Saturday, January 24, 2015

To My Beautiful Daughter

Reflections:  To My Oldest Daughter on the Eve of Her Birthday
Sunday's Child
Full of Grace

Forty-five years ago tonight, on a cold and foggy Saturday night, your very pregnant mother and your father, tired from having served all day at his second job as an Army reservist, made our way with your brother Ryan to your aunt and uncle's new home located out in the country.  We were looking forward to eating homemade chili, playing cards, and visiting for the evening.  

Along the way, on a very dark country road, surrounded by fog so thick we could barely see feet ahead of us, your father realized we had a flat tire.  Somehow, while changing the tire, his head was cut.  Did the car slip and graze his forehead?  I no longer remember.  I only know that he was cut badly enough that we had to make our way back to town to the hospital.  Of course the medical staff thought I was the one needing assistance until they saw the bloody handkerchief on your father's forehead.  Young, and full of more energy that I now have, I think we went back to your uncle's to eat chili and play cards late into the night.

The next morning, a Sunday, your father left for Army reserve duty again, and I began to type the paper that your father had due the next day.  At noon, your father came home to check to see how things were coming along.  Never expecting to hear that I was making more progress towards giving birth than towards getting his paper typed, he thought perhaps I was just tired and should just lie down for a bit.  That was not the case.  My pains were two minutes apart.

You know the story.  I had gone to the hospital at 3:00 p.m.  I only had three hard labor pains before you were born on on that Sunday evening,  January 25, 1970, at 6:00 p.m. You arrived a day before your due date.  Your birth was a great predictor of some of your greatest character traits:  You were early, efficient, and easy to handle.  

From your earliest days, you were a girly girl.  You loved dresses with lots of fluffles.  You insisted on wearing dresses most of the time.  You've always had the most amazing wardrobe, and you wear everything well.  Actually, you do everything well.  You can cook and sew with the best of them.  You are creative in crafts and handwork and in photography and in home decorating and in gardening.  You are a voracious reader and a wonderful writer.  You are organized.  You can put on a party for several hundred without even blinking an eye.  I've never known where you got all of these amazing characteristics.  I know that you must have been seriously frustrated finding yourself being raised by a terribly disorganized mother.  You are your father's daughter when it comes to being organized.

As a child, you loved to read.  You also played office or bank because your father would bring home old bookkeeping ledgers from school where he taught business subjects for you kids to draw on.  No wonder you started working at the credit union where you are still employed when you were only seventeen.

Keicha & Me
Keicha in her little white cap and fluffy coat
with Grandma French
I love that you are a reader.  Some of my great memories have centered around talking about the books we both have read with you.  I remember when you were only in junior high when you came home with a book for me to read.  It was Katherine Marshal's To Live Again.  You had found it in the library and you thought it might help me go through the break-up of my marriage to your father.  It did help.  I'll never forget that you wanted me to read the book.  You wanted to give me hope.

You have been the one with whom I have most been able to share the depths of my grief over the loss of our dear Julie.  We all grieve in different ways and at different time, yet somehow, you and I seemed to be much in sync in our grief journey.  We seemed to be at much the same places at the same time.  I wish we never would have had to walk this path together, but my precious Keicha, I am so thankful that we have been able to be there for each other.

Keicha with the Easy Does It
The rose I bought her to plant in her garden in memory of Julie
You are a wonderful granddaughter, daughter, sister, mother, and friend.  You are strong and able to do what must be done even when it would easy to not step out in courage.  You serve your community in so many ways through the Junior League, the Boys and Girls Club, the Ogden City Schools Foundation, and in so many other ways.  I am extremely proud of you.  

Keicha modeling the coat I wore when she was a young child

Dressed to party
My beautiful girl dressed in red
I wish the brightest of days for you in the future.  I hope that this coming year will bring you many wonderful experiences with your daughter.  I hope that you will find loving and supportive companions for your journey through life.  I am grateful you are again able to walk, and run, and exercise without pain.  I am very excited to see what the coming year will bring your way.

I was greatly blessed the day you were born.  Happy Birthday.  I love you deeply.  XO

*I hope that you don't mind that I borrowed a few photos from your Facebook page.  You know I need to organize my photos.  ;)