (NLT)

On the occasion of our Little Man’s seventh birthday, hubby and I traveled to see him and spend time with him.  It was glorious!  I always come away with a lesson learned from him and this time was no exception.

Friday we spent a couple of hours with him in the pool.  It was a fun time with lots of laughter and splashing and rough-housing.  He showed us his jumps into the pool, his cannonball, his karate kick jump, and his vertical alligator jump.   All named appropriately, and each delivered with grace and style.  If they were to be judged by this Grammy, they would all be a 10.

We played cards, and Rock em, Sock em Robots.   It was a tie at the cards, but only because the game was interrupted by dinner and then forgotten for a bit.   I lost the battle of the robots, much to the glee of the seven year old.

The lesson I have learned this past weekend?  To live life with joy.  Embrace the fun that life holds.   Jump into the pool of life instead of gently lowering yourself into the tide and flow.  Most of all, hug, laugh and make funny noises when words fail you.

Don’t forget how wonderful fun is. Keep joy in your heart and let it flow out of you. Be excited with little events and times. All are precious gifts from our Lord.

Clementine

“Run like a deer from the hunter, fly like a bird from the trapper!” Proverbs 6:5 (MSG)

Our daughter’s family has two dogs, Winston and Clementine. Winston is a mixed hound breed, very loving, docile, and the image of a loyal companion who sticks closer than a brother. He stays beside you and goes where you go.

Clementine is a mixed breed also. We can’t figure out what she is. Half gazelle, half dying for attention and full on lap dog if she could get away with it. She is a small bundle of energy and love.

This morning I let the dogs out to do their morning thing. I knew I was in trouble the moment I saw Clementine bound down the steps into the yard. She had spotted something and she was going to get it. She was halfway down the steps to the beach before I could get down the steps to the yard.

I hollered at her, I clapped my hands, I used my deep voice. I watched as she kept going. I finally got down to the lake and she was bounding down the shore, sniffing and following scents that only dogs can smell. She would occasionally stop, turn around and glance at me, but her instincts had taken over and she was on her own mission.

I tried to be upset with her, but, I couldn’t. She was having too much fun. She didn’t wander too far, as rocks blocked her path and she couldn’t jump over them. Reluctantly, she turned around and headed back. I told her to go to the house and without slowing down she bound up the steps (there are 65 steps leading down to the lake). Winston was beside me and I told him to head to the house. He lingered beside me, making certain I followed them.

Clementine after her jaunt

Clementine often reminds me of joy. She takes advantage to leap around and enjoy her freedom. She relishes a good run. She makes the most of moments to explore her surroundings. Her mixed breed is a combination of dogs who hunt, explore and run. She does what she was made to do.

“He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights.” Psalm 18:33 (NLT) I pray that I, too, can be like Clementine. Relishing each moment, exploring the possibilities, and feeling the freshness of each day with delight.

Sensei

As a little girl I thought I would like to teach. Actually, I wanted to be a nun for many years . Obviously, that didn’t happen. Instead, I married a sailor and roamed around the world.

In 1977 we lived in Yokohama, Japan, a seaport city south of Tokyo. We lived in government quarters that were built during the occupation after WWII. Across the street from our home was the building that housed a department of the Army, actually a department of the U.S. Army Calvary, the veterinarians who served the community caring for the pets of the military personnel. They also inspected the food coming into the commissaries on the bases. I was hired on as a receptionist for the days the vets worked with the animals. I loved that job, my bosses were great fun and I loved seeing the animals, and yes, we did end up adopting a dog through my work.

Later that year, and in addition to working with the Army, I was honored to have a job as a teacher. I taught in a private school in Kita Kamakura . The school operated in the evenings. I taught on Thursday and Friday evenings and once a month on Saturdays. It was a fascinating time.

Shoes were not permitted in the classroom, so the teachers had their own area to remove their shoes and put on the slippers to move around the classes. On cold and rainy days the secretary of the school would meet me with a cup of hot tea. Always welcome after a train ride.

I had an interpreter who would translate what I said to the students. When the kids arrived in the classroom they would bow deeply and greet me as Sensei (teacher). I would then read out of a reader and the kids would repeat after me. Although the nights were long, I so enjoyed seeing the kids. I taught a couple of my classes how to write in cursive and sing American songs. I always left with a smile of my face.

I learned so much from those times in the classroom. First that Japanese children were the same as I was as a student. The girls would play the hand-clapping games and sing song to them. They would play cat’s cradle. The boys would fold paper and play football. It was a typical classroom. I still have pictures from my students that they drew one night the interpreter was not able to make it and I wasn’t able to convey what to do. If I arrived a minute late, there would be a caricature of me on the blackboard.

I often think of my students and wonder what they are doing. They all have grown, and have families. I still carry them in my heart. They helped to make me who I am today.

I tend to think that the joy I had watching them in class is similar to the joy the Lord has in watching us. I assume that God tends to shake His head at me consistently. I think He laughs often at me.

“The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” Psalm 121:8